Tio knew by age 8 she wanted to be a chef, thanks to the positive influence of her brother, father and grandfather. She obtained her degree from Drexel University in hotel and restaurant management and by age 23 she was given the opportunity to lead the Grill Room at Philadelphia’s Ritz-Carlton. Yearning for a broader challenge and audience for her cooking, Tio ventured to Orlando Florida, to help open three specialty restaurants for Walt Disney World; Spoodles, which focused on Mediterranean cuisine, Citricos, which served Southern French dishes and Palo, an upscale Italian experience. She then accepted an invitation to move to Kansas City, Kansas to become the well-known head chef of one of the city’s finest restaurants, The American Restaurant. Tio now channels her diverse experience into her own restaurant, JULIAN, where she creates chef-driven twists on American comfort food she calls, "feel-good food." Her accomplishments have earned her local and national accolades, including 2005 "Chef of the Year" by Chef Magazine, the James Beard Foundation's 2007 "Best Chef: Midwest" and most recently named Kansas City Magazine's Chef of the Year.