As executive chef of Los Gatos Brewing Co. in San Jose and Los Gatos and The Table in Willow Glen, James “Jim” Stump has a long history of filling the bellies of Silicon Valley residents and visitors with tasty meals.

We recently caught up with him to find out what he likes most about San Jose and it’s surrounding communities.

Name: James “Jim” Stump

Occupation: Chef, Restaurateur

How long have you lived/worked in San Jose?

20 years.

At what point did you decide to stay in San Jose and pursue your career?

I was 25. I started a family and realized that this was the best place in the country.

What do you like most about San Jose?

Our diversity, our weather and, of coarse, our economy.

If there is one thing you could change about your city what would it be?

I don’t think I would change, but I would have loved to see downtown developed instead of Santana Row. Every city needs a vibrant downtown. Santana Row is manufactured with no heart.

What are some of your favorite places in San Jose?

I look at it as Santa Clara Valley. I like the mountain bike trails above Los Gatos. I love the ramen in Santa Clara, Little Saigon and shows at HP pavilion.

What’s the best meal you’ve had out in recent memory?

Ramen at Halu on Saratoga.

What’s San Jose’s best kept secret?

I don’t think its a secret but we are in the heart of the Bay Area. Within a short drive I can be in world class destinations, from our local Santa Cruz Mountains to Monterey to Napa Valley and San Francisco. The possibilities are endless

Who is the most interesting person you know?

Being in the restaurant business, I meet way too many awesome people to name just one. I have had the pleasure of meeting our past mayors, many of Silicon Valley leaders, developers who have changed the landscape of our city and family’s who have been in our valley for generations. Our valley is filled with great people who inspire me.