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A Q&A with Tom Colicchio of ‘Top Chef’

November 10th, 2016 by Raef Harrison

The ultimate Top Chef dishes on a few things.


Tom Colicchio is a restaurant owner. In 1994 he and partner Danny Meyer opened what would become a New York icon and staple for the culinarily inclined, The Gramercy Tavern. But that’s not where his story ends. Colicchio also opened other critically acclaimed restaurants such as Craft and Colicchio & Sons, as well as a popular chain of sandwich shops, ‘witchcraft. He has won five James Beard Foundation awards for culinary excellence. And, for the past 14 seasons, Colicchio has served as mentor and judge on the popular Bravo series ‘Top Chef.’

In both the literal and metaphorical sense, the man has a lot on his plate. We were lucky enough to get a few minutes of his time to pick his brain a little to see what makes him tick.

What was your most memorable dish from last season?
That’s tough…out of the Chefs that have won challenges, I would say Amar’s Belle Epoque dish of Roasted Squab, Seared Foie Gras, Sweetbreads, Tourne vegetables & truffle sauce.

What has been your most memorable moment filming the series to date?
The streetcar challenge from Season 1 because we are still able to be anonymous at that point, which led to some incredibly real reactions from passerbys.

What’s your go-to dish for a last minute party?
Roast chicken with herbs. It’s easy, delicious and can feed a large group.

What are 5 ingredients essential to any kitchen?
Salt, pepper, olive oil, parmesan cheese and white wine vinegar. If you have that you can make almost anything.

Some people travel with their own spices. Do you have an essential travel condiment?
No, I’m a believer in using whatever is available where I am.

Dead or alive, who would you invite to compete on Top Chef?
My 26 year old self.

What’s your best advice for a chef coming into the top chef competition?
Show up with sharp knives.