Program: Diploma in Culinary Arts
Year of Graduation: 2009
Travis Turner discovered his passion for cooking at a young age. When he was just a boy, Chef Ricardo, the chef at Capital Grille, took him back into the kitchen and showed him around a bit. This allowed Travis to smell the aromas of spices and really get a taste for what kitchen life was all about. Upon leaving, Chef Ricardo gave him a recipe to use at home. Travis became inspired and began experimenting with food on a regular basis, so much so, his parents bought him blank flashcards and a recipe book to keep up with his many new creations. Travis continued his love for cooking throughout middle school and early on in high school, but as high school progressed, the love fizzled as he discovered fast cars and the typical teenage life.
Travis graduated high school when he was only 16. He went off to college in hopes of becoming an electrical engineer. His father owned a few oil companies in Houston so naturally he thought best to follow in his father’s footsteps. Quickly he realized that engineering was not his calling. After a short break Travis decided to revisit his love for cooking and made an appointment here at the Culinary Institute LeNôtre (CIL).
Naturally, Travis did his research on the school, asked a few industry people, where he received only good comments about the school, and came in for a tour. The small class sizes were appealing and being just 5 minutes from downtown he knew CIL was the perfect fit. After his first day of class he was hooked. He had finally found his passion, never looking back.
During his tenure at the Culinary Institute LeNôtre, Travis acquired not only knife skills, technique, timing, ideas, temperatures, and food knowledge, he took away his most important life skill—confidence. In a world where so much is thrown at you all at once, confidence is key.
Inescapably, packing up your belongings and leaving home where all your friends and family reside is a nerve wrecking experience, however the best way to conquer your fears is to face them head on. Travis choose to do just that and took his talents to Simms Steakhouse in Denver, Colorado.
Although Simms Steakhouse is where he currently works, he did not always work there. Chef Travis has worked in many places, learning and growing along the way. He started his career at Flemings Prime Steakhouse where he worked his way up to sous chef soon after graduating from CIL in 2008. Later Chef Travis went to work at Marks American Cuisine where he worked hard and quickly earned the title of Chef de Cuisine. From there, he became the Executive Chef of Soma Sushi on Washington Avenue near Downtown Houston. Chef Travis made his way to Vic and Anthony’s after only a brief time at Soma Sushi as the Sous Chef where he was soon promoted to the Executive Chef position at Simms Steakhouse in Denver, Colorado where he currently works.
Not only has Chef Travis made leaps in bounds with job promotions, he has also competed in culinary competitions. One notable competition is the Landry’s Iron Chef Competition. At this event, Travis was the youngest chef/competitor by 9 years. Along with cooking, Chef Travis manages a side job cage fighting where he applies the confidence learned in the kitchen at the Culinary Institute LeNôtre to face a competitor and prove his strengths outside of the kitchen.
Where it seems like a young man has done everything and accomplished so much, Chef Travis Turner has even bigger dreams. Within the next five years, Chef Travis hopes to start up his own concept restaurant, built from the ground up. He hopes for it to be staffed with cooks and management that he groomed and know will represent him to the fullest. Chef Travis is open to pretty much anywhere the journey takes him.