Ashley James: Cake in the Canyon

ashley james, chef, four seasons, runyon canyon

Ashley James
Executive Chef and Television Host

“When I was a child, I would run to my parents’ home in the outskirts of Wolverhampton, and the first thing I would do was hit the biscuit tin, indulging in my mum’s favorite biscuits. I would scrape the cake bowl to eat the raw cake batter and started studying her cookbooks to learn how to prepare my favorite foods, such as Victoria sponge sandwich and Scottish butter shortbread to name a few. When I was ten, I experimented with baked alaska and soufflés, and a year later was cooking dinner parties for my mum and her friends. Inspiration surrounded me as my family deeply valued cooking and fresh local ingredients. My father grew up in East Africa as a child so we had more exotic spices than most in our kitchen. He was such a fan of good food, he attended Cordon Bleu classes and learned how to cook many French classics. My late grandmother Beatrice was a huge influence in my early years and taught me some delicious jam and chutney recipes using produce from her garden.

 

I love living in the Hollywood Hills, their natural beauty and nostalgia inspire me on a daily basis. Whether it be looking at their raw beauty or running through the canyons to stay fit. My job is never ending and never boring! There are always so many exciting events: film press junkets, glamorous Awards Season dinners, including the annual BAFTA Tea Party surrounding the Golden Globes, and many celebrity weddings. Creating menus for Hollywood’s living room entails numerous television shoots and I am fortunate to host a PBS national show, Cuisine Culture, which was awarded a Taste Award. But the most exciting part of the job is that you never know who you will run into.”

 

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