Craig Shelton was born in 1961 in New Hampshire. He is a dual citizen of the U.S. and France. His grandparents owned a restaurant in Cognac, France, which is where he caught the culinary bug. In 1978, he went to school at Yale University to study Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and graduated in 1982 with a BA and MBB.
In 1983, he apprenticed at La Côte Basque, working his way up to sous chef, and in 1985 he moved over to Le Bernardin for three years before joining Chef David Bouley at Bouley as Chef de Cuisine from 1988 to 1991.
In 1991, at age 30, he took over as chef and managing partner of the Ryland Inn in Whitehouse, New Jersey. In the following 17 years as chef/owner, the restaurant received numerous awards. Great Chefs Television was producing their Great Chefs of America series for The Discovery Channel and showed up in 2001 to film Chef Shelton preparing a Steamed Black Bass entrée (episode #126).
After 2008, Chef Craig Shelton went on to found Villa Salaminia, a TV production company, was guest chef and consultant at the Skylark Diner in 2009; and the founding partner of Chef’s Coffee Company. In 2010, he moved outside of Houston, Texas to be executive chef and managing partner of Inn at Dos Brisas in Washington, Texas; president of AEON Hospitality Holdings in 2011; The Quay Group in 2012, and in 2013, became the principal of Princeton Center for Food Studies, a non-profit think tank in Princeton, New Jersey.
Today, he is also consulting and working 4 or 5 days a week at the Mediterra Restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey with chef Terry Strong.