Sam Talbot is a chef, author and television personality and was a semi-finalist on season 2 of Bravo’s acclaimed series Top Chef. He was voted the viewers “Fan Favorite” for and was named one of People Magazine’s “Sexiest Men Alive” in 2012.
Sam is the former founding Executive Chef of the Surf Lodge in Montauk, NY. While at the helm, it became nationally acclaimed and named one of the worlds 20 Sexiest Bars and Restaurants by The Travel Channel, and a premiere dining destination of the Hamptons. He went on to open Imperial No. Nine, a sustainable seafood restaurant in the Mondrian Soho Hotel in New York City. During Sam’s tenure, Imperial No. Nine received two stars from New York Magazine, a 25 rating in Zagat, and was a Michelin Guide-recommended destination. He is also the author of The Sweet Life: Diabetes without Boundaries,(Rodale).
Sam is at the forefront of the ‘Sustainable Living’ movement, which seeks to break down the walls between the way we eat and the way we live. When conceiving dishes, Sam keeps a few simple questions in mind: What is the food? Who’s eating it? Where is it from? When? Under what circumstances? Sam’s approach to cooking is to understand how all these questions—and their answers—interconnect. His outlook on life is the same: Sam surfs, snowboards, practices yoga, travels widely and moves easily among the worlds of food, fashion, entertainment and sports. Diagnosed at a young age with juvenile diabetes, Sam lives every hour with a profound understanding of the impact of food on life and life on food. That understanding has become a uniquely driving force for his cooking style and recipes.
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Sam began his culinary training at Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, SC. At culinary school, Sam worked at the acclaimed J. Bistro in Charleston where he worked under chef /owner James Burns, who he considers his mentor. At age 24, Sam moved to New York City to become Executive Chef at Black Duck in the Gramercy area of Manhattan. Two years later, he opened Williamsburg Café and was nominated for best brunch restaurant in Brooklyn by the New York Post. Sam’s inventive dishes have garnered praise from The New York Times, New York Magazine, the Daily News, New York Post, Zink Magazine, Time Out New York and Forbes Magazine.
Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12 has given Sam a great perspective on the value of life and has led to his work with numerous organizations including JDRF, NRDC, Waves For Water, Monterrey Bay Seafood Watch Program and others close to his heart. After super storm Sandy hit, Sam helped found the ‘Rockaway Lunch Truck’, which provided fresh hot food to the community and those displaced in hardest hit areas of The Rockaways. Most recently, Sam launched a partnership with Barnabas and Beth Israel children’s hospital to campaign for children’s wellness.
Sam strives to take the principles of sustainability in his restaurants and spread them through local communities. He is currently in production of his next book, a TV series, and the development of several new restaurants.