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Distinguished Chef Series
September 25-26, 2019
Chef Justin Thompson: JTR Group Tulsa
Justin Thompson is the proprietor-chef of the Justin Thompson Restaurant Group, co-owner of Farrell Family Bread and author of Trial & Error: Recipes and Lessons Learned by a Chef & Restaurateur. With a focus on quality products, exceptional service and excellent cuisine, Thompson has developed a knack for creating problem-solving procedures, training and creative menu options for itself and others. In 2017, Thompson added his first full-time management and consulting client in MixCo Bar across from the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa and in 2018, he purchased Farrell Family Bread.
Throughout his career, Thompson has been named Tulsa’s best chef by Oklahoma Magazine, Tulsa Voice, Tulsa People Magazine and Urban Tulsa Magazine. He has received numerous awards and recognition from the Chaine des Rotisseurs, has been featured in Saveur Magazine and served as a guest chef at the James Beard House in New York City.
November 13-14, 2019
Executive Sous Chef Sarah Leavell: BOK Center Arena and Cox Business Center
Sarah Leavell is the executive sous chef of the Bank of Oklahoma Center and the Cox Business Center in Tulsa. She began her career at a small, independently owned restaurant, Flair, in Muskogee, Okla., before advancing to a fine dining restaurant and resort, The Canebrake, in Wagoner, Okla. Leavell has served in pastry chef, sous chef and chef de cuisine positions. She also teaches adult career development classes at Tulsa Tech.
Leavell is an 11-year member with the American Culinary Federation as well as a member of the Women Chef and Restaurateurs chapter, Phi Theta Kappa Society and National Technical Honor Society. Leavell serves on the Indian Capital Culinary Program Advisory Committee, OSU-IT Culinary Program Advisory Committee and the Nathan Hale High School Culinary Advisory Committee and has been involved with several ProStart culinary programs throughout Oklahoma. She won the Oklahoma Restaurant Association Culinary Cup Competition in 2017 and represented Oklahoma twice in the Chaine des Rotisseurs young chef southwest regional competition.
February 12-13, 2020
Chef Brad Johnson and Friends: Corporate Chef Hal Smith Restaurant Group
Brad Johnson is an executive chef at Hal Smith Restaurant Group. An OSU alum, he has developed the menus for some of the company’s most successful concepts, including Charleston’s Restaurant, Mahogany Prime Steakhouse, Redrock Canyon Grill, Upper Crust, Louie’s and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill.
In 2007, Brad purchased the spice company, The Allen Oliver Group, and has successfully built the company into one of the favorites among barbeque restaurants across the country.
April 15-16, 2020
Modernists Cuisine Expert Chef Bill Leib: Francis Tuttle Technology Center OKC
Bill Leib teaches adult culinary education programs at Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City where he develops curriculum and teaches the next generation of culinarians. Previously, he worked for “Pleasures of the Palate Catering,” the largest catering business in Pennsylvania and managed the catering program at the National Military Park and Museum in Gettysburg.
He has been active with the American Culinary Federation and the Oklahoma Restaurant Association since coming to Oklahoma. He is a two-time presenter at the American Culinary Federation National Convention on modern cuisine techniques. He is also a board member for the Oklahoma Restaurant Association and is vice chair of the education committee. In addition, Leib is also active in helping the next generation of culinarians by assisting with the Oklahoma State Prostart, FCCLA, and SkillsUSA competitions.