Colicchio is the founder of the Craft restaurant empire, and the voice of reason on Bravo's Top Chef.
Jersey-born Colicchio taught himself to cook using Jacques Pepin's French cooking manual La Technique. He earned his first executive chef position at the Midtown spot Mondrian at the age of 26. Colicchio's work won him a spot on Food & Wine's "Best New Chefs" list in 1991, but ultimately the restaurant closed its doors after financial difficulties. Colicchio's fortunes changed in 1994 when he teamed up with Danny Meyer to open the Gramercy Tavern, which quickly became a New York institution. While nominally remaining in charge of Gramercy, Colicchio struck out on his own and in 2001 opened Craft, a reverent if gimmicky homage to seasonal cooking; foodies flooded the spot and in 2002 Colicchio unveiled the first of many sequels, Craftbar, Craftsteak, and those ‘Witchcraft sandwich huts.
The engine propelling much of this expansion, of course, is the notoriety that comes from serving as head judge on Bravo's exceedingly popular Top Chef, where Colicchio can be found sitting alongside the permanently dazed Padma Lakshmi. Over the past four seasons, Colicchio has turned himself into an unlikely cable star, perfecting the art of calmly-but firmly-explaining to contestants that their cooking tastes like dog food.
The teddy bear-ish Colicchio met his current wife, Lori Silverbush, in 1994 when she was waitressing at Gramercy Tavern. The couple married in 2001, on a sheep farm on Martha's Vineyard. Colicchio has a son, Dante, from a previous marriage. [Image via Getty]