Born and raised in Las Vegas, Chef/Partner James Trees’ culinary career began as a teenager at the Mirage Hotel & Casino on the Strip prior to attending the Culinary Institute of America, then rising through the ranks under chefs including Michael Mina, Bradley Ogden, Eric Ripert, Heston Blumenthal, Akasha Richmond and Ray Garcia. He opened multiple restaurants across the US as Corporate Sous Chef for the Mina Group, and spent several seasons behind the scenes with Gordon Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen. His first independent restaurant, Esther’s Kitchen, offering seasonal Italian in the Downtown Las Vegas Arts District, has become a local and tourist favorite. Trees has followed that with concepts exploring East Coast Italian, Mediterranean, small batch ice cream, and craft sandwiches. In addition to a lengthy number of local accolades, in 2020, Chef Trees was named a Finalist for the James Beard Award: Best Chef Southwest.