Born outside of London in England, to restaurant and hotel owner parents, James Lukanik developed at an early age an appreciation for great food and wine. His father was a chef and gave Lukanik a passion for food while his mother taught him all about the front of the house and first-class service.
Lukanik began his professional career right out of school at the age of sixteen. His first job was at Barnsdale Country Club in the U.K. as a chef de rang before moving on to waiter services at the fifth floor restaurant of the famous Harvey Nichols department store in London. Over the next year, Lukanik save his money and travelled all over the world sampling some of the world's finest restaurants and hotels in Europe, Asia and Australia. While in Australia, Lukanik began his first restaurant management position as Mezzaluna in Sydney.
In 1998, James traveled to Los Angeles to dine at the famed L'Orangerie restaurant and that night, he knew he would someday work there. One month later, Lukanik packed up in England and headed to Los Angeles, where he worked at the L'Orangerie as the maître d' where he worked for nine years organizing birthday parties, weddings, private dinners, hosting the President, royalty and Hollywood celebrities. When L'Orangerie closed its doors in 2007, Lukanik moved to the Hotel Bel Air as restaurant manager. It was there that he was scouted for the position of hotel manager at the newly remodeled Malibu Beach Inn.
One night, while dining together, Sophie Gayot, one of America's largest food critics, introduced James to the show HELL'S KITCHEN. When Lukanik learned HELL'S KITCHEN was looking for a maître d', he was so excited for he has always admired Chef Ramsay's food and passion in the kitchen. Three seasons later, Lukanik still enjoys watching Chef Ramsay cook.
When he's not working, Lukanik loves to cook and enjoys spending time with friends, checking out new restaurants and hotels, walking with his dogs and riding and competing with his horses.
Lukanik believes that the dining experience begins when the valet greets you and continues all the way to the moment valet returns the keys to your car - the front of house and back of house must work closely together, hand-in-hand as to get the ultimate dining experience.