Chef James Zoller is the Chef de Cuisine at TRACE. Coming on board in 2010, Zoller has been with the TRACE team since the restaurant opened and has moved up through the ranks to oversee the culinary team in TRACE and W Austin’s Living Room.
By way of Arizona, Zoller moved to Austin five years ago to be a part of the city’s burgeoning food scene. After graduating from Culinary School in 2007, he quickly jumped into the hospitality industry at Primo, which is owned by James Beard award winning Melissa Kelly and located at the JW Marriott in Tucson, AZ. There, he learned the discipline of working in a fast-paced kitchen environment, as well as a variety of new culinary techniques.
Upon moving to Texas, Zoller cut his teeth in the Austin scene at Uchiko under James Beard award winner Tyson Cole, before taking a line cook position as with W Austin’s TRACE. Throughout his time at TRACE, he has not only sharpened his skills but also has grown into a seasoned chef and leader, shining in the collaborative, educational and team-oriented environment he’s helped build in the kitchen. As Chef de Cuisine, Zoller creatively develops seasonal specials featuring locally-sourced ingredients and signature menu items that he is personally passionate about, incorporating texture and full flavor profiles. With a passion for creating simple, rustic food, Zoller utilizes his experience spanning the country to tap into a range of culinary influences from Southwestern and Mediterranean to traditional Southern.