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Rick Bayless confirmed as guest chef in October

Dave Cathey, The Oklahoman’s Food Dude, shares news and insights from Oklahoma City’s growing culinary community.
by Dave Cathey Published: July 2, 2014

We begin this month’s column dedicated to tidbits of information from the local dining scene with an event so big that it warrants lead status despite a dearth of details.

World-renowned chef and Oklahoma City native Rick Bayless is joining the fall roster of guest chefs at District 21 this year. The host of public television’s “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” champion of “Top Chef All-Stars” and author of enough cookbooks to fill a small library will lead culinary students through the paces at the Francis Tuttle School of Culinary Arts’ District 21 for a special dinner service Oct. 24. But right now, that’s all I can tell you. Tickets are not yet available as school is currently out. The good news is, you can now circle the date on your calendar and circle my column, which will have that information as soon as it’s available. Stay tuned!

Go West for adventure

Chef Eric Smith is a busy dude, but not too busy to prepare a custom-made meal for you and your friends and family at his primary base of culinary operations.

Smith, a graduate of The Coach House Apprenticeship Program, is founder of Sara Sara Cupcakes, for which he appeared on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” last year.

Tuesday through Saturday, you’ll find him manning the stove at Rick and David Haynes’ West, 6714 N Western Ave., where he is executive chef. Smith joined the Haynes brothers in 2009 to initiate the menu at West. Five years later, he’s developed a little something beyond the menu with Chef’s Dinners.

“This is something I started doing for some guys who come in regularly and just said, ‘Make us six courses, or five courses,” Smith said. “So I decided to expand on it.”

The concept is simple: Make a reservation at West for a Chef’s Dinner. When you arrive, let Eric how many courses you’d like to do then reveal any food allergies or phobias you might harbor. Then sit back and enjoy a cocktail and wine program developed just for your dinner, and enjoy dinner as theater.

For me, Smith did a six-course meal starting with Tuna Tartare in sesame oil and ending with a West “Crunch” bar. In between was a brilliant watermelon salad, a whimsical play on lox, a robust interpretation on veal and the best play on creme brulee I’ve had in a long time — mainly because it involved a frozen goat cheese custard.

Be sure to watch the video produced by my dining partner for the meal, Greg Singleton, on

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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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