Chris Cosentino

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Chris Cosentino
Born Rhode Island
Culinary career
Cooking style Italian cuisine

Chris Cosentino is an American celebrity chef and reality television personality known as the winner of Top Chef Masters, a competitor on The Next Iron Chef and for his appearances on Iron Chef America. He is known for his haute cuisine offal dishes,[1] and was chef-partner[2] at Incanto in San Francisco. Incanto closed March 24, 2014, and has reopened as Cockscomb .[3][4]

As of September 2009, he was writing a book on offal cookery, and he maintained an offal-themed website, Offal Good. Forbes Traveler called Incanto "perhaps America’s most adventurous nose-to-tail restaurant … On offer are lamb’s necks, pig trotters and a five-course nose-to-tail tasting menu perhaps including venison kidneys and chocolate-blood panna cotta."

Early life[edit]

Chris Cosentino was raised in Rhode Island and is a 1994 graduate of Johnson & Wales University.[5] Raised in an Italian American community, he has stated that he hated offal as a child, especially the tripe his Italian grandmother prepared.[6] Since becoming a chef himself, however, he has embraced a "whole-animal" ethic. He explains, "What I try to do is make people understand a whole-animal ethic. When people realize that this is a whole animal, that there is more than just the skeletal meats, sometimes that makes people step back and they might not order any meat. They might have a vegetable entrée. Putting a face on what you’re eating sometimes opens your eyes a lot."[7]


Cosentino worked at Mark Miller’s Red Sage and later at Kinkead’s, in Washington, D.C. He then moved to San Francisco’s Rubicon, which was owned by Francis Ford Coppola, Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. He went on to work at several prestigious restaurants, such as the Coach House on Martha's Vineyard and Bay Area restaurants Chez Panisse and Belon. He was then hired as a consultant to the Aqua restaurant group. While working with them, he opened several restaurants, including the highly acclaimed Nobhill at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

After 2002, Cosentino worked at Incanto (which closed March 24, 2014) in the San Francisco neighborhood Noe Valley, serving as the executive chef.[8] Local reviewers noticed a definite upturn in the food quality at Incanto after Cosentino took over.[9] Working with co-owner Mark Pastore, Cosentino created a rustic Italian menu that included all cuts of meat from the whole animal or whole fish, including what would usually be discarded or used as an ingredient in animal feed. Chitterlings, a bit more familiar to diners, is a good example of the type of offal products he favors.[10] In 2007, Incanto held their fourth annual "Head-to-Tail Dinner."[11]

In 2007, Cosentino started selling sausage under the name Boccalone: Tasty Salted Pig Parts.[12] His Boccalone shop is in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, California. This new line was a natural outgrowth from family traditions, because his mother’s family founded Newport’s Easton’s Sausage Company, which developed a very devoted clientele. Under Cosentino’s direction, Incanto launched a charcuterie selection, with all products cured in-house and ranging from mortadella to fennel salume, and even including a sweetbread terrine. Also offered was a salt-cured pork liver with especially intense flavor. This product line is based on the community-supported agriculture (CSA) concept in which providing locally grown produce is the focus. Cosentino credits the late chef Jean-Louis Palladin with teaching him never to cook for reviews but only for the diners and himself. Palladin was an avid hunter and taught Chris to be realistic and respectful about the fate of an animal going from the farmyard or the forest to the dinner plate.

In October 2007 Cosentino was a contestant on The Next Iron Chef, competing with his erstwhile mentor at Rubicon, Traci Des Jardins, still a close friend.[13] By the third episode, his cooking style was distinctive enough that when Michael Symon gave him squab as a secret ingredient, his first action was to check the cavities for offal. It was implied that Symon had removed the innards; when Cosentino discovered this, Symon quipped, "No guts, no glory."[14] In episode 7, 'Lead and Inspire', he was the last chef eliminated before the final battle. In November 2007, he was featured at the end of a Modern Marvels pig episode, during which he showed his expertise in cooking pork brain.[15]

