Rising Star Chef James Richardson of Nook - Biography

Los Angeles, CA

May 2006

James Richardson started his career in the kitchen, washing dishes and shucking oysters in his home town in the Gulf-coast region of Florida. When he moved to Tampa for college, a strange accident involving the resident chef of a kitchen Richardson was working in led to him filling in and writing the specials for the day. Richardson was always interested in the culinary arts, but this fateful opportunity changed his focus, and he began to take cooking seriously.

In 1997, his first mentor, Chef Jean Pierola, took him from line cook up to sous chef at Boca, advancing his skills and focus. In 1998, Richardson went out on his own, opening Atomic Café. Here Richardson learned the ups and downs, ins and outs of the kitchen and earned his hard knocks. The restaurant ran its course, and he eventually ended up back with Pierola, where he contributed to modernizing the classic steakhouse, Berns. Feeling as though he had done all he could in Florida, Richardson headed out to Los Angeles in 2001 for a fresh start. A fateful position at Bergamot Café introduced him to his future business partners, and the idea for opening Nook Bistro was quickly hatched, where Richardson is now part-owner, executive chef, and recipient of the 2006 Rising Stars Award.