Future Culinary Stars Head into Food World with Advice from "Top Chef" Judge Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio-th

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Jeff Levine
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Hyde Park, NY – Tom Colicchio is a highly regarded chef, restaurateur, and philanthropist who was named the best chef in the United States in 2010. But he may be best known as the lead judge on the popular reality show, Top Chef, where he mentors and guides contestants throughout the course of the program. At The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY, graduates received some of that same valuable advice from Chef Colicchio at their January 18 commencement ceremony.

"You came here to the CIA because you want to excel and be the best at what you do," Colicchio told recipients of associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. "You need to make decisions about what kind of chef you want to be and what ethical standards you want to hold yourself to."

Colicchio urged graduates to give back to their communities, and reminded them that in New York, whether after September 11 or Superstorm Sandy, chefs and restaurateurs were making a difference and helping the community. He and his restaurants also support numerous New York area and national charitable organizations.

Colicchio, 50, is chef/owner of the Craft Restaurant Group, which includes Craft, Craftsteak, Craftbar, Colicchio & Sons, Riverpark, Topping Rose House Inn and Restaurant, and 16 locations of 'wichcraft. His restaurants can be found in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York City, and Long Island, and at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut.

The winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef in 2010, Colicchio has also been honored by the organization with awards for Outstanding Service, Best New Restaurant, Best Chef—New York, and his first cookbook Think Like a Chef (Clarkson Potter, 2000). He is also an inductee in the Foundation's Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America. Colicchio was named Chef of the Year by Bon Appétit in 2002 and among the Ten Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine in 1991. And, he has an Emmy Award for his work on Top Chef.

Photo Caption:

Tom Colicchio enjoying his visit with graduates of The Culinary Institute of America during a celebratory reception at the college's Hyde Park, NY campus. Chef Colicchio delivered the keynote address at commencement ceremonies at the CIA on January 18, 2013. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)

Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and culinary science, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts, Latin cuisines, and wine and beverage studies. As the world's premier culinary college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines & cultures through research and conferences. The CIA has a network of 45,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.

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