Meet Our Chef
Chef JR Robinson
Chef James Robinson was raised in Harlem, New York, and at the tender age of eleven years old his passion for food began. As his grandmother raised him and his six siblings, James became inspired by her culinary skills. While spending time with her in the kitchen, James found joy in creating food for his family, and realized his ability to expressing himself and his creativity through cooking.
James began his culinary journey at Park West High School, where he was introduced to Culinary Arts. Upon graduating high school, he received a full scholarship to attend Monroe College in Bronx, NY and pursued a degree in Culinary Arts.
James became a natural mentor to his peers and cherishes the culinary training and learning experiences that uncovered his talents. While pursuing a professional culinary degree, James obtained an internship as a line cook at Kittichai in Manhattan, NY, where he was introduced to international cuisine. James went on to receive his degree in Culinary Arts and graduate Summa Cum Laude from Monroe College.
Robinson’s professional career began when he moved to Washington, D.C and found success in the upscale dining industry. Beginning as a Cook II at The Grill at the Ritz Carlton in Arlington, Virginia, James was soon promoted to Cook III and secured another position as Lead Cook at the famed Blue Duck Tavern in Washington, DC’s East End neighborhood. At Blue Duck Tavern, Robinson was influenced by a new style of contemporary American cuisine, which allowed him to further hone his culinary skills and develop his own culinary style. James went on to hold multiple Sous Chef and Executive Chef positions at the St. Gregory Hotel, Washington Marriott International, The United States Department of Energy and Indulj restaurant in the historic U Street Corridor.
Throughout his career, James found that his passion was greater than creating beautiful dishes. James became committed to making a five star dining an accessible and personal experience while utilizing his craft to teach underprivileged youth about healthy eating and open their eyes to a career in culinary arts. Kitchen Cray, with stands for Creative Revolutionary Artistic Youth, was created to achieve James’ commitment to the community and creating accessible culinary experiences. In addition to private dining experiences, events and celebrity private chef services, Kitchen Cray leads classes and speaks to students through partnerships with area schools, non-profits, shelters and youth centers.
When not working or speaking to youth, James enjoys the company of his seven-year old son, Zahir and his three-year old daughter, Asia.