In August 2009, he and fellow The Next Iron Chef contestant Aarón Sánchez began hosting Chefs vs. City on the Food Network. Each week they traveled to a different city, taking on two local chefs in a variety of food-related challenges. Repeated consumption of chili peppers resulted in Cosentino's suffering third-degree alkaline burns in his digestive system and losing intestinal motility. This injury took five years to heal.[16]

Cosentino is regularly featured on episodes of the Food Network series The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

He considers single-varietal extra-virgin olive oils with their distinctive flavors as his culinary secret weapon.[17] Cosentino's involvement with local farmers' markets has enabled him to develop close relationships with local food producers. These relationships are very important to him and allow him to be involved in the production of meat and other ingredients he uses in his many specialties. He has been especially dedicated to the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market.[18]

In his spare time Cosentino cycles on rugged Northern California mountain-biking trails on a one-speed bicycle, participates in endurance rides, and spends time with his wife "Meat Maven" and young son.[19]

In 2011 it was announced that Cosentino is teaming up with the publishers of Wolverine to write a comic book. In addition to helping out with the story, he'll also be featured as a character.[20] He has authored a cookbook, Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal, published in May 2012. Michael Harlan Turkell is the photographer for the book, and Traci Des Jardin wrote the foreword.[21] The book contains recipes for dishes for first courses (most vegetable-based, not meat-based, despite Cosentino's specialty), but also includes philosophy and reproduced handwritten notes and sketches. It is laid out by seasons.[22]

In March 2012, Cosentino partnered with Adam Fleischman and opened PIGG, "a tribute to all things pork around the world", at UMAMIcatessen in Los Angeles.[23][24] UMAMIcatessen is a three-part cafeteria-style dining establishment on the ground floor of the Orpheum Lofts at 9th and Broadway.

On September 26, 2012, Cosentino (Incanto, San Francisco, California) won season four of Top Chef Masters on Bravo, winning the title of Top Chef: Master. As Top Chef: Master, Cosentino raised $141,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. [25]

Cosentino and his partner announced on March 5, 2014, that they would close Incanto to open Porcellino at the same location. It was to be a more casual neighborhood dining option/retail space.[26] With the opening of Cockscomb, however, it was closed.[27]

Cockscomb has been set up in the space that had been Zuppa. It gives a nod to earlier San Francisco in its offerings more than to Italy. Oysters and shellfish are an important aspect of what the restaurant offers. [28]

Television appearances[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Thank you & farewell". Retrieved October 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ "About The World Is Your Oyster/". Retrieved May 22, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Johnson & Wales University: Chris Cosentino '94
  6. ^ Chow Interview: Part Two, First Taste of Offal
  7. ^ Standen, Amy (March 2007). "Chris Cosentino doesn’t want to eat penis, but if he has to, he will.". Meatpaper. 
  8. ^ Incanto People
  9. ^ Bauer, Michael (2003-07-11). "Incanto enchants in Noe Valley: New chef, decor turn Italian spot around. He was honored for his commitment to innovative cooking with unusual ingredients in 2005 by, which named Cosentino a San Francisco Rising Star Chef.". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Turkell, Michael Harlan (2007-07-31). "Blood, Sweat, & Tripe". Hungry Magazine. 
  12. ^ Kaiser, Emily (2007-09-27). "Chris Cosentino: Loud for a Chef, Quiet for a Sausage Maker". Food and Wine Magazine. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Week 3 Challenge: Resourcefulness, Part 2
  15. ^ a b Modern Marvels episode: The Pig (ep. 491, Nov 27, 2007)
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^,3180,FOOD_30216_5690514,00.html
  19. ^
  20. ^ Zagat Buzz Blog: Chris Cosentino to Write, Star in Issue of Wolverine, April 4, 2011
  21. ^ "Daily Dish". Los Angeles Times. 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ Platt, Adam (May 26, 2013). "Umami Burger Comes to New York, Armed With One Addictive Ingredient". New York. Archived from the original on June 7, 2013. 
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ Check, Please! Bay Area » Incanto: Reviews
  30. ^ Episode IA0401, Batali vs. Cosentino, 'Battle Garlic'
  31. ^ Episode IA0704, Symon vs. Cosentino, 'Battle Offal'
  32. ^ At The Table With Food TV Canada
  33. ^

External links[edit]

See also[edit]