Tom Colicchio

Renowned for his renditions of French-Italian cuisine at New York's Gramercy Tavern, Colicchio has enjoyed judging upcoming chefs on Bravo's reality show Top Chef. His myriad restaurants nationwide include Craft in Dallas and 'Wichcraft in San Francisco.

Describe the moment you knew you wanted to be a chef.

When I was 15 years old, my father suggested I become a chef. It was one of the few times that
I listened to him.

What snack would you leave on a plate for Santa Claus, to really tempt him?

Grilled fontina black truffles and white truffle fondue on Pullman white bread.

What one dish is always on your holiday table?

On Christmas Eve, I make a seven-fish dinner, including a salt-cod and beet salad. It's a tradition that's been passed down from my grandparents.

What are your best cooking tips for the holidays?

Keep it simple, and spend time with your guests.

What is your advice to future chefs?

If you're looking for fame or fortune, try something else.

What ingredients can you not live without?

Olive oil, salt, and butter.

Describe the last meal you ate.

Last night, I ordered pad Thai and a steamed tofu green curry and ate it in my hotel room.

What do you prepare at home for yourself and for your family?

One of my new favorite meals to cook at home is a spaghetti dish with fennel sausages and ­cauliflower.