Q&A Tom Colicchio

Head Judge on Bravo’s Top Chef, and President & Executive Chef, Crafted Hospitality

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Q&A Chazz Palminteri

As a child, was there someone in your family who spurred your interest in food and cooking?
I’m Italian. I mean, cooking and food was constantly going on in our kitchen. The table, the kitchen, is like a temple.  That’s where everybody meets.

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Q&A Drew Nieporent

How did you get into the business?

My mother was a child actress, then in radio and theater.  My father worked as an attorney for the New York State Liquor Authority licensing restaurants so he was friendly with some of the most iconic restaurateurs of the ‘60s.  I was exposed to every nationality as a kid.  I was exposed to restaurants very very early.

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Q&A Alex Guarnaschelli

You grew up as the daughter of a cookbook editor - What impact did that have on what you have become?

I won’t say that growing up with my mother made me turn into a chef. It’s more that I grew up in a house where there was always cooking going on.

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Q&A Louise Vongerichten

How did Chefs Club come to be?

Our first location was Aspen, where we opened in 2012.  We are in partnership with Food and Wine magazine, serving inventive recipes from its Best New Chefs. We celebrated our first anniversary in New York in November.

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Q&A Beth Shapiro

What was the mission you inherited and how has it evolved?

When you look at the vast size and scope of the New York City hospitality industry, it’s larger than many states.

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Q&A Andrew Rigie

What led to the creation of the Hospitality Alliance?

When you look at the vast size and scope of the New York City hospitality industry, it’s larger than many states. There are more than 24,000 eating and drinking establishments in the five boroughs.

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Q&A Christina Tosi

How did you start out in the food business?

My family’s from Ohio and food was a really big central part of our daily lives.  You meet up around food; you cook food and bring it to other people.  Food continued to be a really big part of our family life so I fell in love with food and feeding others at a very early age...

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Q&A Paul Wahlberg

How did you get into the Foodservice industry?

I was born in Dorchester, MA one of nine siblings; I spent lots of time in the family kitchen with my mother Alma. At the age of 11 or 12, I fell in love with food over a simple Eggplant Parmesan sandwich at a friends’ house. My cooking was influenced by the Sunday suppers at home with family and friends.  I always loved cooking and began working as a caterer while I was in school. From there, I worked my way up at various restaurants, cooking in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C...

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Q&A Michael Lessing

Your family has been in the restaurant business since 1890. Tell me a little about your growth and how the firm grew from beyond Manhattan and into the catering business, for example?

The company was founded by Maxwell Lessing in 1890 and is operated to this day by 15 family members representing three generations of Lessing’s. Our highly diversified company feeds more than 40,000 guests a day at over 100 corporate, educational, country club, and manufacturing plant locations throughout the Northeast. Maxwell Lessing was an innovator. He responded to the explosion of the urban worker population in the 1890’s by opening the first convenient lunch counter. By the late 1920’s, Lessing’s was serving meals to New York’s workforce in as many as 20 locations in the financial district and the New York Stock Exchange.

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