Justin James knew he wanted to be a chef since he was 10 years old. Raised outside the hills of Detroit, Michigan USA, his first job ever was a busboy at the age of 16. Within two weeks, Justin was transferred into the kitchen. The noise, atmosphere and culture in the kitchen caught him and he has never looked back.
Early on in his career, Justin was trained by two Maîtres Cuisiniers de France before travelling throughout the States to explore different styles of food and culture at some of America’s best restaurants. He ended up at Eleven Madison Park where he stayed for 3 years.
Justin decided to travel to the other end of the world and ended up calling Australia home. He made his debut at Vue de monde in 2014, and quickly rose from Commis to Sous Chef and then Head Chef.
In his continual search for different cuisine, Justin moved to Denmark in 2017 to start a new chapter and worked at internationally acclaimed restaurant, Noma. After a short stint in Denmark, Justin realised that Australia was where he wanted to be.
Upon Justin’s return to Melbourne, he was appointed Executive Chef of Vue de monde and Vue Group. At Vue de monde, Justin focuses on pushing the boundaries of Australian cuisine and he places great importance on the guest experience.
What’s key for Justin is to tell the narrative of the cuisine but not overtly in order to keep some mystery. It’s a fine line but when done right, it is a beautiful experience. Seasonality, locality, native Australian produce, phenomenal products and culture drive Justin. Australia provides him with great inspiration and allows him to create and share the essence of Vue de monde.