Travis Johnson – District Executive Chef at Tulane University
Chef Travis Johnson is the District Executive Chef at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he oversees the university’s culinary operations and its reciprocal dining program with Loyola University. Previously, he’s held executive chef roles at universities in Missouri and in Iowa, where he was born. His drive to develop his culinary skills ultimately brought him to New Orleans, which he calls a destination for chefs due to its food-centric culture and culinary history.
His specialty in the kitchen is fusing the flavor profiles of Italian and Creole cuisines; his specialty in the professional world is creating exceptional dining experiences through the close, mentoring relationships that chefs develop in their culinary work. These relationships have been central to his experience of professional kitchens since he poured his heart into his first restaurant job in high school, and he strives to help other chefs build those bonds. Chef Johnson’s passion for beautifully executed dishes and richly varied meals is reflected by sought-after professional honors, including the American Culinary Foundation of New Orleans’ “Best Chefs of Louisiana 2012” and “Chef of the Year 2014,” and by the opportunities he’s had to serve meals to world leaders, entertainers, and presidential candidates as well as thousands of hungry university students.
In addition to his career as an executive chef and his ten-year record of “Traveling Chef” appearances, Chef Johnson serves his community by providing culinary expertise to programs like Café Reconcile and Grow Dat Farm, which benefits at-risk youth living in the heart of Gulf Coast food culture. These community needs drive him to keep building a professional record that’s all about a passion for fine dining done to perfection.