Alumna takes on 'Masters'
Celina Tio to appear on Bravo's Top Chef
Issue date: 3/11/11 Section: News
Since receiving her bachelor's at Drexel, Tio has received critical acclaim for her unique take on American comfort food, having been recognized as "Chef of the Year" in 2005 by Chef Magazine and the "Best Chef: Midwest" in 2007 by the James Beard Foundation, among other prestigious awards.
Immediately following her graduation, Tio began to cook at the Philadelphia Ritz Carlton's Grill Room, where at the age of 23 she became the head chef. From there, she relocated to Orlando, Fla., to assist in the opening of three Walt Disney World restaurants, which featured international cuisine. The restaurants, named Spoodles, Citricos and Palo, offered Mediterranean, Southern French and Italian food, respectively.
Following her Disney experience, Tio was offered the position of executive chef at The American Restaurant in Kansas City, Mo. Currently, she holds both this position and that of owner and head chef of the restaurant JULIAN, also in Kansas City.
In an interview with slashfood.com, Tio highlighted one of her favorite dishes from her restaurant.
"I have a crispy pork shoulder with sweet potato purée that was inspired by [a fellow contestant]," Tio said, although when asked what her favorite dish at JULIAN was, she equated the question to "asking a mom to name her favorite child."
Tio received the opportunity to compete on season three of "The Next Iron Chef," a Food Network show that offers the winner the opportunity to compete on "Iron Chef America." She survived seven weeks of competition before being eliminated in the second-to-last round.
"Top Chef Masters," Tio's most recent endeavor, pins 12 world-renowned chefs against each other in weekly competitions that test their culinary skills and endurance. Contestants compete for a $100,000 prize donation to the charity of their choice. According to Bravo's website, Tio will be competing for the organization Harvesters, a local food bank in Kansas City.
Regardless of how she fares on the show, Tio has plans for her culinary future. In an interview with wannabetvchef.com, she described her post-competition plans.
"[I plan on] maintaining and always working on improving JULIAN, [and I'll] hopefully have my book concept that I've had ready for three years come to fruition and perhaps work on a new concept," Tio explained.
Top Chef Masters season three premieres on Bravo April 6 at 11 p.m.