James Reeson

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Victoria, Australia

34-year-old James Reeson began his career at the age of 15 in a tiny French restaurant in Bristol, England, where he served as an apprentice chef for two years.

That was in the early 80s and as James says:
"Food in England was still based around murdered lamb and overcooked veg, while just across the channel there was a never-ending procession of fantastic produce, unique dishes and inspiring chefs."
It was time to go! He left the Old Dart and moved to Paris, where he worked as a chef for nine months in a little café off the Champs-Elysées prior to hitching down the coast to St Tropez, Cannes and the Mediterranean where he cooked on private yacht charters for a couple of summers.

James says:
"The variety of food I cooked on those cruises reflected the cultures of our passengers and my growing desire to experiment with traditional dishes."

In 1993 James moved to the Channel Islands where experimenting with cuisine was a way of life. After two years of wearing woolly jumpers and in search of a "warmer lifestyle with more than three days of sunshine a year," he moved to Australia and fell in love with the limitless skyline and the people.

Almost immediately he went to work for a prominent Victorian restaurant. But it wasn't long before he got itchy feet, joined an agency and spent the next two years travelling from one corner of Victoria to the other, cooking in everything from backyard tents to five star restaurants.

James adds that:
"I needed this time to learn about Australian food so that I could begin to fuse my own cooking style with the new emerging Australian cuisines."

After two years on the road James decided to put his whites back on for a while – then called it quits again to pursue a career as a model. His refusal to cut his hair or regularly attend the gym didn't go down too well with the fashion set – so he became a motorcycle courier.

After a near death experience with an oversized four wheel drive, James thought slicing his fingers once a week was much safer and sought sanctuary in the kitchen of his newly-established café and catering business.
Today James is focusing his boundless energy and passion for food on his latest venture, hosting The Occasional Cook.

  • Australian Blues Brothers Show
  • Brad Blaze
  • Brad Croft
  • Bustagroove
  • Daryl Braithwaite
  • Jimmy Barnes
  • Katie Noonan
  • Kisstroyer
  • Lady Luck
  • NICA
  • Nyssa Large
  • Red Alert
  • Wilbur Wilde

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