Eliminated the Final Week
Marco Canora's appreciation for good food flourished as a child growing up in upstate New York. In the summer months his mother's harvest of herbs and vegetables served as the inspiration for dishes she enjoyed during her childhood in Lucca, Italy. After graduating from Pace University, Marco landed at Dean & Deluca, where he discovered the vital role high-quality produce plays in creating dishes. On a motorcycle trip around the country, Marco took time off the road to hone his culinary skills at Winston's, a seafood restaurant in Boulder, Colo., and then at San Francisco's Backstage restaurant. Feeling the pull of home, Marco returned to New York City with a clear goal in mind: to work at one of the city's best restaurants.
As luck would have it, Gramercy Tavern was looking for line cooks and offered Marco a job. Chef/owner Tom Colicchio fostered the young chef's career, encouraging Marco to travel to Italy. He took his mentor's advice to heart and moved to Florence, where he worked at Fabbio Picchi's world-renowned restaurant, Cibrèo. Upon his return he opened La Cucina, a 50-seat seasonal restaurant in Edgartown, Mass. It turned out to be an unprecedented success for Marco, earning him rave reviews and a bevy of high-profile guests including former President Bill Clinton, for whom Marco prepared a 50th birthday dinner.
When Marco returned to Gramercy Tavern, Colicchio appointed him sous chef, and in 2001 he selected him to open Craft. The restaurant went on to receive three stars from The New York Times and the James Beard Foundation Award for "Best New Restaurant." While at Craft, Marco created the menu for Craftbar, Craft's more casual sibling, and The Next Iron Chef finalist oversaw the opening of Craftsteak in Las Vegas.
Marco decided to strike out on his own, and in 2003 he partnered with Paul Grieco to open Hearth in Manhattan's then-burgeoning East Village. The restaurant earned a loyal following and critical acclaim, including a positive two-star review from The New York Times and a nomination for The James Beard Foundation Award for "Best New Restaurant."
In 2008 Marco and Paul opened Terroir, a casual wine bar just steps away from Hearth. The bar has earned a legion of fans for Marco's inspired menu and Paul's quirky wine list. This year, they opened Terroir Tribeca, the second location of their East Village wine bar, which features a larger kitchen that allows Marco to expand on the original menu and showcase the full range of his talent.
Marco's first cookbook, Salt to Taste, was released by Rodale in October 2009 and nominated in 2010 for the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Award in the General Cooking category.