Oklahoma tornadoes: Area's restaurant community steps up to support relief efforts

Local chefs, restaurateurs and food service professionals banded together Tuesday to support the relief efforts of storm-ravaged Oklahoma communities.
BY DAVE CATHEY dcathey@opubco.com Modified: May 21, 2013 at 10:43 pm •  Published: May 21, 2013

The Oklahoma City-area food service community mobilized Tuesday to support rescue workers with food trucks, donation drops and a benefit planned for Sunday at the Myriad Gardens.

Jinny Chen, working on behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police of Oklahoma, is organizing local food trucks and chefs to feed rescue workers and victims of Monday's tornado.

Sarah Bui of Heo's Kitchen parked at the Lowe's at 1501 S Interstate 35 Service Road in Moore to serve those in need Tuesday afternoon. Alan Bouda, owner of Wild Al's Food Truck and president of the Oklahoma City Food Truck Association, led a group of trucks later in the evening to the same spot, where they served food until it ran out.

The trucks took food donations from US Foods, Enid-based Advance Food Co. and Oklahoma City-based Kelley Brokerage. Heo's Kitchen used ingredients donated by the Super Cao Nguyen Market.

Chen said she plans to organize food trucks throughout the rescue and recovery operation, which will require more help from the public. Chen said people can help bolster the food supply by donating via PayPal at wildals.webs.com.

Chen said the police group has set up a post to cook for workers and victims and is seeking chefs and restaurant professionals to staff the grills.

“We need responsible cooks to maintain a certain level of quality and cleanliness to best serve those at work in the storm-ravaged area,” Chen said.

To volunteer, call Chen at 326-2705.

Chefs Ryan Parrott, Guy Romo and Jonathan Turney began cooking for Federal Emergency Management Agency workers Tuesday. Parrott said his crew is well set on food for “the next couple of days” but is still seeking napkins, plates, plasticware and to-go boxes. Parrott said snacks also are sought.

“We're going to serve them a hot meal,” Parrott said. “But we still need individually packaged foods like power bars or chips so we can send the workers back into the field with a snack and a bottle of water.”

Parrott said donations of food or paper goods can be made at Matthew Burch's Urban Agrarian Market, 1235 SW 2 St. Burch added that breakfast foods and coffee are also sought. Burch said if you have items you think will be helpful, call 231-1919 to arrange delivery.

Operation Barbecue Relief arrived in Moore on Tuesday. The not-for-profit group was formed in 2011 in support of the tornado in Joplin, Mo., and has supported victims and workers at five disaster sites since. Local pitmaster Russ Garrett said Operation Barbecue Relief will be in town as long as it takes. Ben. E. Keith Foods donated the beef.

McNellie's pubs in Norman, Tulsa and Oklahoma City announced all proceeds from Oklahoma beers sold until the end of the month will be donated.

Allied Arts has partnered with S&B Burger Joints and will donate 10 percent of all sales through Sunday to the Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma. For more information, call 278-8944.

A Good Egg Dining Group sent 500 cases of water to First Baptist Church of Moore on Tuesday. The group also announced its Tucker's Fried Onion Burgers concepts will redesignate its Refill the Community proceeds to Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore.

Finally, local chefs Chris Becker, Marc Dunham, Kurt Fleischfresser, Jonathon Stranger and Josh Valentine will headline a culinary event on Sunday at Myriad Gardens called OK Chefs Relief. The local chefs will open a pop-up restaurant at 11 a.m. in the restaurant space in the botanical gardens complex that will run until 10 p.m.

The chefs will feature a three-course meal with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Red Cross. Fleischfresser said there will be no charge for the meal, but asks that people make a donation of at least $35.

Fleischfresser said people can expect “spontaneous cuisine” made from locally donated ingredients. The restaurant holds about 80 people. The event is first-come, first-served, but hosts will take names at the entrance and text those waiting for seats.


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