Although he was born in Wilmington, Delaware, and raised in Connecticut, Bradford Thompson spent most of his childhood summers at his grandfather’s house in Goose Rocks Beach, Maine, where he picked blueberries with his grandmother and learned how to fish and set lobster traps—skills he would draw on many years later as a chef.
After graduating from the University of Rochester, Thompson decided the 9-to-5 world was not for him. Working in kitchens to pay his student loans, Thompson found his culinary calling. His career took him to both coasts, learning from some of the country’s most notable chefs, including Vincent Gueritault, Alessandro Stratta and Daniel Boulud. After several years in other chef’s kitchens, Thompson became executive chef of Mary Elaine’s at the Phoenecian. During his time there, the restaurant earned many awards, including the coveted Mobil 5 star award, AAA 5 Diamond, and the Grand Award from Wine Spectator. Thompson himself was voted one of Food and Wine’s Best New Chefs in 2004 and won the James Beard award for “Best Chef South West” in 2006.
In 2008, Thompson returned to NYC to become executive chef at Lever House in Midtown. He’s since founded Bellyfull Consulting, which offers private dining, menu consulting, staff training, and culinary productions. He and his wife also started Jules Gourmet Foods, LLC, a company that specializes in Jamaican sauces and seasonings. Thompson is currently executive consulting chef for Miss Lily’s Favourite Cakes, an unparalleled Jamaican restaurant in Greenwich Village. Thompson and his cuisine have been featured in several publications, including Food and Wine, Gourmet, Art Culinaire, The New York Times, and The Jamaica Observer. He’s also received network coverage on Fine Living Network, CBS Early Show, The Today Show, and Food Network.
When he’s not cooking, Thompson is dedicated to several charities, including TJ Martell, MLBPA Charities, Autism Speaks, Chefs for Humanity, and Share Our Strength, which honored him as their “Outstanding Chef of 2005”. He has chaired the Taste of the Nation twice and founded the “Tasteful Pursuit” in 2004. A diehard sports fan, Bradford can often be found in the Meadowlands parking lot, tailgating and cheering on his beloved New York Giants – his tailgating has even been featured on FoodandWine.com and in The New York Times.