On tonight’s episode of Hell’s Kitchen, Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Stephan Moccio makes a special guest appearance. While guest stars of a musical nature aren’t common on Hell’s Kitchen, Chef Ramsay explains that great chefs, like great musicians, must be versatile in a wide variety of cooking styles.
It doesn’t sound like Moccio will play a role throughout the episode, as the teams are given the challenge to cook halibut seven different ways for Michelin star chef David LeFevre. Plus, during the dinner service, the focus appears to be on communication and support. However, the contestants should be thrilled to be in Stephan’s company as he has an impressive career.
He was born to an Italian-Canadian father and a French-Canadian mother. Because of his Canadian heritage, he is fluent in both French and English. He grew up in Niagara Falls and he started piano studies at the age of 3. Throughout his career, he’s worked in various musical genres, including classical, jazz, pop, hip-hop, blues, and even dance music.
He’s often spending time in Toronto and Los Angeles as both places are dear to his heart. And he also reveals that it is here, 30,000 feet above the ground, that he writes much of his music.
“It’s peculiar,” he reflects as quoted on his personal website, “Toronto and LA are so different but they’re both a huge part of what I do, and often I find that the inspiration for some of my best music comes when I’m traveling between them.”
“There are many times when I find myself caught between opposing forces in my music. Is it classical or pop? Am I a performer or a composer? Do I collaborate or work alone? As a creator, these are questions that I face every day. And finding answers is somewhat of a balancing act,” he pauses, “because they are usually somewhere in between.”
His biography on his website also reveals that he was a classically-trained pianist with a publishing deal by his early 20s. He wrote A New Day Has Come by Celine Dion and I Believe by Nikki Yanofsky, which would later be used for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games held in Vancouver.
“The promise of possibility, using music to take people somewhere they haven’t been – that has always been at the heart of what I do,” he’s quoted as saying on his website, adding, “I’m not afraid of new ideas because I think people are intelligent and enjoy being challenged, but I also understand that the music people remember has something familiar about it,” he says. His ability to seamlessly blend new and old is part of what makes his music so innovative. “I think that focusing too much on chasing whatever the latest trend is risks cheapening the art,” he continues, “but if you aren’t willing to try something new, to push yourself to see what’s possible, you end up being mediocre by recycling old ideas. I try to find the perfect balance between the two.”
He’s been nominated for a few prestigious awards including an Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures and Original Song for his work on Fifty Shades of Grey. That same year in 2016, he was nominated for Outstanding Original Song at the Black Reel Awards. Along with a long list of engineers and mixers, he was also nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year for “Beauty Behind the Madness.” His other award nominations include Best Original Song at the International Online Cinema Awards for Fifty Shades of Grey and the Best Music award and the Original Song award at the Seattle Film Critics Awards.
His work includes So You Think You Can Dance, Saturday Night Live, Glee, American Music Awards 2013, The Block, The Foot Show, the Crazy Ones, The Voice Kids, and he worked on Miley Cyrus: Bangerz Tour and was featured in the documentary from 2014. He’s also worked on Fifty Shades of Grey, where he worked as a producer.
Stephan’s resume also lists Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Pitch Perfect 2, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Oscars, Britain’s Got More Talent, Lip Sync Battle, and Tu Cara Me Suena. And tonight, he can add Hell’s Kitchen to his resume.
Hell’s Kitchen airs Fridays at 9/8c on FOX.