May 17, 2016

BizBash Event Innovators of 2016: Phil Colicchio and Trip Schneck

Event Innovators 2016: Phil Colicchio and Trip Schneck

The managing partners of Colicchio Consulting are bringing award-winning chefs to a variety of events.

Phil Colicchio and Trip Schneck Photo: Courtesy of Phil Colicchio and Trip Schneck
Phil Colicchio and Trip Schneck

Photo: Courtesy of Phil Colicchio and Trip Schneck

Phil Colicchio, 56, and Trip Schneck, 42, are culinary matchmakers. The duo, managing partners of Colicchio Consulting, have made a business of connecting James Beard Award-winning and Michelin-starred chefs with a variety of opportunities: opening a hotel restaurant, cooking at high-profile events, or mentoring the next generation of chefs.

The New York-based firm’s origins trace to Colicchio’s early work with his more famous cousin, Tom Colicchio of Craft Restaurants and Top Chef. Phil, an attorney, advised on legal issues early in Tom’s career, which led to work with other chefs. Colicchio Consulting was born to assist hotel operators and real estate developers who were looking for celebrity chef partners. Among its many deals, the firm has matched Alan Yau’s Hakkasan with theFontainebleau resort in Miami Beach, and Tim Cushman’s New York debut of O Ya at thePark South Hotel. Other celebrated chefs who have worked with the firm include José Andrés, April Bloomfield, David Myers, and Jacques Torres.

Their work naturally segued into events. The firm has consulted on food trucks at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and helped planners of a major party during the Grammys find a chef partner. It paired a professional golfer with a chef to help entertain business partners during the Masters golf tournament. It’s also helped coordinate the American Express Pairings event series, bringing together musicians, chefs, and winemakers at exclusive experiences for black-card holders. The firm also helps coordinate the celebrity chef program for the New York Giants football team, bringing in at least two chefs for each home game at MetLife Stadium to provide fare for V.I.P.s.

“Groups that are putting on significant events are asking us to assist them with identifying and contracting with top-flight food and beverage talent,” Colicchio says. “They’re realizing the power right now of these chefs and restaurateurs and their brands.”

The firm also is making deeper inroads in the hospitality industry. Its just-launched Hotel Culinary Collaborative for hotel executive chefs in a kind of continuing education program. “Not every hotel can afford bringing on a celebrity chef. The economics don’t work, so we’ve created this stage program whereby a hotel executive chef would stage in a kitchen with one of the world’s greatest chefs,” Schneck says. “They take the new techniques and trends back to their own kitchens.”

All of the initiatives feed back into the core belief of the company: “Food is one way to differentiate a product,” Schneck says. “It’s one of the real ways that brands are looking to create a unique experience for their guests.”