Chef and restaurant owner Tom Colicchio expanded up food preparation with his mom and grandma in the cooking area of their Italian-American home. As a teen, he taught himself the cooking fundamentals from the traditional books La Technique and La Methode by French chef Jacques Papen. His dad suggested that Colicchio pursue food as a profession. He got his first job at the age of 17 in the kitchen area of Evelyn's Seafood Restaurant in Elizabeth. The self-trained Colicchio aspired to check out his knife skills in the huge city. He began functioning in a string of New York City bistros: The Quilted Giraffe (where he was advertised to sous chef after just four months on the job), Gotham Bar & Grill and Rakel and Mondrian, where he was called among the Top 10 Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine publication.