Tom Colicchio, ‘Top Chef’: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Goat stew anyone? No eat he's my new friend

A post shared by Tom Colicchio (@tomcolicchio) on Mar 11, 2012 at 2:38pm PDT

Tom Colicchio is a celebrity chef, a restaurant mogul, and the head judge on Bravo’s reality series Top Chef. Read on for all the facts on Colicchio below …

1. He’s An Award-Winning Chef

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Passover lamb. #italianseder #passover #lamb

A post shared by Tom Colicchio (@tomcolicchio) on Apr 14, 2014 at 1:16pm PDT

Colicchio co-founded the Gramercy Tavern in New York City, and started out there as a co-owner and executive chef. Colicchio is also the founder of Craft and Colicchio & Sons restaurants, in addition to several others. Colicchio has been the recipient of five James Beard Foundation Medals for his amazing cooking.

2. His Wedding Was Affected by the 9/11 Attacks

Colicchio married filmmaker wife Lori Silverbush in 2001 and the couple has three children together. Their wedding was right after the 9/11 attacks and they were weary of carrying on with the event. An estimated 120 of the couple’s family members and friends attended the ceremony on a bucolic sheep farm in Chilmark on the afternoon of September 15. Canceled flights as a result of the terrorist attack kept 30 guests away. The NY Times wrote:

The ceremony itself, however, was singular. Four of the couple’s friends and relatives carried the wedding canopy aloft across a meadow. The bride beamed and sniffled when Dante read aloud from “The Velveteen Rabbit.” The tragedy was acknowledged. “Here in America, and there in Jerusalem, spread over us your canopy of peace,” Rabbi Bonnie Cohen prayed. “Amen,” answered the assembled. The couple met seven years ago, when Ms. Silverbush joined Mr. Colicchio’s other family — the staff at Gramercy Tavern. She had received a master’s degree in cinema studies from New York University and was working as a waitress to support her filmmaking habit (one that is lately panning out: she won a prize at the Deauville Film Festival for her short “Mental Hygiene”).

3. Colicchio Was Accused of Sexism on ‘Top Chef’

Colicchio has been accused by some viewers and reporters of sexism. Wikipedia reports:

In season 11 where in the final episode he appeared to bully other judges into awarding the top prize to Nicholas Elmi, a chef that had been consistently in the bottom and had problem seasoning his food over superior chef, Nina Compton. The backlash was so severe that Colicchio posted the judge’s scores to Twitter in an attempt to justify his actions. Colicchio has vehemently denied the allegations of sexism.

4. He’s Hosting New Show ‘Best New Restaurant’

In January 2015, a new cooking competition show called Best New Restaurant will debut on Bravo and Colicchio will host it. Variety writes:

The series, hosted by Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio and produced by restaurateur and TV personality Gordon Ramsay’s production company One Potato Two Potato, is modeled after the U.K. program Ramsay’s Best Restaurant. It premieres in January and follows 16 restaurant staffs through a series of challenges that will judge their space’s decor, hospitality, overall concept and, of course, food. Similar to Top Chef, which partners with Food & Wine magazine, the crowning restaurant will receive an editorial feature in Bon Appetit and a featured spot at 2015’s Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit food festival.

5. Tom Colicchio Was Inspired by John Cusack to Propose to His Wife

According to the New York Times:

While watching High Fidelity, in which John Cusack seeks the woman who got away, Mr. Colicchio realized that Ms. Silverbush was ‘everything I wanted and needed.’ He proposed as they waited in line for post-movie pastrami sandwiches at the Second Avenue Deli. ‘We were hugging,’ Ms. Silverbush recalled, ‘and the guy was saying, ‘Your sandwiches!’

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