Executive Chef of TJs Restaurant in the five-star, five-diamond Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia, James Schroeder has the unique ability to combine upscale dining with the comfort of the family dinner table. He uses his love of the outdoors combined with his French and Italian culinary experiences to create a truly distinct dining experience.
Schroeder's talent stems from a family tradition of chefs which include his Italian great grandparent’s restaurant in pre-depression downtown Chicago. He recounts many evenings as a child alongside his mother learning the basics of cooking for his large family of eight. He notes that these special experiences lead him to follow his passion of cooking and believes that great food with a warm atmosphere is the perfect combination.
Chef Schroeder spent much of his teenager years working at local restaurants in the Richmond area. He then completed his culinary degree at the New England Culinary Institute. Schroeder pursued a six month externship in Parma, Italy at a small family restaurant. He remarks that being the first American to train at this facility was difficult but he came away with a strong understanding of this style of cooking.
After completing his schooling, he returned home to work with Chef Walter Bundy, Executive Chef of Lemaire. He continued to pursue his wishes to expand and explore his art form by then moving to Washington DC to become the Sous chef at the well-known restaurant, Equinox. Schroeder spent 2 years under the tutelage of Chef Todd Gray where he had the honor to cook at the James Beard House as well as many DC events. Chef Todd's focus on finding the best local and seasonal ingredients became part of Schroeder's mantra of cooking. Armed with his new knowledge, Chef Schroeder returned to Lemaire kitchen as Chef's Bundy Sous chef for two years.
As the new chef of TJs in September 2008, Chef Schroeder plans to finally combine all of his influences into a new exciting dining experience. He welcomes you to taste the culmination of his background and experience through the intricate delicates of Italian, Mediterranean and of course, Southern cuisine while enjoying the comfortable atmosphere at one of Richmond's most historic treasures The Jefferson Hotel.