Elegant Catering

Today he continues to strive for excellence and pushes the envelope developing new flavor profiles and creations that he can share with others. James is involved with the food-to-table scene and networks with purveyors of Hawaiian-made and grown products to enhance his talents. 

James’s commitment to local products was recently recognized by the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association when he was awarded two prestigious awards at their annual banquet and Battle of the Chef’s. 

Chef Aptkain’s talents can be seen at the award-winning restaurant, MAC 24/7 Bar and Restaurant, which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner twenty-four hours a day, with full bar service from 6am through 4am. In-room dining is available twenty-four hours a day. By being actively involved with the food-to-table scene and networking with purveyors of Hawaiian-made and grown products, Chef Aptakin makes MAC 24/7 the hot spot for fusion cuisine in Waikiki. 

MAC 24/7 was recognized this year by Honolulu Magazine with the Hale Aina Award Top Write-In for Best Gourmet Comfort Food. The Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel has been recognized as one of the “Best Lodging and Dining Deals on Oahu” by Condé Nast Traveler. The hotel is a Meetings & Conventions magazine “Gold Key Award” winner, and has been recognized “Best Overall Accommodations - Diamond Awards,” by Hilton Hotel Corporation.

CHEF JAMES WAS ON THE FOOD NETWORK CHALLENGE SHOW TELEVISED ON AUGUST 24, 2008, 5PM (PST). THE SHOW WAS CALLED BIG BASH CATERERS) CHEF JAMES APTAKIN  AND CO-CHEF, VIC VEGAS WON THE CHALLENGE!

CHEF JAMES
BORN IN MIAMI FLORIDA WAS HOW HE WAS FIRST INFLUENCED BY SOUTH AMERICAN AND SPANISH FLAVORS.  CHEF JAMES APTAKIN IS CLASSICALLY TRAINED IN FRENCH CUISINE, SOON HE MASTERED CALIFORNIA, HAWAIIAN AND PAN ASIAN CUISINE.  FURTHERING HIS CULINARY EXPERTISE HE BEGAN FUSING ALL OF HIS FAVORITE FLAVOR PROFILES.  HE APPROACHES FOOD AS ART WITH HIS INTRINSIC FLAIR FOR INNOVATION AND CONSISTENT DRIVE FOR ACHIEVING THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF PASSION FOR FOOD.

CHEF JAMES BEGAN HIS CULINARY CAREER AT THE AGE OF 8 BAKING SHORTBREAD JAM COOKIES WITH HIS MOTHER.   UNBEKNOWNST TO HER, SHE BECAME ONE OF HIS MOST INFLUENTIAL CULINARY INSTRUCTORS.  BY THE 5TH GRADE JAMES WAS ABLE TO PREPARE FULL MEALS FOR HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS.  IT WASN’T UNTIL AFTER TAKING HOME ECONOMICS AT JR HIGH SCHOOL THAT JAMES KNEW HE WANTED TO BECOME A CHEF.

JAMES WORKED VARIOUS RESTAURANTS THROUGHOUT MIAMI AND LATER BECAME A PROUD MEMBER OF THE US NAVY.  IN 1992 HE WAS ON BOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN CVN-72 AIRCRAFT CARRIER COOKING MEALS FOR  6000 CREW MEMBERS DAILY.  UPON COMPLETING HIS 4 YEAR TOUR OF DUTY IN ALAMEDA CALIFORNIA, CHEF JAMES MADE CALIFORNIA HIS NEW HOME.  IT WAS HERE THAT HE ATTENDED THE TWO TOP SCHOOLS-CALIFORNIA CULINARY ACADEMY AND CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA.  DURING HIS CAREER AS A CHEF HE ALSO OBTAINED A BUSINESS DEGREE IN SALES, MARKETING AND ADVERTISING. CHEF JAMES IS NOW MASTERING HAWAIIAN FUSION WHERE HE HAS MADE HAWAII HIS NEW HOME SINCE 2012. 

WITH OVER 25 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, CHEF JAMES IS HIGHLY SOUGHT AFTER FOR HIS WINE DINNERS AND PASSION FOR FUNDRAISERS.  A PHILANTHROPIST A HEART, JAMES STRONGLY BELIEVES IN GIVING BACK TO HIS COMMUNITY AND OTHERS LESS FORTUNATE.  AS CHEF CONSULTANT HE HELPED SEVERAL CHARITIES MAKING A DIFFERENCE , JAMES USES HIS GIFT TO RAISE MONEY FOR VICTIMS OF TRAGEDY AND BAD SITUATIONS. NETWORKING WITH CITY OFFICIALS, MAYORS AND POLICE CHIEFS JAMES CONTINUES TO CREATE COMMUNITY RELATIONS TO HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE BY BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER THOUGH FOOD. 


