Food 101 Executive Chef Justin Keith is a graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, an affiliate of Le Cordon Bleu, in Scottsdale, Arizona, and has worked in some of the Southwest’s most acclaimed restaurants. Some of the chefs from whom he has received tutelage include Mark Tarbell and Eddie Matney.
Food 101 has evolved during the past decade to focus on farm-to-table, cutting edge Southern Cuisine, while also featuring several long-time favorites. The chefs at Food 101 highlight a bounty of local ingredients prepared with a bold Southern flair that provides a deliciously satisfying dining experience. High standards of quality ingredients and cutting edge cuisine have become synonymous with Food 101.
Chef Keith has been passionate about food since he was a young boy. Cooking was always a family affair as Keith’s grandparents owned a sugar mill where they produced and bottled cane syrup. Summers were spent on the family farm, picking and putting up corn and blueberries for the year ahead, as well as gathering pecans in the Fall.
Keith was raised along with two other siblings by a single mom who was constantly looking for ways to keep her children entertained. More often than not, Keith was given little tasks in the kitchen. At age four, he shocked his babysitter when he had Pillsbury cinnamon rolls cooked, iced, and ready on the table when she arrived.
Keith developed his cooking skills throughout childhood, and after high school he moved to St. Simon’s Island where he cooked in several acclaimed restaurants. He attended Valdosta State College, where he earned a degree in Management, while working part time cooking and managing a local restaurant. After graduation he was offered the position of Executive Chef in the newly developed Cuban restaurant, Esmerelda’s, where he researched and developed the entire menu.
This experience only fanned the flames that had sparked in him several years before, and he decided to formally train at The Scottsdale Culinary institute to further sharpen his skills.
While in Arizona, Keith worked both at Tarbell’s and Eddie Matney’s, both highly acclaimed restaurants. In these restaurants, Keith was given creative license to develop menu items.