Tom Catherall was brought up in a family of 10 in Newcastle City, United Kingdom, now home of Michelin Star chef Terry Laybourne. He attended St. Aloysius School in Newcastle and after graduation, started a four year apprenticeship at the Royal Turks Head Hotel at age 15. Following that apprenticeship, he left Newcastle in his late teens because there was no room left in the bed. He and his brothers all slept in one bedroom.
He traveled to the Bahamas, Bermuda, and finally Boston. Eventually he ended up at the Cherokee Country Club in Atlanta. While there, he pitched for his Certified Master Chef (Chef’s version of the CIA) and out of 10 candidates, he was one of three winners.
In 1990 he opened his first restaurant, Azalea. In 1993, he started his next restaurant called Tom Tom’s, named because his father, who was a commercial artist, always called him that as a kid. In 1995, the Great Chefs television crew showed up to tape Chef Tom for the Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs of the South series and also their Great Chefs of America series. He closed Tom Tom’s in 2003, but went on to open Prime, Twist and eight other restaurants including Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza in 13 different Atlanta locations.
Chef Catherall retired in 2012 after a nasty divorce from his second wife, but that left him driving two Range Rovers, a Bentley and an open top Jaguar in Watercolor, Florida. However, after a few years he got the itch again, returned to Atlanta, and in 2016 he opened Tom Tom’s Tapas & Tequila and Tom Tom’s Kitchen & Bar. His advice to anyone looking to become a chef….DON’T. And probably would also say, don’t get married.