As one of New York’s most respected chefs, Scott Conant brings a deft touch and unwavering passion to creating food with soul. After 15 years of cooking, he opened Scarpetta in New York in 2008 to rave reviews and an enthusiastic following that to this day has established Conant as one of the country’s preeminent Italian chefs.
Scarpetta went on to receive three-star reviews from The New York Times and New York magazine in July 2008, and both publications selected Scarpetta as a top 10 new restaurant of the year. In addition, Scarpetta was named one of the “Best New Restaurants in America” by Esquire magazine in November 2008, and received an “Award of Ultimate Distinction” from Wine Enthusiast and a three-star rating from Forbes every year from 2008 to 2011. The 2009 Zagat Guide included Scarpetta as a “Top Five Newcomer” and a “Top Five Italian Restaurant.” Scarpetta received a nomination for “Best New Restaurant” from the James Beard Foundation in 2009, and was also voted “Best Italian Restaurant” by Time Out New York readers.
In November 2008, Conant opened Scarpetta in Miami Beach at the newly renovated Fontainebleau resort, which went on to receive a four-star review from The Miami Herald, the highest rating possible. Both Scarpetta locations were included in the 2009 “50 Best New U.S. Restaurants” feature in Travel + Leisure magazine. The following year brought three new Scarpetta locations, the first in July at the Thompson Toronto followed by the Montage Beverly Hills in October. In December, Conant opened a fifth location and D.O.C.G. Enoteca, a new wine bar, at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Spring 2012 saw the unveiling of the SCM Culinary Suite, Conant’s private loft in SoHo where he hosts dinners, cocktail parties and cooking demos and develops new recipes.
Growing up in an Italian-American household, Conant’s early love of cooking led him to begin taking cooking classes at age 11, and culminated at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA). After graduation, he studied pastry for a year at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich, Germany. Conant returned home to work as a sous chef at San Domenico, a famed Italian restaurant where he externed as a culinary student.
In 1995, Conant was selected by Cesare Casella to be chef de cuisine at Il Toscanaccio on New York’s Upper East Side. A year later, Conant oversaw the re-launch of Barolo in Soho and Chianti in Midtown. He then accepted the position of executive chef at the new City Eatery, where his modern take on Italian cuisine earned the attention of New Yorkers and a glowing two-star review from The New York Times.
In 2001, he traveled to Italy for an extensive tour where he worked with some of the country’s most celebrated chefs to further master his craft, and reconnected with his mother’s family in Benevento. Truly inspired, Conant returned to the States with a menu that seamlessly fused the classic dishes of his childhood with his own interpretations of Italian cuisine.
Conant opened L’Impero in September 2002 in New York’s Tudor City, a largely undiscovered quiet neighborhood that quickly became a destination due to the restaurant’s popularity. He received a three-star review from The New York Times, and Gourmet magazine declared that Conant “raises the roof on the Manhattan school of Italian cooking.” A year later, Conant’s signature pastas appeared on the cover of Food & Wine, the magazine that went on to name Conant one of America’s “Best New Chefs” in 2004. L’Impero received top honors from the James Beard Foundation in 2003, including “Best New Restaurant” in the U.S. and “Outstanding Restaurant Design.” In October 2003, Conant was featured on the cover of Gourmet for its “Chefs Rock” issue, and in March 2004, Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl named L’Impero one of her favorite New York restaurants.
Following the success of L’Impero, Conant went on to open Alto, a sophisticated Italian restaurant in midtown Manhattan that offered his interpretation of Northern Italian cuisine. Always looking to raise the bar, Conant left L’Impero and Alto to open a restaurant of his own creation. Scarpetta is that vision. An Italian expression that means “little shoe” – or the shape bread takes when used to soak up a dish – Scarpetta represents the pure pleasure of savoring every part of a meal down to its last bite. It is this philosophy that follows Scott wherever he goes, including McCarren International Airport’s American Express Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas, opened in March 2013, where his signature cuisine is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A natural on television, Conant has appeared on the Today Show, Food Network, Martha, Bravo’s “Top Chef” and Good Morning America. He served as host of “24 Hour Restaurant Battle” on Food Network, and is a regular judge on “Chopped,” the highest rated show on the Food Network and one of the top shows in all cable television. In 2005, he published his first cookbook, New Italian Cooking, followed by April 2008’s Bold Italian. His third, The Scarpetta Cookbook, will be published in October 2013. Scott lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.
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