It's no surprise Black, who's cooked in Caribbean resorts and The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, wanted that same hands-on experience with Oklahoma products.
He never milked a cow before calling on Christian Cheese in Kingfisher, or visited a slaughterhouse until the one in far north Edmond used by NoName Ranch in Wynnewood.
“Cheeses are made up of different flavors, just like full-body wines made of different grapes,” Black said.
“And you have to understand slaughter if we're going to understand what it takes to produce a good cut of beef.”
One of his most descriptive entries describes a visit to Organic Gardens in El Reno, which grows tomatoes and fresh herbs.
“You walk in, and the smell, the aroma, the bright green of the plants — it's breathtaking and worthwhile, picking the leaves from the plants, holding them in your hands and smelling them,” Black said. “… I can't wait to go back to the kitchen and play with the food.”
His subsequent creations included dressings using lavender and fresh thyme, and blue cheese herb crust with basil for steak.
Farmers look at new crops as Apple does its next generation iPhone, Black said.
“At the end of the day,” he said, “it's about looking all around us and using the products we have right here in Oklahoma.”