COMPETITIVE IN NATURE, CHEF JAMES HAS MADE A CELEBRITY NAME FOR HIMSELF IN THE BAY AREA.  ACCOLADES INCLUDE FIRST PLACE IN THE FOOD NETWORK CHALLENGE-CATERERS CHALLENGE, IRON CHEF TOMATO COMPETITION AND OAKLAND JAMBALAYA COOK FEST TO NAME A FEW.  WITH A DASH OF SPICE, CHEF JAMES HAS SUCCESSFULLY PUT EVERY PLACE HE HAS WORKED FOR ON THE MAP WITH RECOGNITION FOR HIS FOOD.  WITH A CONVENTION CENTER-LARGE VOLUME CATERING BACKGROUND- IT WAS COMMON PRACTICE FOR HIM TO HAVE MULTIPLE PARTIES ON DIFFERENT FLOOR LEVELS OCCURRING AT THE SAME TIME.  RAN A WELL KNOWN FULL SERVICE 600 ROOM HOTEL SUCCESSFULLY WHILE INCREASING REVENUE, STREAM LINING LABOR AND FOOD COSTS, AT THE SAME TIME IMPROVING ALL ASPECTS OF THE OPERATIONS.  MAINTAINING THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF STANDARD AND QUALITY, HE CHAMPIONED THE COMPLETE OVERHAUL AND MODERNIZATION OF MANY HOTELS ARCHAIC AND INACCURATE SYSTEMS.  IN ADDITION TO BANQUETS, ROOM SERVICE, MULTIPLE RESTAURANTS AND EMPLOYEES, SUNDAY BRUNCHES AND OUTSIDE CATERING, CHEF JAMES IS MOST KNOWN FOR HIS HIGH END FINE DINING WINE DINNERS.

CHEF JAMES IS HIGHLY PASSIONATE, INNOVATIVE AND MOTIVATING WHOSE CHARISMA BRINGS A CAPTIVATING PRESENCE TO HIS DINERS.  WELL ROUNDED KNOWS THE BAKING AND PASTRY SWEET AND SAVORY SIDE OF COOKING.  CHEF JAMES CUISINE IS FUN, HOT, VIBRANT, EXCITING AND ON THE CUTTING EDGE.  HE HAS RUN HIS OWN CATERING COMPANY EXECUTING HUGE EVENTS IN SAN FRANCISCO (PALACE OF FINE ARTS AND FORT MASON CENTER) NAPA WINERIES (ARTESA AND CHARLES KRUG) AND ALL OVER CALIFORNIA.  HE HAS COOKED FOR PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON, SEC OF STATE CONDOLEEZZA RICE, OWNER OF JELLY BELLY, THE MONDAVIS JUST TO NAME A FEW.

CHEF JAMES TOOK HIS CAREER EVEN FURTHER AFTER HE DECIDED TO STEP DOWN FORM A HIGH POWER POSITION TO PURSUE ONE OF HIS LIFE LONG DREAMS-TO STUDY UNDER SOME OF THE GREATEST MICHELIN CHEFS.  HE GOT THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO WORK IN THE KITCHENS OF JOEL ROBOUCHON, DANIEL BOLOUD, RICK MOONED, ALEX STRATTA, THE FARM CARNEROS INN AND THOMAS KELLER STAGING AND LEARNING THE SECRETS OF THEIR SUCCESS, VARIOUS CUISINES AND HOW THEY RAN THEIR KITCHENS AND OPERATIONS. 

RECOGNIZED AS AN EXPERT IN HIS FIELD HE WAS A GUEST SPEAKER AT THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA, ST. HELEN CA REPRESENTING THE CALIFORNIA ALMOND BOARD, SONOMA STATE UNIVERSITY AND VARIOUS CULINARY COMMITTEES AND ESTABLISHMENTS.  CHEF JAMES HAS DONE VARIOUS CONSULTING WORK, NOT LIMITED TO MENU DEVELOPMENT BUT ALSO IMPLEMENTING WORKING SYSTEMS TO BECOME A MORE EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT BUSINESS.  HE HAS BEEN A CHEF INSTRUCTOR, PERFORMED COOKING DEMOS FOR VARIOUS NEWS AFFILIATES IN SF AN SACRAMENTO AND HIS VERY PROUD OF HIS NEW SLOW COOKING SAUCE LINE OUT OF NAPA CA.

TODAY, HE CONTINUES TO STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE AND PUSHES THE ENVELOPE DEVELOPING NEW FLAVOR PROFILES AND CREATIONS THAT HE CAN SHARE WITH OTHERS.  HE IS STILL ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN FUNDRAISING AND IS PROUD TO DONATE HIS WINE DINNERS FOR AUCTION TO HELP BENEFIT CHILD HAVEN, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY AND OTHER LOCAL AND NATIONAL GROUPS.