At age 27, Graham Elliot became the youngest four-star chef in America. In 2008, Elliot opened his first venue, simply named “Graham Elliot”, a restaurant that would be the springboard into his restaurateur career. Graham Elliot has been mentioned in numerous newspapers and magazines including Best New Chef in 2004 from Food & Wine Magazine and listed in the MICHELIN Guide.
Since Graham Elliot opened his first “Bistronomic” concept restaurant in Chicago, he has received three James Beard Nominations. Graham Elliot continues to break the mold and exudes a passion in everything he does.
I was able to get an interview with Graham Elliot while he was between appointments to discuss the upcoming second season of Master Chef where, he, Gordon Ramsay and Joe Bastianich take everyday people with a passion for cooking, a desire for excellence, and a dream for fame into the fast paced world of being chosen to be the next Master Chef.
First I want to start off by saying thank you for speaking with me today. It’s both an honor and a pleasure; I am a big fan of the first season of Master Chef, so it’s a special treat for me as well as an opportunity to do an interview.
Awesome, I’m looking forward to talking about our show.
Well, I would like to start with a more opinion-based question, being as the concept of the cooking show has gone from simple “how-to” on television to becoming a competitive “sport” where people have developed life-long dreams around climbing the kitchen ladder to greatness. As a professional chef, how does it make you feel about people looking to really become great in the culinary arts?
I had this discussion with someone in the kitchen about it just the other day, the whole genre of restaurants and cooking is changing so quickly, the idea of going to culinary school and working your way in the kitchen so you can eventually own your own restaurant – that does not seem to be the norm or the goal really any more. Now it’s “ I want to be a famous chef” or “ I want to have my own show” or a catering company, or wanting to be able to dabble in food but maybe not have all the responsibility of everything that goes with that – being a “chef”. So that makes us question what we do with the fact that so many people see cooking in different ways – even on Master Chef, some come because of beautiful organic artful experience, some – because of political reasons, environmental reasons – using organics and natural farm’s table, local, sustainable; then there’s people who come for the full cock-eye sport - “I just want to beat people, show them that I can cook and be better than everyone else”. There are all these different personalities that come to play now.