Oklahoma City is becoming a celebrity chef magnet

Danny Bowien returns to Oklahoma City and chef Rick Bayless confirms he will do a benefit for tornado victims later this month.
by Dave Cathey Modified: June 5, 2013 at 9:50 am •  Published: June 5, 2013

The accolades couldn't have found a more humble and sincere young man. Bowien's selfless contribution to tornado victims isn't a one-time burst of charity.

Mission Chinese donates money from every main course it sells to local food banks. Mission has amassed more than $200,000 since it opened in 2010.

During his visit last week, Bowien, whose food is among the highest in demand around the country, confirmed that he intends to open a restaurant in his hometown, but said there is no timetable.

Chef Bayless' contribution to the OK Chefs Relief effort is still in the planning stages. Details were few as of press time, but here's what I have confirmed; Bayless is going to have the OK Chefs Relief benefit on June 24 at the Will Rogers Theatre in Oklahoma City. The event will be a pop-up version of his world-famous restaurants in Chicago. What hasn't been determined is which of his three restaurants will be represented or whether it will be a mix of all three. Topolobampo is Bayless' upscale Mexican restaurant, Frontera is the original that introduced the Midwest to authentic interior Mexican food, and Xoco is his newest Mexican street-food concept.

Bayless, like Bowien, grew up in Oklahoma City but had plenty of culinary influence from home. But not in Mexican food. Bayless grew up working in his family's barbecue restaurant, the Hickory House. While he didn't go on to open a chain of Oklahoma-style barbecue restaurants, Bayless has become one of Mexico's greatest culinary ambassadors in this country. He is the author of nine cookbooks, and the star of PBS's Emmy-nominated “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.”

For updates on this event, be sure to check my blog at blog.NewsOK.com/fooddude.

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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