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Food and Drink Features
 

Operation drumstick


’Tis the season for metro restaurateurs to work with area nonprofits to ensure the needy enjoy traditional holiday meals.

Greg Horton December 7th, 2011

The founders call it Turkey Tango. Every Thanksgiving, participating restaurants partner with the City Rescue Mission to provide Thanksgiving dinner for up to 800 of its clients.

The idea began in 2008 when Claude Rappaport, owner of Culinary Kitchen, 7302 N. Western, wanted to put his store’s demo TurboChef oven to good use.

Rappaport spoke with Clayton Bahr, a wine representative for Putnam Wines.

“Claude realized he could cook a large turkey in less than an hour,” Bahr said. “We wanted to make as many as we could, so we contacted the City Rescue Mission to see how we could help.”

Vince Howard, then chef at Bolero, 200 Oklahoma Ave., and now at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, was the third to sign on.

“Vince made mashed potatoes and we cooked turkeys,” Bahr said.

That first year, the team made 60 turkeys and mashed potatoes for the mission. Turkey Tango has grown every year since, and this year, a team of six metro restaurants made 120 turkeys for the mission’s clientele, plus cranberry relish, sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and rolls.

right, Clayton Bahr at Culinary Kitchen

Desserts were provided by churches and civic organizations that sponsored tables. Teamwork is critical for the Thanksgiving dinner, because the mission typically doubles or triples the number of people at a weekday lunch service.

Bruce Rinehart of Rococo Restaurant & Fine Wine, 2824 N. Penn, has participated since 2009 by making sweet potatoes.

“Clayton approached us early on and asked us to help out,” Rinehart said. “For us, it was a no-brainer.

We’re always looking for ways to help the community. This year, chef Don Duncan actually got to go down to the mission and help out more hands-on.”

Bahr said Turkey Tango’s goal is making it possible for the City Rescue Mission to be free from the task of Thanksgiving cooking. Plus, he said it gives local food-service organizations and individuals a chance to give back.

“We don’t serve them frozen turkeys and powdered potatoes,” Bahr said. “They have food prepared by some of the city’s best chefs, and they are served at their tables by volunteers who help create a restaurant setting.”

Rococo, The Coach House, Ranch Steakhouse, Deep Fork Grill, Paseo Grill and Wedge Pizzeria helped create this year’s meal.

STUFFING TO MISTLETOE
Ryan Parrott, partner of Iguana Mexican Grill, 9 N.W. Ninth, has been helping get Thanksgiving meals to families for five years. As part of his work with Other Options, an Oklahoma City nonprofit that serves families and at-risk individuals affected by HIV/AIDS, he and his staff partner with 60 volunteers to prepare 450 meals for shut-ins and others affected by HIV/AIDS.

“Aside from knowing you’re doing a good thing, it also makes you feel good to help,” Parrott said. “It’s a small sacrifice for me.”

As the season now moves toward Christmas, other businesses will be getting involved in philanthropy. Bin 73, 7312 N. Western, began its toy drive this month. Donations of new toys can be dropped by the bar.

In addition to food service organizations, volunteers can get involved with homeless shelters, toy drives, food pantries and senior centers.

Oklahoma-based ministries and homeless services like Feed the Children, Regional Food Bank, Grace Rescue Mission and City Rescue Mission all see increased demand for food, supplies, clothing and volunteers. National organizations like Toys for Tots (a U.S. Marine program) and Angel Tree (a national ministry that provides toys to children of inmates) serve as many needy families as donations allow.

Help for the holidays!
Feed the Children: 942-0228
Regional Food Bank: 972-1111
Grace Rescue Mission: 232-5756
City Rescue Mission: 232-2709
Feed the Children: 942-0228
Regional Food Bank: 972-1111
Grace Rescue Mission: 232-5756
City Rescue Mission: 232-2709

 
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