Celebrity Chef Speaker Graham Elliot has climbed to the top of the culinary world, from a bus boy and dishwasher to one of the most renowned chefs in the food industry with three James Beard award nominations and a host of other accolades. At just his second job after graduating from culinary school at The Jackson House Inn & Restaurant in Vermont, Graham’s skills in the kitchen landed him on Food & Wine Magazine’s top ten list of Best New Chefs in 2004. It is no coincidence that upon moving to Avenues, located at The Peninsula hotel in Chicago, the restaurant earned the highly coveted four star rating from three different publications and the AAA Five Diamond Award. In 2008, he opened his first restaurant, named for himself, which is also the first bistronomic restaurant in the Windy City; his second one, Grahamwich, came soon after in 2010. However, the bold chef was soon to go from local star to national personality.
Not very many people have faced off against the infamous Bobby Flay and lived to tell the tale, but Graham is a risk taker in the kitchen who always strives to cook up something new. In 2007, Graham’s skills were put to the test when he went head to head against Bobby on Iron Chef America. Graham narrowly lost, coming within two points of the victory. However, Graham’s impressive performance on the show landed him on The Today Show, further increasing his popularity. His next television appearance was on Top Chef Masters in 2009, where he competed for the American Heart Foundation.
A proponent of stepping out one’s comfort zone as a chef and seeing the kitchen as a laboratory, Graham has never been one to be stopped by criticism, and now he freely dishes it out. He is a judge on Top Chef Masters alongside Gordon Ramsey and Joe Bastianich. You can also catch him judging in his signature white rimmed glasses on the Fox series MasterChef Junior, which was just renewed for a third season. Additionally, Graham garnered even more attention recently because of an impressive 150 pound weight loss.
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