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Bullet Points: Tom Colicchio

Author Erin Brady Photography Dale Berman/Bravo

culture

Tom Colicchio isn’t one to rest on his laurels—or to rest in general. The restaurateur and host of Bravo’s hit reality series “Top Chef” will put more on his plate this month as he hosts the network’s latest offering, the Gordon Ramsay–produced “Best New Restaurant.” Here, Colicchio dishes on the new series, OpenTable reviews and his edible essentials. (Jan. 21)

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• On “Best New Restaurant”
“The show isn’t just about food. It’s about service, hospitality, design, how well a restaurant can execute its concept. A lot of the stuff gives you a real bird’s-eye view—more so than anything else I’ve done—of what running a restaurant is about.”

• On being adaptable
“Always go into a restaurant opening with a great plan, but be prepared to make changes quickly. You need to have a good game plan going in, but you need to remain flexible, and you’ve got to move really quickly when something isn’t working.”

• On hospitality
“I’ve been to a lot of restaurants where everything service-wise is correct, but nobody is smiling, making you feel good. Frankly, when I go on OpenTable and read up on Colicchio & Sons,  I get as excited about someone saying they liked  the service as  saying they loved the pasta.”

• On popular opinion
“OpenTable reviews are in some ways more important than reviews of record, because you see patterns. For instance, if I get one complaint about salty food, I think, ‘Oh, they might be sensitive to salt,’ but if I get three complaints about salty food, then maybe I’ve got  a cook with a  heavy hand.”

• On the LINK between being a chef and being a TV host
“I treat contestants as if they work for me. I have several chefs in each of my restaurants—chefs and sous chefs—and I critique them every day. When I see a dish, I give them suggestions on how I would make it better, or how I would do it differently.”

• On constructive criticism
“It all depends on how you criticize. You don’t make it personal. You focus on what people are doing as opposed to who they are. But listen, I get criticized every day on OpenTable and Yelp. I’m open to it. I listen.”

• On what’s in his fridge
“Beer. Yogurt. Also, milk. My kids drink so much milk, it’s ridiculous. The fridge is basically theirs.”

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