Happy Father's Day my fellow dads. I've got just the ticket for the pappy in your life: a reservation to the OK Chefs Relief pop-up at the Will Rogers Theatre on June 24.
Details are still trickling in, but I can tell you that chef Rick Bayless will be in town that day for a celebration of his Mexican cuisine that will benefit the ongoing recovery efforts in local storm-torn communities.
Bayless, who is based in Chicago but was born and raised in Oklahoma City, will be in town for one day, and three restaurants will pop up based on his world-famous Mexican restaurants in Chicago.
The day will start downtown, in a location still being determined, with a pop-up based on Bayless' newest concept, the fast-casual Xoco. Local chefs will man grills to produce Bayless' signature street food from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A minimum $10 donation is required for tacos and agua fresca.
At 5:30 p.m., The Tasting Room, 4322 N Western, will be converted into a miniature form of Bayless' upscale Topolobampo. This exclusive pop-up will include an intimate evening with Bayless, including a demonstration and the chance to interact with the star of public television's “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.”
Admission for a night at Topolobampo Oklahoma City is $1,000 per couple and is limited to 40 people.
The final pop-up will be inside the Will Rogers Theatre, adjacent The Tasting Room. It will feature a menu from Frontera Grill. Cost is $60, and the event is limited to 240 people.
The Xoco pop-up will be first-come, first-served, while reservations will be required for the night's events. UMB Bank will handle ticket sales as it is collecting donations, 100 percent of which will go to the relief effort. The phone number is 239-5936.
The OK Chefs Relief team also plans to include live music, a silent auction and other surprises. For updates, keep an eye on my blog: blog.newsok.com/fooddude.
Another good cause
OK Chefs Relief isn't the only function at which local stove-tenders will raise funds for a good cause this summer. The Odyssey de Culinaire returns for its 11th incarnation in July.
Chefs from Tulsa will serve a feast to Oklahoma City diners, then Oklahoma City chefs will reciprocate the following week.
The Oklahoma Restaurant Association event begins July 25 at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel, featuring Tulsa chefs Sam Bracken (The Canebrake), Jakub Hartlieb (River Spirit Casino), Lia Lewis (The Culinary Institute of Platt College), Erik Reynolds (SMOKE on Cherry Street) and Grant Vespasian (The Tavern). The Tulsa gang will serve a five-course meal, paired with wines by local experts.
On Aug. 1, Oklahoma City's David Henry (The Coach House Restaurant), Chris McCabe (Republic Gastropub), Christopher Pope (Skirvin Hilton Hotel), Joseph Royer (Saturn Grill) and Mark Vannasdall (The Restaurants at Chesapeake) will spin their magic at the Doubletree Hotel at Warren Place in Tulsa. Chef Robert Black, of A Good Egg Dining Group, is coordinating.
Each chef will work side-by-side with a ProStart culinary student assistant. ProStart is a school-to-career program created by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and designed to give high school juniors and seniors work experience combined with a practical curriculum that imparts real-world skills and food service concepts.
Odyssey de Culinaire is a fundraising and awareness dinner to benefit the Oklahoma Restaurant Association's Hospitality Career Initiative, which provides education and mentoring programs to help young people develop the skills needed for careers in the culinary and hospitality industries. Funds will be used to provide support to students, teachers and schools that are part of the Hospitality Career Initiative, and will include teacher training and development, materials and resources for student recruitment, assistance with job placement for internships and graduate employment and industry-driven events for hospitality students.
A wine reception gets each event started at 6 p.m. Dinner follows at 7 p.m. Cost is $125 per event or $200 for both evenings. Go online to okrestaurants.com or call (800) 375-8181 and ask for Anita Austin.
Shannon Roper and Bryan Neel, the S and B behind S&B Burger Joint, have opened Hillbilly Po' Boys and Oysters in the space previously occupied by Pachinko Parlor, 1 NW 9 St. The concept has been open a week, featuring playful interpretations of the bayou standard. You'll also find barbecued alligator ribs, grilled shrimp and shishito pepper skewers and Reuben egg rolls on the menu.
Cocktails are all based on moonshine, and the music is distinctly down-home. The early returns point to a bright future as the new concept follows the same fun-first approach as the Burger Joint. I'll have more complete coverage of the new restaurant later this summer.
Finally, congratulations to Tiffany Magness for winning the $10,000 prize on Food Network's “Cupcake Wars,” which aired Sunday. Chef Eric Smith of West and Sara Sara Cupcakes will be featured on the show June 23. Check out the Mood section Thursday for more coverage on the curtain call for Oklahoma City cupcakes.