STILLWATER — When the 2013 Wine Forum opens Friday on the Oklahoma State University campus, it will be the culmination of two years of planning by clinical professors and execution by Hospitality and Restaurant Administration students.
And if you don't already have your tickets, you're too late.
Congratulations to the school and its students for selling out the weekend-long, biennial event in its third incarnation.
It's an incredible accomplishment, but there is still work to be done. If you're one of the lucky ones who garnered entry to the Wine Forum and its many-splendored events, tastings and seminars, you'll doubtlessly bear witness to ruddy-cheeked youths scampering to and fro on behalf of the quality of your experience.
And in so doing, their education will be enriched by the building blocks only on-the-job training can supply.
“There's only so much you can teach in the classroom,” said clinical professor Steve Ruby. “The Wine Forum allows us to offer our students experiential education more valuable than any lecture.”
The theme for the event is Of Wine, Women and the West. The honorary chair is Beth Nickel, proprietor of Napa Valley wineries Far Niente, Dolce, Nicken & Nickel and EnRoute in the Russian River Valley. The guest celebrity chef is author, blogger and television personality Ree Drummond, better known as the Pioneer Woman.
Starting at 6 p.m. Friday, OSU's hospitality and restaurant administration students will execute silent auctions, a gala dinner, more than a dozen seminars and a grand tasting. Best of luck to the students.
If you didn't have a chance to buy tickets to this year's event, start making plans for the 2015 event.
Speaking of opportunities for those considering a career in the culinary arts, the James Beard Foundation is accepting applications for its 2013 scholarship program, with more than $484,000 in awards available.
Established in 1991, the James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program assists aspiring and established culinary professionals who plan to further their education at a licensed or accredited culinary school.
The James Beard Foundation also offers grants for current working culinary professionals to expand their culinary experiences.
The program is administered by the Scholarship Management Services division of Scholarship America. Application forms are available at sms.scholarshipamerica.org/jamesbeard. The submission period began April 1. All scholarship application materials, including transcript, must be postmarked by May 15. Professional grant applications must be postmarked by June 15. Scholarship winners will be notified in August.
Cooking demos added
The Arts Council of Oklahoma City's Festival of the Arts has built a reputation as one of the city's top food events for its diverse and delicious offerings. But to show the council isn't sitting idly by, this year's festival April 23-28 will feature a Culinary Arts Demonstration Stage.
Created by event co-chairs Linda Whittington and Daniel Adams, the Culinary Arts Demonstration Stage will provide an interactive culinary experience with free demonstrations from some of Oklahoma City's most talented and popular chefs.
Festivalgoers will be able to further appreciate the art of cooking and the art of tasting by witnessing some of the best local Italian, Mediterranean, Brazilian and French restaurants whip up incredible dishes. From sushi to steak to sugary treats, the Culinary Arts Demonstration Stage will offer plenty of samples and tricks.
The new stage will also feature the first OKC Festival Cook-Off at 11 a.m. April 27 between chefs Tabb Singleton, executive sous chef at Emeril Lagasse's NOLA Restaurant in the Crescent City and winner of Food Network's “Chopped,” and Joseph Royer, owner of Saturn Grill and two-time champion of the National Taste of Elegance competition hosted by the National Board of Pork. These two will prepare savory pork dishes on stage to become the ultimate pork victor of Oklahoma.
Culinary arts demonstrations will last 45 minutes and take place between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Among those participating will be yours truly for a demonstration of carne guisada at 1 p.m. April 26. For a complete list of participating chefs and restaurants, go online to artscouncilokc.com.
As usual, the festival will feature 31 food vendors at International Food Row. We'll see you there.