Celina Tio
Chef/Owner, The Belfry, Julian
Kansas City, Missouri

A lot has happened in Celina Tio’s career since beginning her seven year tenure at the American Restaurant in Kansas City, splashing on the scene with both local and national accolades.

In 2005, Tio won Chef magazine’s Chef of the Year title and then claimed the title of James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Midwest in 2007. The accolades continued from there at her first proprietary restaurant, JULIAN, where she creates chef-driven “feel good food.” It was at this popular Kansas City neighborhood gathering spot where Tio was honored as KC Magazine’s Chef of the Year in 2010.

Tio’s career continued to ascend with a great showing on Season 3 of the Food Network’s popular show “The Next Iron Chef.” She followed that up in 2011 with another great showing on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef Masters.” Her fighting spirit was on full display a couple years later on the Food Network when she was a contender in Kitchen Stadium against Iron Chef Michael Symon. She then put her full culinary skills on display as a guest expert on Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue.”

Tio’s newest restaurant, The Belfry, is a neighborhood spot featuring craft beer, bourbon and chef driven bar food. It was honored as one of Draft Magazine picks for best new beer restaurants in 2014. And cooking isn’t her only strength. Her knowledge of beer and wine is exceptional, as evidenced by her having achieved the title of both Certified Sommelier and Certified Cicerone. And her business acumen is just as strong. Tio was recently honored as a member of Kansas City Business Journal’s 2015 Class of Women Who Mean Business.