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The Secret Sauce Behind Top Chef

  • SVA Theatre 333 West 23rd Street New York, NY 10011 United States (map)
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For sixteen seasons, Bravo’s reality competition series Top Chef has been showcasing the best chefs across the country in culinary competitions that have entertained foodies everywhere. Hear from judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons on what continues to make the show a success. RSVP


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TOM COLICCHIO, CHEF/HOST, TOP CHEF

One of the culinary world's most celebrated figures, Tom Colicchio returns once again as lead judge for Bravo's 16th season of the Emmy and James Beard Award-winning culinary series Top Chef, and also serves as mentor to the competing chefs on the series, guiding them through their various challenges. He also hosts BravoTV.com's Emmy-Winning Digital Companion Video Series Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen.

Tom is also the chef and owner of Crafted Hospitality, which currently includes New York's Craft, Riverpark, Temple Court and newest edition Small Batch; Los Angeles' Craft Los Angeles; and Las Vegas' Heritage Steak and Craftsteak. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Tom made his New York cooking debut at prominent New York restaurants including The Quilted Giraffe, Gotham Bar & Grill and Gramercy Tavern before opening Craft in 2001. Outside of his fine dining restaurants, Colicchio opened 'Wichcraft – a sandwich and salad fast casual concept rooted in the same food and hospitality philosophies as Craft – in New York City in 2003.

He has published Think Like a Chef (2000), which won The James Beard Foundation "KitchenAid" Cookbook Award in May 2001; Craft of Cooking (2003); and a sandwich book inspired by 'wichcraft (2009). 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.

Tom and his restaurants give back to the community by serving on the boards of Children of Bellevue, City Harvest, Wholesome Wave and Food Policy Action. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Lori Silverbush, and three sons. When he's not in the kitchen, Tom can be found tending to his garden on the North Fork of Long Island, enjoying a day of fishing or playing guitar.


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GAIL SIMMONS, AUTHOR/HOST, TOP CHEF

Gail Simmons is a trained culinary expert, food writer, and dynamic television personality. Since the show’s inception in 2006, she has lent her extensive expertise as permanent judge on BRAVO’s Emmy-winning series Top Chef. Now in its 16th successful season, Top Chef is rated the #1 food show on cable television. Gail also hosts Iron Chef Canada, the #1 show on Food Network Canada. She was head critic on Top Chef Masters, host of Top Chef Just Desserts, Bravo’s pastry-focused spinoff of the Top Chef franchise, and co-host of The Feed, which aired in 2014 on FYI.

Her first cookbook, Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating, was released by Grand Central Publishing in October 2017. Nominated for an IACP award for Best General Cookbook, it features recipes inspired by Gail’s world travels—all made with accessible ingredients and with smart, simple techniques for successful family meals and easy entertaining. Gail’s first book, a memoir titled Talking With My Mouth Full, was published by Hyperion in February 2012.

Gail joined Food & Wine magazine in 2004, where she directs special projects, writing a monthly column and working closely with the country’s top culinary talent on events and chef-related initiatives. During her tenure, she has been responsible for overseeing the annual Classic in Aspen, America’s premier culinary event. Prior to working at Food & Wine, Gail was the special events manager for Chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant empire.


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MODERATOR: J. MAX ROBINS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR COMMUNICATION

J. Max Robins is a veteran editor and media business executive with extensive management and marketing expertise across platforms. Before joining the Center for Communication, Max was the Vice President/Executive Director of the Paley Center. Prior to this, Max was the editor-in-chief of Broadcasting & Cable, where he oversaw a relaunch of B&C across platforms.


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