Stephen Asprinio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Stephen Asprinio
Born Palm Beach County, Florida
Culinary career

Stephen Asprinio (born in Palm Beach County, Florida) is an American restaurateur, sommelier, chef, and former Top Chef contestant.[1][2][3]


Asprinio studied at the Culinary Institute of America. He continued his education after culinary school and earned his bachelor's degree from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. He also studied and trained at Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyards. During his time at school, Asprinio won the grand prize for Wine Spectator's Cointreau Recipe Contest and a bronze medal at the International Hotel & Restaurant Food Show's Culinary Competition in New York City. He also had literary works published on a national level in Wines & Vines Magazine, as well as serving as the food and wine editor for The Cornell Daily Sun.[1][2]

At the age of 17, Asprinio oversaw Cucina Nostalgia in Boca Raton, Florida under the direction of chefs Anthony and Lisa Damiano, earning the restaurant three stars in its first year. At the age of 19, Asprinio became the youngest person to pass the United States Sommelier Association certification exam. By 22, he took over two wine programs at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Additionally, Asprinio has worked under Chef Morimoto Masuhara in New York City and Chef Michael Mina at Nobhill in the MGM Grand Las Vegas.[1][3][4]

Asprinio appeared on reality TV show Top Chef on Bravo during its first season and was one of the final five contestants when he was eliminated from the competition. Asprinio also competed as a contestant on Top Chef: All Stars in 2010, but he was eliminated in the third episode.[1][2][3][4] Asprinio is best known as the "villain" of Top Chef's first season; ABC named him one of "Reality TV's Top 15 Meanest Villains." [5] One of the most stark examples of this "villain" behaviour was Asprinio's ongoing verbal treatment of another contestant, Candice Kumai, who he allegedly called "trash." [6]

At the age of 26, Stephen Asprinio opened his first and namesake restaurant, Forté di Asprinio in South Florida, which was named "One of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants in the United States" by the Gayot Restaurant Guide.[4] However, the restaurant dropped Asprinio's name shortly thereafter, and appears to have closed its doors in 2008.[7] On many review sites, customers of the restaurant noted that Asprinio's presence in the space affected their experience detrimentally. For instance, a commenter on the Broward Palm Beach New Times article wrote of Asprinio, "Have you ever met someone you had an unnerving urge to beat the crap out of five seconds after he uttered his first word? Then you understand."[8]

Asprinio currently resides in New York City, where his hospitality firm, S.A. Hospitality Innovations is based. He has been named one of the Top 100 Power Players by Florida International magazine for his contributions to the hospitality industry.[1][4]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Stephen Asprinio :: Official Website". 
  2. ^ a b c "Stephen Asprinio - Top Chef Season 1 - Bio - Bravo TV Official Site". Archived from the original on 2012-07-03. 
  3. ^ a b c "Stephen Asprinio - Top Chef Season 8 - Bio - Bravo TV Official Site". Archived from the original on 2012-11-02. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Former "Cheftestant" Delivers Commencement Address at Alma Mater :: The Culinary Institute of America". 
  5. ^ "The 15 Meanest Reality TV Villains". ABC. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Cohen, Andy (2012). Most Talkative: Stories form the Front Lines of Pop Culture. MacMillan. p. unpaginated. ISBN 9780805095845. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Menu Pages South Florida Retrieved 17 June 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Retrieved 14 June 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)