James Coughlin, the executive chef at The Buckingham

Chef Trades Sin City for Senior Living

A passion for food and the endless possibilities to marry flavors, textures and ingredients was seared into James Coughlin in his childhood kitchen in Massachusetts.

“I always wanted to be a chef,” said Coughlin, now the executive chef at The Buckingham. “It started with my family, getting involved in the meals. I love the artistic end of cooking — plate presentations and displays.”

After graduating with a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University, Coughlin earned his chops at various hotels, eventually landing at The Mirage in Las Vegas. When he left for Houston’s premier retirement community 11 years later, he was The Mirage’s assistant executive chef.

Coughlin’s menus, which he recently redesigned for The Buckingham’s three dining venues, mirror his beloved Harley-Davidson motorcycles — homestyle American classics like steak or lasagna, with powerful options that rev up the taste buds, like shrimp paella or seafood empanadas.

“My goal is to introduce new food, new presentations, and hopefully get residents more involved,” he said. “I want to open their minds, try new things and create an exceptional culinary experience.”