Born: February 19, 1971
Education: Culinary Institute of America
Position: Celebrity chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author.
Three Stars from The New York Times for “L’Impero” & “Scarpetta New York”
Four Stars from Miami Herald for “Scarpetta Miami”
“Best New Restaurant of 2003” from the James Beard Foundation for “L’Impero”
“Best New Chef” from Food & Wine Magazine in 2004
Winner of season 3 of “Chopped All-Stars”
About Scott Conant:
He began cooking at a young age, taking cooking classes at the local community college at age 11. At 15, he enrolled in W.F. Kaynor Technical High School for culinary arts, and then attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). He has since opened a number of very popular restaurants in North America, written numerous cookbooks, and appeared on or starred in many food-related television shows.
While at the CIA, Conant interned at the famous New York City restaurant San Domenico, an experience that had a decisive impact on the young chef. After graduation, he spent a year in Munich, Germany, mastering the art of pastry at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. He returned to the United States and San Domenico, working as a sous chef and helping the restaurant garner three stars from The New York Times.
In 1995, Cesare Casella selected him to be chef de cuisine at Il Toscanaccio, an Upper East Side Tuscan-style restaurant. A year later, Conant went on to revamp two institutions: Barolo in SoHo and Chianti on the Upper East Side. Conant then became executive chef at City Eatery, located on the Bowery in New York City.
Conant and his modern take on Italian cuisine got the attention of New Yorkers, earning him a loyal following and a glowing two-star review from The New York Times in 2000.
In September 2002, Conant opened L’Impero in Tudor City. Within weeks, the restaurant received a rave three-star review from The New York Times, which stated, “[Conant is] turning out dishes full of flavors that are joyous and highly refined. From the simplest preparations to the most complex he is almost always in control and in tune.”Gourmet declared that Conant “raises the roof on the Manhattan school of Italian cooking.”
A year later, Conant’s signature pastas appeared on the cover of Food & Wine, and the magazine went on to name Conant one of America’s “Best New Chefs” in 2004.L’Impero received top honors from the James Beard Foundation in 2003, including “Best New Restaurant” in the U.S. and “Outstanding Restaurant Design.” In October 2003, Conant was featured on the cover of Gourmet for its “Chefs Rock” issue, and in March 2004, Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl named L’Impero one of her favorite New York restaurants.
Following L’Impero, Conant went on to open Alto, a “sophisticated” Italian restaurant in midtown Manhattan that offered his interpretation of Northern Italian cuisine.
Conant’s initial television appearances included segments of The Today Show and, in 2007, on Home Shopping Network with a line of cookware, “Scott Conant’s Signature Creations.”
Conant left L’Impero and Alto in 2007, and in 2008 opened a new restaurant, Scarpetta, located in Chelsea, Manhattan.
In July 2008, Scarpetta received a positive three-star review from The New York Times and New York Magazine.In November 2008, Scarpetta was named one of the “Best New Restaurants in America” by Esquire magazine. Scarpetta was nominated in early 2009 for “Best New Restaurant in America” by the James Beard Foundation.
In November 2008, a second Conant restaurant was opened in the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in Miami Beach, Florida, where it received four stars from the Miami Herald.
In June 2010, Conant announced he was planning on opening two new restaurants in Las Vegas later that year at The Cosmopolitan.[display-posts tag=”scott-conant” include_excerpt=”true”]
What is your Deep Dark Secret?
“I do not like ketchup at all. But there was a time in my life where I had these little copper pans in the restaurant. I was having some issues with the way that the runners and busboys were polishing these things, so I decided not to use a chemical polish, and to try ketchup because of the high acid content.
“But I hated the idea of having ketchup inside this restaurant. And the staff would use it, obviously. So I was like, ‘I will not have ketchup and pay for it inside this restaurant. If you guys want ketchup, go buy ketchup. And when you store that little copper pot polisher, it has to be in a container labeled “copper polish.” It cannot be labeled ketchup, with a k or a c.’
“I was very adamant about that. And people thought I was crazy. But I will not pay for your ketchup habits.
“Geoffrey Zakarian, who I’m sure you know very well, he [asked], ‘What is wrong with you?’ And Geoffrey is THE most pretentious guy in the world, and for him to say, ‘Scott, come on, you’re being ridiculous,’ I realize that I need to come off of it a touch. But the idea of ketchup on someone’s eggs, or too much ketchup on your fries, or ketchup on this, that or the other thing … we’re adults. Eat your food properly. Stop masking it behind this stuff. Stop it!”
Chef Scott Conant talks about how he chose the locations for his Scarpetta restaurants, how he almost became a...
Chef Scott Conant, creator of Scarpetta, tells us about being a judge on “Chopped,” cooking at home, watching “Scobby...
Chef Scott Conant tells us a crazy kitchen story and his deep dark secret.
Chef Scott Conant tells us what sparks his creativity and his favorite comedian.
Besides being a very talented chef and owner of several successful restaurants, Scott is funny. And this is a...