Tom Colicchio 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. Tom taught himself to cook with the help of Jacques Pépin’s legendary illustrated manuals on French cooking, La Technique and La Méthode. At age 17, Tom made his kitchen debut in his native town of Elizabeth, New Jersey at Evelyn’s Seafood Restaurant.
Tom later cooked at prominent New York restaurants including 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 10 “Best New Chefs” in the U.S. and The New York Times awarded the restaurant three stars.
In July 1994, Tom and his business partner Danny Meyer opened Gramercy Tavern in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood. Tom’s cooking at Gramercy Tavern won consistent recognition, garnering three stars from Ruth Reichl of The New York Times and earning him The James Beard Foundation’s 2000 “Best Chef-New York” Award.
In 2001, Tom opened Craft one block south of Gramercy Tavern. Soon after, William Grimes of The New York Times awarded Craft with three stars, deeming the restaurant “a vision of food heaven.” Craft was awarded The James Beard Foundation Award for “Best New Restaurant” in 2002. That same year, Tom received The Bon Appétit American Food and Entertaining Award for “Chef of the Year.”
With Craft and its casual sibling, Craftbar, established in New York City, Tom set out to expand his simple, elegant brand of cooking. He has since opened Craftsteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (2002), Craft in Dallas (2006), Craft and Craftbar in Los Angeles (2007; 2009), Craftsteak at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods (2008), Craft and Craftbar at The Mansion on Peachtree Hotel & Residence in Atlanta (2008), and Colicchio & Sons as well as Riverpark in New York (2010).
Tom opened his first ‘wichcraft – a sandwich shop rooted in the same food and hospitality philosophies as Craft – in New York City in 2003. Today ‘wichcraft has 14 New York City locations, as well as locations at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the Westfield Center in San Francisco.
Tom has published three cookbooks to date. The first, Think Like a Chef (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2000), won The James Beard Foundation “KitchenAid” Cookbook Award in May 2001. Tom’s second cookbook, Craft of Cooking, was released by Clarkson Potter/Publishers in 2003. A sandwich book inspired by ‘wichcraft, was released by Clarkson Potter/Publishers in March 2009.
Since 2006, Tom has been applying his experience and expertise to cable television as the head judge on Bravo’s hit reality cooking series “Top Chef.” The Emmy-winning show is now in its ninth season.
In May 2010, Tom was awarded The James Beard Foundation’s coveted “Outstanding Chef” award, the culmination of his 30 years of hard work in the restaurant industry.
Aside from his own restaurants, Tom also consults at Voysey’s and Tides restaurants at the Kiawah Island Club, South Carolina and The Lodge at Doonbeg Golf Club, Ireland – both private clubs.
Tom regularly appears on local and national television shows, including The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show and ABC’s Nightline. He also continues to be celebrated in food and lifestyle publications such as Saveur, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Esquire, GQ and New York Magazine.
Tom and his restaurants give back to the community by supporting charities including Children of Bellevue, City Harvest, The Food Bank For New York City, and The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. He lives in the West Village with his wife, Lori Silverbush, and three sons.