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Ludivine Co-Hosts Thoreau-ly Modern Milieu

by Dave Cathey Published: October 22, 2013
Outstanding in the Field came to Hinton on Saturday and served about 100 diners.
Outstanding in the Field came to Hinton on Saturday and served about 100 diners.

Jim Denevan’s globe-hopping moveable feast concept Outstanding in the Field returned to Oklahoma last weekend, and once again the gang from Ludivine was there to make sure Oklahoma kept up its end of the bargain.

Russ Johnson measures the heat as he prepares food for Outstanding in the Field.
Russ Johnson measures the heat as he prepares food for Outstanding in the Field.

Sandy Springs Farms in Hinton hosted the event this year, picking up where Crestview Farms in Edmond left off last year.

Chef Josh Valentine takes a break with spot of yerba mate.
Chef Josh Valentine takes a break with spot of yerba mate.

Oklahoma weather was conspicuously well-behaved, leaving the 100 or so diners to wine and dine in a downright pastoral afternoon on the open prairie. The long, winding road to Hinton was well worth taking to bask in the rare glory of a perfect afternoon in Tornado alley where chefs Jonathan Stranger and Russ Johnson of Ludivine assisted in sourcing and producing the feast. Also on hand was chef Josh Valentine, the third-place finisher on the most recently completed season of Bravo’s “Top Chef” and stove-minder of the soon-to-open The George Prime Steak House atop Founders Tower. Josh and his wife Courtney camped out on the same range where the Wichita Buffalo Company’s chief commodity roams along with chef Stranger. Part of their job was to roast four local lambs over an open pit for more than 24 hours.

Also helping in the kitchen was chef Pepe Rodriguez, who was recently freed from the Tamazul fiasco. Pepe is currently in the process of moving back to Miami, which he left behind two months ago to help out the Classen Curve concept owned by chef Matthew Kenney only to have the owner wad up the modern Mexican grill concept launched in the summer and trash it so he could to return to his plant-based roots. Despite this turn of fate, Rodriguez was quick to smile and nothing but gracious about his time in Oklahoma.

“It’s been a great two months,” he said as he mixed a heaping mound of rajas. “I enjoyed my time in Oklahoma, it’s been a great experience.”

Folks from all over Oklahoma and points beyond its borders gathered at Sandy Springs Farms for the afternoon affair that promised an intimate date with a bright, starlit sky before it was over. Some camped out, others came by limousine for a taste of true local flavor in the hands of some its finest denizens and plenty of wine and beer supplied by COOP Ale Works.

Chefs Pepe Rodriguez, Josh Valentine and Jonathon Stranger prepare to serve the first course at Outstanding in the Field.
Chefs Pepe Rodriguez, Josh Valentine and Jonathon Stranger prepare to serve the first course at Outstanding in the Field.

The star of the event was a little bison named Stormy, who welcomed guests then begged for food at the dinner table like as ambitiously as Penny the Pilfering Beagle.

Hopefully, Denevan will choose to bring Outstanding in the Field to Oklahoma for a third year, and if it does you can be sure I’ll be there, and I would encourage you to do the same.

Chili-Digging Encouraged

Reminder, I’ll be competing in VI Marketing and Branding’s 11th Annual Carne Diem chili cookoff in the pro division. On top of the 50 amateurs shaking their chili-makers will be a showdown between myself, defending champion Rococo, Café 7, CoolGreens, Deep Fork Grill, Ground Floor Cafe, Kitchen No. 324, LT’s Deli, Ludivine, Packard’s, Range Café, and The Mule. Competition will be stiff but my Texas upbringing should be enough to bring home the gold…but not without the help of your tastebuds. So, come see us Friday afternoon.

Dining Options Blowing Up The Way Out Northwest

Those of living in Oklahoma City’s extreme northwest corner have been targeted for dining in recent weeks. First it was Nhinja Sushi and Wok choosing Walnut Creek Shopping Center for its third locale, then The Garage Burgers and Beer chose the southeast corner of Rockwell and NW 122nd St. for its fourth store. Now Tsubaki Sushi and Hibachi is nearing its launch at 5900 W Memorial, between a Jimmy John’s and Orange Leaf Yogurt. The same strip is home to an Earl’s Rib Palace, Hideaway Pizza and Interburban with a Charleston’s nearing completion along the lane. Options are good.

Meanwhile, more photos from Outstanding in the Field…


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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