August 12, 2015

Jessica James

Post by bevel

Executive Chef, Applebee’s

For nearly ten years, Jessica has created menu items for Kansas City-based Applebee’s, the world’s largest casual dining restaurant chain, serving more than one million people each day.

Innovation is at the core of Jessica’s career. With nearly twenty five products on today’s Applebee’s menu, Jessica has had a hand in developing appetizers, burgers, better-for-you options, desserts, the Kid’s menu and more.

As a classically-trained chef, Jessica sharpened her culinary skills in independently owned fine-dining restaurants. She has a Bachelors degree in Leadership from Rockhurst University and a Masters degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas.

Her favorite part of the job is traveling and eating, especially desserts, and her must-have meal at Applebee’s is a Standard All-in Burger with Salted Caramel Pretzel Bites and a Perfect Margarita.

She grew up in a food desert in a small Kansas town with her single-parent, working mother. While Jessica’s meals as a kid lacked inspiration, freshness and culinary technique, she was always fond of food. She worked as a cook in the evenings after school and upon graduating high school, moved to Kansas City to attend culinary school.

Success in her role requires Jessica to find inspiration for new ideas from a variety of sources, and often comes from the most unexpected of places. Additionally, Jessica has learned successful innovation comes with failure, a lot of failure.