2017 Top Hat Spotlight – James Hice

2017 Back-of-House Food & Beverage Employee of the Year

James Hice

Executive Chef – Albuquerque Convention Center

What was your first job in the hospitality industry?
I started as a dishwasher at the Ramada Mount View Inn in 1997 and was then promoted to cook 6 months later. A year after I was promoted to kitchen manager.

Who has helped/mentored you through your career?
Executive Chef Jess Parker, my mentor . Barbara Wood, my first General Manager, Executive Chef Kris Spriesterbach, Jose Garcia and Lewis Dawley

What has been the highlight of your career?
I have a hard time narrowing down just one so here are the highlights I am most proud of. Three-day catering for First Lady Laura Bush, Mayor’s Gala, Hispano Chamber of Commerce Gala, Presbyterian Hospital, Governor’s Inaugural Ball, Gala and lastly representing NM cuisine, ingredients and culture.

What is one thing you would tell young people entering the hospitality business?
Find a mentor, be passionate, have an open mind, take constructive criticism , last by not least hard work does not go unnoticed and eventually pays off.

What are your favorite places to visit in New Mexico?
Red River in January