Before moving to Saugatuck, Michigan in 2007, with his wife Melanie and two boys, Chef Jim LaPerriere’s roots and much of his training had been focused in Northern California. His interest in cooking began at the young age of 4 and by the time he was 14 (determined to become a chef some day) was creating dinners for his parents and their friends.
LaPerriere began his restaurant career the day he turned 16, working for a number of prestigious restaurants in his hometown of Sacramento. By the time he was 18, he had been promoted to Sous Chef in the top fine dining seafood restaurant in the area. Two years later, he had the good fortune to work side by side with Italian born chef Biba Caggiano, assisting with the opening of her highly acclaimed traditional Northern Italian restaurant “Biba” in 1986. After working under her as Sous Chef for six years, he departed to study at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where he graduated top of his class. During his externship, he followed his passion for Southwestern Cuisine and worked with nationally recognized Chef Mark Miller, at Red Sage Restaurant in Washington D.C. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in May of 1994, Jim relocated to the beautiful Napa Valley by way of Boston to work as Sous Chef for award winning Chef Cindi Pawlcyn at her infamous Mustards Grill. When an opportunity to run his own kitchen back home was presented, Chef LaPerriere moved back and opened Enotria Café and Wine Bar as Executive Chef in 1995, earning and maintaining his first of many 4-star reviews.
In the summer of 1996, Chef LaPerriere traveled throughout Mexico to experience the regional cuisines, and had the wonderful opportunity to spend a week studying under and cooking with the foremost authority on authentic Mexican cuisine, Diana Kennedy. Upon his return to California, in January of 1997 Jim took over as Executive Chef for the Slocum House restaurant, immediately escalating the restaurant to four-star status and earning numerous awards during his nine years there. In 2004, Chef LaPerriere left the restaurant business to spend more time with his family, and to start his own business as a Personal Executive chef, bringing the fine dining restaurant experience into the comfort of his clients homes. “Distinctive Dining” was born!
For the past 32 years, Chef LaPerriere's food has graced the covers of Sacramento Magazine and the Sacramento Bee, and he has been featured in various local publications including the Holland Sentinel and Grand Rapids Magazine. He has also been a regular guest chef for a number of regional live television cooking segments. Jim is now a Personal Executive Chef and focuses his talent and creativity on one of a kind private events, including demonstration dinners, weddings, wine dinners, corporate team building, and private group cooking classes in his custom designed teaching kitchen just minutes from downtown Saugatuck. Prior to relocating to West Michigan, he was a regular culinary instructor for the Sacramento branch of William Sonoma, in the Pavilions shopping center, as well as a participating instructor for the Raley’s & Bel-Air Fine Foods cooking program. He is a strong believer in the farm to table approach and often can be found foraging through the local Farmer’s Markets for the freshest local products available.
Chef Jim LaPerriere
Personal executive chef
"in the comfort of your own home"