View Our Prices
Tom Valenti is one of the most revered chefs in New York. Although his intensely flavored cooking has drawn raves from the food press for over a decade, Valenti has earned some of his most rapturous praise over the last eight years. In her 1998 review of Butterfield 81, then New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl characterized Valenti as a "clairvoyant in the kitchen" because of his uncanny talent for understanding what diners like to eat. Gael Greene named him one of her top ten favorite chefs in the January 1999 "Where to Eat Now" issue of New York Magazine. And Ed Levine, author of New York Eats, recently dubbed him "Flavor King of New York." In 2007, Tom Valenti purchased The West Branch Resturant and became controlling owner.
A native of Ithaca, New York, Valenti began his life in the kitchen while still a high school student when he joined the staff of L'Auberge Du Cochon Rouge, a French restaurant in his hometown where he apprenticed to chef Etienne Merle. After graduating from high school, he served as a chef at a private estate in Westchester before beginning his long association with restaurateur Guy Savoy, first as a pastry chef for a Savoy-owned restaurant in Westchester, and then as chef tournant for Savoy's Paris restaurant.
Returning to the United States, Valenti worked as a line cook at several flagship restaurants before becoming Alfred Portale's first sous chef at the famed Gotham Bar and Grill. This led to executive chef positions for Valenti at Cafe Greco, Restaurant Giancarlo and Chelsea Central.
Tom Valenti's cuisine broke through the New York clutter when he became the first executive chef at Alison on Dominick, the West SoHo bistro where he was catapulted to stardom. In 1989, Esquire magazine dubbed this romantic rendezvous the "Best New Restaurant" in New York City, while Food and Wine magazine lauded Valenti as one of the country's "Ten Best New Chefs" in 1990. At Alison, Valenti's vast experience culminated in the creation of the bold, Southern France-influenced cuisine that has become his trademark.
At his next restaurant, Cascabel, Valenti took this unique fare to an even higher level, earning rave reviews from critics and the top spot on Ruth Reichl's list of favorite restaurants in 1994.
And, just when it seemed that his food could not get any bolder, tastier or memorable, he unveiled a menu at Butterfield 81 in 1998 that surprised even his most ardent long-time fans. By consistently challenging himself, he has continued to take his style to the next level, extracting more and more flavor from his favorite ingredients and discovering new and exciting combinations.
He is the author of four books, Tom Valenti's Soups, Stews, and One-Pot Meals: 125 Home Recipes from the Chef-Owner of New York City's The West Branch and 'Cesca, Welcome to My Kitchen: A New York Chef Shares His Robust Recipes and Secret Techniques, and You Don't Have to Be Diabetic to Love This Cookbook.
In 2001, Valenti established Windows of Hope, a 501c3 nonprofit orgnization to benefit families affected by the events of September 11th. It has raised more than $23 million to help the 124 families and 150 children whose lives were forever altered by the tragedy.
New York 10024
Hours of operation