210 Chef James Trees | If You Want to Be Great Surround Yourself With Greatness

Trees, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, has worked at Le Bernardin, spent a month at Fat Duck in Britain and opened five restaurants as a corporate sous-chef with Michael Mina and eventually became chef de cuisine. He has also worked with Gordon Ramsay on “Hell’s Kitchen” and as chef de cuisine at Fig. Today Trees is the Executive Chef at Superba Food and Bread in both Los Angeles and El Segundo, CA.



Show notes…

Today’s Sponsor


312 Easiest Facebook Promo Banners 300x250


Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it again”

What’s Your Purpose, or Your “WHY”?

He gets to do what he loves and is able to walk the beaches of Venice, CA. You can’t underplay the work-life balance.

Your “It” Factors

  • Timeliness
  • Hard work
  • Thoughtfulness
  • Respect

Career Challenge or Failure

  • During service, Chef Trees was rushing and used a wooden spoon in a vita-prep. The spoon exploded.
  • Lesson learned:  don’t rush, do things right.

Knowledge bombs

1. What advice do you have for funding a restaurant?

  • The most important thing you need to be successful is to create one thing on your menu that will bring people back.
  • Understand the numbers
  • Don’t take the easy money.

2. Success is so dependent on your people. What’s your advice on hiring, managing and retaining people.

  • The most important thing you can do is repeat each other and allow people to have their weaknesses.
  • Understand that you don’t know everything. Have humility

3. What are some current challenges or industry challenges you see coming

  • Right now the biggest industry challenge is dealing with the minimum wage increase.
  • Chef’s advice for dealing with the minimum wage increase is to:
    • Look at your sales mix
    • Increase your prices
    • Close your gaps

4. How do you balance work and life?

  • He takes time every day to walk the beach and visit his old friends. You need that time to decompress.
  • You need to train your people so they can be ok when you’re not there.
  • You need to train your people to… train people.

5. Recommended book?

Essential Cuisine

Culinary Artistry

Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Coach Wooden’s Leadership Game Plan for Success: 12 Lessons for Extraordinary Performance and Personal Excellence

CLICK  HERE to get a FREE audio version of this Book

6. Recommended tool or technology?

VacMaster VP215 Chamber Vacuum Sealer

PolyScience CHEF Series Sous Vide Commercial Immersion Circulator

7. With all the knowledge you have now if you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of business advice, What would it be and why?

  • Get as much experience, as possible as early as possible in as many restaurants as possible

Contact Info

Email:  JamesT@Superbafb.com

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for the Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Huge thanks to Chef James Trees for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!