Exclusive: Tom Colicchio Revealed as Top Chef for New Jersey Wine & Food Festival

The Elizabeth native is a one-man dining movement.

Tom Colicchio
Tom Colicchio will be this year's Top Chef at the New Jersey Wine & Food Festival at Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg. Photo: Courtesy of Tom Colicchio

The Garden State will savor one of the country’s biggest and most prestigious food and wine festivals next month, when the New Jersey Wine & Food Festival (NJWFF) returns to Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg from May 3-5.

Ahead of the event each year, NJWFF traditionally anoints a first-rate guest chef who personifies the ultimate in food and hospitality. And this year’s honoree—shared first with New Jersey Monthly readers—is none other than Tom Colicchio.

This master chef and visionary restaurateur has unique status in the culinary pantheon. His inventive restaurants have awed gourmets and earned a slew of James Beard Awards. He’s endeared himself to millions of viewers for his principled mentoring on Bravo’s Top Chef, and his keen palate on Best New Restaurant. In recent years, he has championed many indie restaurants affected by the pandemic. In other words: He’s a one-man dining movement.

And while anyone can appreciate Colicchio’s contributions, New Jerseyans can claim a special connection with him. He’s one of us: an Elizabeth native who grew up with dreams of conquering the world. Thanks to that Jersey fearlessness and savvy, he’s cemented firmly in culinary history.

“I’m born and raised in New Jersey and am always thrilled to be cooking back in my home state,” Colicchio said in a statement. “I look forward to being at Crystal Springs Resort for the wine festival this spring.”

You can meet Colicchio at the festival’s Champagne Reception and Cellar Dinner on Friday, May 3, where he and his team will cook dinner in Crystal Springs’s celebrated wine cellar. All courses will be paired with Napa’s near-mythic Eisele Vineyard wines, which sell for hundreds of dollars per bottle.

Bon appétit!

Tickets for the 2024 New Jersey Wine & Food Festival can be purchased here, or by calling 855-977-6473.

No one knows New Jersey like we do. Sign up for one of our free newsletters here. Want a print magazine mailed to you? Purchase an issue from our online store.

Read more Eat & Drink articles.