Tom Colicchio: How To Be a (Real Life) Top Chef

Reality TV's favorite cook tells you how to run a restaurant
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2010 7:07 AM CDT
Tom Colicchio: How To Be a (Real Life) Top Chef
In this image released by the Bravo channel, Tom Colicchio, cook and judge on the Bravo TV's cooking competition show, "Top Chef," is shown in New York on Sept. 18, 2008.   (AP Photo/Bravo, Michael Lavine)

Tom Colicchio’s probably most famous as the head judge on Bravo’s Top Chef, but the man can run a restaurant, too. He even won the 2010 James Beard for Outstanding Chef. This week, he offered Newsweek some tips for aspiring restaurateurs:

  • Dinner parties aren’t the same thing: “People with no restaurant experience have dinner parties at home and think maybe it’s a cool thing to do for a living. That’s not quite how it works.” When things go wrong at home, no one screams and demands a refund.

  • Don’t handle the business end yourself: “Get the right people—like lawyers—to look over business contracts.”
  • Know local labor laws: “A lot of people are getting sued these days.”
  • Specialize: “You can’t be everything to everybody. You have to figure out your price point and how to deliver quality and value at that price point.”
  • Don’t overdo the decor: “Design-wise—and I learned this the hard way—you can probably spend a lot less than you think.”
(More Tom Colicchio stories.)

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