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Oklahoma City mom gets prize: ‘Top Chef’

by Dave Cathey Modified: December 3, 2008 at 4:13 pm •  Published: December 3, 2008

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Chef Tre Wilcox, formerly of Abacus in Dallas and Bravo’s "Top Chef,” said he’s experiencing "something called life.”

Life came early and often to Catherine "Cat” Taylor, mother of five and full-time benefits specialist from Oklahoma City. She had the globe-trotting Wilcox as guest chef Sunday after winning a contest sponsored by, the parenting site of

In her entry, Cat identified those who make it possible for her to work and raise Ashli, Emily, Dayton, Dylan, and Kira without day care.

Nathan Blessit is the No. 1 member of Cat’s team. He is her fiance and father to Cat’s youngest.

Cat invited others crucial to her children’s upbringing: Charlotte and Brad Molander, Nicole George, Tobie Goforth and Gabe and Dameon Aranda.

As Wilcox and Deep Fork Grill Executive Chef Joshua Richardson, acting as sous chef, prepared and executed a four-course meal, they deftly skirted hungry children, an apparent local scallop shortage, late-arriving guests, tight quarters, Oklahoma blue laws, a talking smoke alarm and a curious blue-eyed pooch named Schie.

From this chaos emerged Bacon-Scallion Risotto with Pomegranate Brown Butter and Paneed Shrimp.

In the kitchen, two chefs and one little girl quietly focused on food prep. Wilcox and Richardson worked toward pan-seared snapper, while little Emily made peanut butter and jelly, one for her and the other for her brother.

Helping out is life in this house.

by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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Tre Wilcox's recipes

Bacon-Scallion Risotto
4 ounces unsalted butter

¼ cup yellow onion, small diced

¾ cup carnanoli rice

5 cups chicken stock, plus reserved

¼ cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons apple-smoked bacon, diced and cooked till crisp.

¼ cup scallion, chopped fine

Salt and pepper to taste

→Melt butter slowly in heavy-bottom stockpot, saute onions over medium high heat for three minutes.

→Add rice. Toast for three to four minutes. Begin adding chicken stock a cup at a time, stir constantly.

→After last cup of stock has cooked away, finish risotto with cream, cheese, butter, bacon and scallion. Season with salt and pepper.

→Serve right away.

Pomegranate Brown Butter
4 ounces unsalted butter

3 tablespoons pomegranate juice

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons pomegranates

Salt to taste

→Brown butter over medium high heat. When butter is browned, strain through fine mesh strainer.

→Cool slightly, mix with remaining ingredients and season with salt.

→Keep warm until time to serve.

6 each U-10 diver sea scallops, muscles removed

Grapeseed oil

Salt to taste

→Using hot pan, sear sea scallops in grapeseed oil until cooked to desired temperature.

→Serve right away.

For the plate: In the bottom of small bowl, place a spoonful of the risotto. Spoon pomegranate brown butter around risotto. Top with one seared sea scallop and garnish with chervil sprig. Serve.

Copyright October 2008


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