Ted began his restaurant career as a server at the 75th Street Brewery in 1994. He worked his way through the restaurant with positions including bartender, line cook and sous chef. In 1995, he entered fine dining first as a line cook, then sous chef of Steve Cole's Cafe Allegro. In 1997, he was named Chef de Cuisine and held the position for three years. He was reviewed by the New York Times travel section in December 1997 stating that Cafe Allegro was one of the "best in the city, and... certainly is the top tier". The Kansas City Star awarded him with three and a half stars in 1998.
In May 2001, Ted moved to New York City to work for Danny Meyer's renowned Union Square Cafe. He trained under James Beard Award winner Michael Romano and chef de cuisine Dan Silverman, becoming sous chef in late 2001. In 2003, Ted moved back to Kansas City working part-time at 40 Sardines while he launched Seasons Catering and Room 39 with Andy Sloan.