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Tom Colicchio, Top Chef
"I was the chef de cuisine at Mondrian in New York City for three months. After my father passed away, I took some time off, then I went back to work, then I decided to go to France. I was bouncing from one thing to the next. Then I got a call asking me if I'd like to be chef at Mondrian—a big jump. A few months later, we got three stars in The New York Times. I was 26, no one really knew me—it was out of the blue, and it changed everything."