Tom Colicchio spent his childhood immersed in cooking with his mother and grandmother, but it was his father who suggested he make a career of it. At 17, he made his kitchen debut in his hometown of Elizabeth, N.J., at Evelyn's Seafood Restaurant. He later worked at prominent New York eateries, including Rakel and Gotham Bar and Grill. In 1994, Colicchio helped open Gramercy Tavern, where he earned a James Beard Award for Best Chef. Then in 2001, he premiered Craft, which snagged a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. After he established Craft and its casual sibling, Craftbar, in New York, Colicchio expanded his simple, elegant brand with Craftsteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and more. Back in New York, he branched out with Colicchio & Sons and Riverpark. Since 2006, Colicchio has been applying his expertise to TV as the head judge on Bravo's Top Chef. He's also delved into hotel business, opening the restaurant portion of Topping Rose House, a Hamptons hotel and restaurant, in fall 2012, with the hotel slated for a summer 2013 debut.