Top Chef contestant Cliff Crooks is back. Although the pro chef was kicked off on Top Chef in Season 2 (he got rowdy with other contestants), the culinary star has returned with his very own show: Chef Boot Camp. The new series on Food Network (which airs April 8) finds struggling restaurants and puts their chefs through the ringer through sets of challenges which will prove their worthiness.
If they don't make it, then their restaurant doesn't make it. It sounds pretty stressful, but Cliff will be leading the way and guiding these chefs with the hope that they become better and turn their restaurants around. There's a lot at stake, but these chefs are lucky that Cliff is so experienced.
We know that Cliff became curious about food when he was very young. "I grew up cooking with my nana — she's a fantastic cook — and that was the beginning of my child-like curiosity about food in general," he told New York Moves. At 15, he became a busser, and then slowly worked his way up, going from line cook to sous chef, to eventually becoming an executive chef at some high end New York City restaurants.
If you're also curious about Cliff's personal life, here's what to know.
Who is Cliff Crooks' wife?
Although Cliff Crooks is very private about his personal life, he's posted glimpses of it every now and then. This includes photos of his wife, Karina Veiga. Karina and Cliff got married sometime in 2019. It seems like two own a lovely condo together in Weehawken, N.J. In 2020, Cliff wrote, "Every day I’m reminded you’re the best decision I’ve ever made. Te amo mi vida, happy anniversary," and posted a photo of Karina on their wedding day. So sweet!
What's Cliff Crooks' net worth?
It's estimated that Cliff Crooks' net worth it $1.1 million. And this likely doesn't count his new show, Chef Boot Camp — if it's popular, Cliff may stand to make much more than just $1.1 million. Currently, he likely has income based on his time in Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen, Chopped Junior, Worst Cooks in America, and Tournament of Champions. He's also held the title of Culinary Director at a steakhouse restaurant group called BLT Restaurants.
The culinary industry is a tough one — many cooks and even established chefs struggle financially, as it's a cut-throat environment (we're not even taking COVID into consideration) with very small margins. To become wealthy, chefs generally need to become business savvy and own successful restaurants. The big numbers also come in when chefs are able to market themselves on TV or social media (see: Gordon Ramsay, Padma Lakshmi, etc.). It looks like Cliff Crooks is well on his way.
Does Cliff Crooks have kids?
From what we can tell, Cliff Crooks and Karina don't have children. It's possible they're trying, or simply have other priorities in life, and that is totally their business. While we don't know what Karina does for work, it's clear that Cliff Crooks is extremely busy, as he continues to make a name for himself as one of the world's greatest chefs.
Watch Chef Boot Camp every Thursday at 10 p.m. EST on the Food Network.