'Top Chef''s Tom Colicchio Has A Few Thoughts About ‘Good Food’

+ Tom Macy, Social Hour & Nicole Austin, George Dickel


Tom Colicchio is a gastronomic icon. He also likes his tomato sauce out of a jar.

Colicchio, who is the head judge and an executive producer of acclaimed TV reality competition “Top Chef” and the owner of award-winning restaurant group Crafted Hospitality, is a partner in Colicchio Kitchen, a premium brand of sauces and condiments that are positioned as high-quality and convenient products for home chefs.

Recently rebranded from The Jersey Tomato Company, Colicchio Kitchen debuted at the 2023 Summer Fancy Food Show held from June 25-27, and showcased a broad range of products, including its Colicchio Collection of ultra-premium cooking and pairing sauces.

In this episode, Colicchio spoke about his involvement in the brand and his role in the development of its products, his perspective on adding an ethnic-themed line, how he defines “good food” and why he’s less intimidating than you might think.

From tomato sauce in jars to cocktails in cans, this episode also highlights a remarkable partnership between upstart beverage company Social Hour and iconic spirit brand George Dickel. 

Launched in 2020, Social Hour markets premium RTD craft cocktails made with high-quality ingredients, including a Gin & Tonic, Whiskey Mule and Yuzu Sunset Fizz. In 2021, Social Hour aligned with legacy whiskey brand George Dickel to launch its seasonally-inspired Harvest Whiskey Sour, an expression made with Dickel’s 13-year-old Tennessee whiskey and re-released the following year. The companies teamed up once again in 2023 to create the summer-themed Social Hour Bourbon Smash made with Dickel Bourbon, which was introduced in late June.

Social Hour co-founder Tom Macy and Nicole Austin, the general manager and distiller of George Dickel whiskey spoke about the origins of the partnership, how the collaboration aligned the aims of both brands and how the relationship may develop down the line.

In this Episode

0:43: Interview: Tom Colicchio, Partner, Colicchio Kitchen – Colicchio met with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif in New York City and spoke about his experience at the 2023 Summer Fancy Food, why growing up in New Jersey had a significant impact on his initial decision to develop a consumer brand and the companies expansion into condiments. He also discussed his evaluation of flavor and functional ingredients when it comes to great tasting food and Italian cuisine is the primary focus for Colicchio Kitchen.
14:04: Interview: Tom Macy, Co-Founder, Social Hour & Nicole Austin, General Manager/Distiller, George Dickel — Macy recalled his experience in BevNET Cocktail Showdown 2 competition and discussed how he has navigated an increasingly crowded RTD cocktail category. Austin spoke about her interest in creating a canned cocktail and why she jumped at the opportunity to work with Social Hour, how she and Macy attempted to reduce the red tape when creating the partnership between the two companies, why they chose to develop a Bourbon Smash and why they’re not looking too far down the line for the next product.

Also Mentioned

Colicchio Kitchen, Social Hour, George Dickel