Michael Chiarello Bio

Michael Chiarello is an award-winning chef and owner of critically acclaimed Bottega restaurant in the Napa Valley. He made his mark by combining his Southern Italian roots with the distinctive hallmarks of Napa Valley living. From his earliest childhood experiences – created around his mother’s California kitchen with his extended Italian family of butchers, cheese makers and ranchers – Michael dreamed of becoming a chef one day. Decades later, he has realized his dream – and much more.

Upon graduating from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Michael began to shape his career into what he would become: an acclaimed chef, a highly rated vintner, culinary and lifestyle trends pioneer, noted author, and an Emmy®-winning television host on Food Network and Cooking Channel. Throughout his achievements, he incorporates his passion for seasonal, sustainable living – and the artisan purveyors who make it possible – into his endeavors. His unique perspective on good food and healthy living, spiced with a dose of Old World charm, inspires friends and family to create meaningful memories around the table. His passion for a food-centric life is shared with his fans, restaurant guests, television viewers and Napa Valley visitors alike.

Michael was named Chef of the Year by Food & Wine magazine in 1985, just three years after graduating from the CIA. He received the CIA’s Chef of the Year Award in 1995 and was named CIA’s 2011 Alumni of the Year. Michael’s books have received awards and nominations from both IACP and James Beard Foundation. In the mid-90s, his specialty food innovations earned his olive oil business, Consorzio Flavored Oils, the Best Product Line Award at the International Fancy Food Show. After turning his enthusiasm for sustainability to his own vineyards in 1999, he created Chiarello Family Vineyards, and his small-production wines are consistently high-scoring. And since 2000, Michael has been the tastemaker behind the NapaStyle retail line of artisanal foods, kitchenware and home decor.

Michael has been a national television host of his own shows for more than a decade on PBS, Food Network and Cooking Channel, and he has appeared on the highest-rated food competition shows on television, as well. His Emmy Award®-winning show, Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello, began in 2003 and still airs daily. In 2009 he took second place as a finalist on Bravo’s inaugural Top Chef Masters, and he has appeared as a judge on Top Chef and Top Chef Masters. In the fall of 2011, he will join another highly rated cooking show, The Next Iron Chef, also on Food Network. A popular celebrity guest chef, Michael is a regular contributor to NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Early Show, Martha Stewart Living Radio, Regis & Kelly and the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Inside Scoop Voices” column. Michael lives among his Napa Valley vineyards with his wife and children.

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Richard Blais Bio

Most recognizable as the winner of Bravo's Top Chef All-Stars, Richard Blais has played an influential role in hospitality for the last 15 years. He began his career, as so many young aspiring chefs do, as the "poissonnier" at McDonald's. It was here that he first dabbled in deconstruction in cuisine, serving Filet-O-Fish sandwiches sans top bun. His developing passion for food and the service industry led Richard to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. As an ambitious student, he spent time between semesters studying at the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., under renowned Chef Thomas Keller and alongside then-rising stars Grant Achatz and Eric Ziebold. Upon graduating from the CIA in 1998, Richard ventured to New York for the opportunity to work with Chef Daniel Boulud at his famous flagship, Restaurant Daniel. Richard then followed his professional compass to Roses, Spain, where he completed a brief stage at El Bulli with culinary wizard Ferran Adrià. In 2000 Richard relocated to Atlanta to oversee a local seafood concept. His wildly creative approach to cooking and cuisine led to the establishment of Trail Blais, a forward-thinking culinary company that has consulted on, designed and operated some of Atlanta's most-popular eateries, including multiple outposts of Flip Burger Boutique and HD-1. He recently launched The Spence, a restaurant concept in midtown Atlanta, and opened Juniper & Ivy, in San Diego, where he offers a refined approach to American cuisine and showcases the seasonal and local ingredients of California. In Richard's debut cookbook, Try This at Home: Recipes from My Head to Your Plate, he reveals a simplified approach to adventurous cooking by sharing new flavor combinations and textures to reinvent home cooks' classic dishes. Each of the 125 recipes is straightforward enough to make at home, but for those who want to try using liquid nitrogen or a sous-vide machine, Richard offers fun variations on his recipes that add another level of excitement in the kitchen. Try This at Home was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award in 2014 in the Cookbook: General Cooking category. In December 2013 Richard appeared as the host of a brand-new television program entitled Cook Your Ass Off. The show, which aired on the HLN network, is a transformational culinary contest that focuses on the health struggles of everyday people. Talented chef contestants are pitted against each other in a three-round competition to transform daily indulgences into healthy and delicious meals. Richard has also appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Live! with Kelly and Michael, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, as well as in numerous publications, including The New York Times, InStyle and Food & Wine magazine.

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