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Chef, Bellini\'s Restaurante and Grill
After a brief trip studying - and eating - throughout Europe, Sears returned home in 1995 to complete a three-and-a-half-year apprenticeship with his uncle and culinary mentor, chef John Bennett.
After working at several metro-area restaurants, he headed for the Big Apple.
In August 2002, Sears and Bennett prepared dinner at New York City's famed James Beard House. The sold-out dinner was a resounding success and a true milestone in his career.
National recognition came to Sears when he participated in The James Beard Awards reception in May 2003 at the Marquis Marriott in Times Square. He was afforded the opportunity to cook with some of the country's top chefs, including Dean Fearing, Suzanne Goin, Jacques Pepin, Alan Sailhac, Allen Susser, Michael McCarty and Daniel Boulud.
Sears has appeared on several local and national television shows, including "The Oklahoma Kitchen" and "Dining Around" on The Food Network.
In 2005, Sears was awarded a Silver Medal award at the Oklahoma Restaurant Association Culinary Cook Off, and in 2006, he took home the Gold Medal Grand Champion award.
Despite all the accolades and professional accomplishments, Sears considers his most significant personal achievement as being an active member of the community and having a focus on his family.
"We (his family) take pride in the contribution of services we are able to offer to [our daughters' school], our church and the continued development of our city," he says. "As anyone involved in volunteer efforts knows, productive participation requires a commitment of our most precious commodity - time."