James Vest is the Sous Chef at Oak Steakhouse in Alexandria, Virginia. Born and raised in Blacksburg, Virginia, James grew up in the kitchen cooking alongside his grandmothers, aunts, and stepfather. James’s passion for food was ignited at age 14, when he took his first job at a local pizza parlor. Allowing his passion for food to drive him, James relocated to South Carolina to attend the Art Institute of Charleston in their Culinary Arts and Management program, eventually finishing with additional certifications in baking and pastry. During his time in school, James’s most formidable experience arose when he entered and won a contest that awarded him the opportunity to travel to New York City to cook Thanksgiving Dinner at the James Beard House. Following graduation, James remained in Charleston and joined the Indigo Road family at The Macintosh. In 2019, he relocated to Alexandria, Virginia, to join the opening team at Oak Steakhouse. At Oak, James relishes the opportunity to further himself as a chef under the tutelage of executive chef Joseph Conrad, and enjoys being exposed to new flavors, ingredients, and techniques. James currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife. When he’s not in the kitchen, James plays rugby for a local team, the West Potomac Griffins.