On the first day of summer vacation in 1984, James Meadow's Dad came into his room and informed him that he had a job interview at Cowison's Butcher Shop in Toronto at 11am. The was offered a job stripping chickens and washing dishes. After watching the cook make meat pies all summer, James declared that he could do it better, and was promptly told to prove it. He did. That weekend the cooks were off and James was in charge of making all the meat pies for the store. Over the next three years he went on to make scotch eggs, chicken Kiev, and cheese bread. He began to chart the path that would allow him to develop his cooking talents into a career.
After receiving his culinary training at George Brown, James opened a café at Yonge and Lawrence, which he owned and operated until an opportunity came up in El Paso Texas. He worked as a demo chef there before returning to Toronto.
Working at the Royal York, Senses, Kit Kat and Urban Restaurant and Event Catering, James sharpened his culinary skills. He then came to London to work as head chef at the Grosvenor Club. He also began to teach classes at Loblaws locations around London. When the position of Cooking School Co-ordinator came up in St. Thomas, James applied and was offered the job.
James and wife Mary were was so impressed with St. Thomas's friendliness and sense of community that they sold their home in London and chose to raise their daughter in St. Thomas.
After forging relationships within the community for two years, and with his expanding reputation for outstanding cuisine, James was encouraged by others to open his own restaurant in St. Thomas. He had long dreamed of operating a catering business. With tremendous support from friends, family and the community, Catering by James Meadows opened on April 11, 2011 in the heart of St. Thomas.
James describes his cooking style as "simple fresh" and quips "I am inspired by the President of Catering by James Meadows, as I continually endeavour to impress her. The president also happens to be my wife!" While Mary works behind the scenes, James is the face of the business.
James particularly enjoys making soups, noting that "it requires knowledge of a great many aspects, such as making stocks, cooking meats, vegetables and starch properly. When soup is done well, it is heavenly. Soup allows a chef to really play with flavours and flavour combinations."
The partners are committed to excellence, driven by passion and the desire to make catering affordable to everyone. James notes that they customize the menu to each individual's preferences. They don't have lists to choose from, don't have minimum orders and cater to all budgets. "When you hire James Meadows to cook your food, James Meadows will be cooking your food."
James and Mary are happy to have made their home and work in St. Thomas and, in turn are deeply commited to the community, supporting local charities and community events.
James provides this quick and easy recipe for a traditional Salsa – perfect for enjoyment on the summer patio.
Pico de Gallo (A more traditional Salsa)
Yield 2 cups
5 plum tomatoes, small dice
1/2 small red onion, minced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced (remove seeds and white rib for a milder version)
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp cilantro, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in a bowl, adjust seasoning to taste.
To contact James and Mary at Catering by James Meadows, call 226-448-8466 or visit