Chef/Owner Gramercy Tavern & Craft Restaurants
One of the culinary world's most celebrated figures, Tom Colicchio returns as lead judge for Bravo's "Top Chef 3 Miami," and also serves as mentor to the competing chefs on the series, guiding them through their various challenges.
Colicchio, born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, spent his childhood immersed in food, cooking with his mother and grandmother. It was his father, however, who suggested that he make a career of it. Colicchio taught himself to cook with the help of Jacques Pépin's legendary illustrated manuals on French cooking, La Technique and La Méthode. At the age of seventeen, he made his kitchen debut in his native town of Elizabeth at Evelyn's Seafood Restaurant.
Colicchio then cooked at prominent New York restaurants such as The Quilted Giraffe, Gotham Bar & Grill, Rakel, and Mondrian. During his tenure as executive chef of Mondrian, Food & Wine Magazine selected him as one of the top ten "Best New Chefs" in the United States and the New York Times awarded the restaurant three stars.
In July of 1994, Colicchio, along with partner Danny Meyer, opened Gramercy Tavern in Manhattan's Gramercy Park neighborhood. In 1996, Ruth Reichl of the New York Times awarded Gramercy Tavern three stars noting that Colicchio was "cooking with extraordinary confidence, creating dishes characterized by bold flavors and unusual harmonies." His cooking at Gramercy earned consistent recognition: After a three nominations for James Beard's Best Chef NY Award, he won it in 2000.
One year later, and one block south of Gramercy Tavern, in March 2001, Colicchio opened Craft. Soon thereafter, in July 2001, William Grimes of the New York Times awarded Craft with three stars naming Craft "a vision of food heaven." Colicchio continues to be celebrated in publications such as Saveur, House Beautiful, Gourmet, Food & Wine Magazine, Esquire, GQ and New York Magazine.
His first cookbook, Think Like a Chef, published by Clarkson-Potter, won a James Beard KitchenAid Cookbook Award in May 2001. This same year, Gramercy Tavern was awarded for Outstanding Service. In 2002, Craft was awarded the James Beard Best New Restaurant Award and Gramercy Tavern's sommelier won for Outstanding Wine Service. In October 2002, Colicchio received Bon Appétit and the Food Network's Award for Chef of the Year in their American Food and Entertaining Awards.
After opening Craft and Craftbar in New York City, Colicchio opened Craftsteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in July 2002. In spring 2003, 'wichcraft opened – a sandwich shop rooted in the same food and hospitality philosophies as Craft. 'wichcraft now has six New York City locations, one in Las Vegas and most recently, a location in San Francisco.
Colicchio's second cookbook, "Craft of Cooking," (Clarkson Potter/Publishers), released in October 2003, will soon be followed by a sandwich book inspired by 'wichcraft.
In 2006, Craftsteak New York and Craft Dallas opened and work has begun on Craft Los Angeles – slated to open in Spring 2007.
Colichhio consults at the restaurants at The Core Club (NYC), Liberty National Golf Club (Jersey City) and Voysey's and Tides (Kiawah Island, SC) and Doonbeg (Ireland) all private clubs.
Colicchio and his restaurants give back to the community by supporting charities including Share Our Strength, Children of Bellevue, City Meals-on-Wheels, The College Fund, Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Doctors of the World.