If there is something to remember about our Alumnus Carvis Turner, it is definitely his dedication and his persistence!
Carvis joined CIL in 2011 where he graduated with 3 Associate Degrees!
After working for 2 years at River Oaks Country Club, Carvis opened his food truck The Bird, delighting customers all over Houston. Last summer, however, the Bird was stolen and found burned. “Never Give Up”, that’s the motto of Chef Carvis who, in only a couple months, was able to bounce back! Now manager of 2 restaurants, Carvis impresses us with his dedication and hard work.
Who are you?
Name Carvis Turner Sr.
Hometown Houston Texas
Current City Houston
Course of Study AAS Culinary Arts, AAS Baking & Pastry, AAS Hospitality & Restaurant Management
Year of Graduation 2013, 2014, & 2015
What is your story before CIL?
I joined the US Air Force in 2008 because I wanted to be a much better version of myself and I didn’t like where my life was headed if I didn’t make a change.
I graduated basic training, continued my studies in electronic principles at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi and went to Advance Individual Flight Training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. Unfortunately, due to health problems, I was discharged from the Air Force. After that, I worked at a small law firm in the Galleria before taking another assignment as a handyman in an apartment community.
Why the change? What inspired you to become a chef?
I’ve always wanted to be a chef. When I was a kid, I would persuade my parents into letting me stay home from Church by telling them I would clean the house and cooking dinner for when they got home. My grandmother owned a café in 5th Ward and my mother would cater here and there when I was growing up. It was a lot cheaper to cook at home, rather than go out to eat, so I have plenty of memories, of cooking in the kitchen with my parents.
I first joined the military as a way to make my mark in the world hoping to do something special. Once I got out I was lost and did not know what to do. I tried a few things until I saw the open house sign in front of the Culinary Institute LeNôtre. I went in and to my great pleasure, the tour around the school and presentation brought back all the feelings of my childhood. I knew this is what I wanted to do.
This school is probably the best culinary school in Houston because they changed my life in more ways than most people know.
How would you describe the impact of your courses at CIL on your life?
CIL helped me land a job at River Oaks Country Club. I worked there for 2 years and moved on to work under a master chef, thanks to Johnny Perez the Student’s Job Counselor at the time. They stood beside me when I was trying to open up a food truck & work on my last degree at the same time. This school is probably the best culinary school in Houston because they changed my life in more ways than most people know.
What is the best memory you keep from the school?
My Pastry Chef Francis and his wife, Chef Christelle. They pushed me to be better and to focus on the details. They were examples of finesse and style which is something you can’t teach. Either you have it or you don’t and they challenged me to realize, I had it.
What are your next projects?
I currently manage two restaurants: There is Bonfire Grill in Tomball which is an upscale eatery where we fabricate whole fish, whole beef cuts, and steaks. We also make everything from scratch including ketchup, mustard, pickles, bacon, gelato, pizza dough, just to name a few. The other restaurant is Hedgehog Grill which is more of an old fashion burgers & beer type of place.
Then, my next venture is to be continued…
Food is the ability to express your thoughts and passions through a plate and gives you room to feel good about making others feel good when they meet you through your food.
Any words of wisdom for our current and future students?
This career isn’t for everyone. It is unforgiving and unapologetic but if you work through the pain, it will teach you things about yourself and what’s important to you. It will give you an appreciation for the little things we take for granted. Food is the ability to express your thoughts and passions through a plate and gives you room to feel good about making others feel good when they meet you through your food.
Chef Carvis Turner’s creations at the Bonfire Grill in Tomball