[image-1] Attention, Charleston. Top Chef‘s Tom Colicchio is in the city. Last night the head judge of the Bravo series made his arrival known with the following tweet:
[embed-1] With filming officially underway, the Top Chef excitement is just about to begin, but for some it’s not about celeb spotting rather the arrival of an old boss and mentor. Turns out many Charleston chefs have a Colicchio connection thanks to the co-founder of Gramercy Tavern and founder of Craft restaurants long reach. Colicchio also owns Colicchio & Sons in New York City,  Craftbar, Craftsteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Craft in Los Angeles, Colicchio & Sons and Riverpark in New York, Heritage Steak at The Mirage in Las Vegas, and 14 ‘wichcraft sandwich shops. So it’s no wonder a handful of local chefs have spent time in his kitchens.

Here’s who has a Colicchio connection:

Damon Wise: Executive chef and owner of forthcoming Scarecrow, Feathertop, & Wise-Buck on Ann Street.
Colicchio Connection: Wise worked at Gramercy Tavern before becoming chef de cuisine and executive chef at Craft. According to his bio, he also “oversaw the openings of Craftbar in New York and Craft restaurants in Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta. In 2010, Wise oversaw the transition of Craftsteak in New York to Colicchio & Sons, helping to earn the restaurant three stars in The New York Times.”

Alex Lira: Former chef at The Lot, now working with Mike Ray at Normandy Farms Bakery
Colicchio Connection: he honed his skills at Craft.

Ray England: chef de cuisine at Scarecrow, Feathertop, and Wise-Buck.
Colicchio Connection: England worked at Craft in Los Angeles for eight years.

Taylor Garrigan: Home Team BBQ Pitmaster
Colicchio Connection: While he was working at The Beach Club at Kiawah Island as a cook he had the opportunity to work with Colicchio. The chef is the consulting chef for Kiawah Island Club’s Voysey’s.

Doug Blair: Executive Chef at Kiawah Island Club’s Voysey’s.
Colicchio Connection: Colicchio consults with the chef at the restaurant. 

Charles Arena: Executive Chef at The Boathouse
Colicchio Connection: According to his StarChefs.com biography, Arena worked as sous chef at Tides at the Beach, a Colicchio project.

Air Casebier: Owner of catering business, Feast.
Colicchio Connection: Casebier did a stint at Colicchio’s restaurants in New York City in 2015.

Laura Ryan: handles marketing/communications and operations at Butcher & Bee.
Colicchio Connection: Ryan was Colicchio’s assistant from 2011-2013 and headed up special Projects and communications for him and Crafted Hospitality from 2013-2015.

Vandy Vanderwarker: chef de cuisine at The Ordinary.
Colicchio Connection: Vanderwarker worked at Colicchio’s Craftbar in NYC.

Erin Guilfoyle: chef de cuisine at Cru Cafe.
Colicchio Connection: Guilfoyle worked at Colicchio’s Colicchio & Sons during a tour staging throughout New York. 

Blake Joyal: Executive chef at The Westendorff
Colicchio Connection: Former sous chef at Craft.

Ty Kotz: owner of Interactive Home Cooking.
Colicchio Connection: Kotz was the executive chef at Colicchio’s Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, N.Y.

Ann Ladson: Metalsmith who creates eating utensils.
Colicchio Connection: She worked at Craft in 2004 in the pastry department. 

Know of other Colicchio connections? Email me at kinsey@charlestoncitypaper.com.