Some artists use paint and canvas as a medium. Others use clay or words as an outlet to showcase their creativity.
Chef Kurt Fleischfresser uses food, and if the menu is any indication, his Culinaire for a Cause banquet is shaping up to be a masterpiece.
“Culinaire” is a French word that means “the art of cooking.” Fleischfresser has spent more than 30 years perfecting his art, starting as a cafeteria cook at Oklahoma State University. He apprenticed for a renowned French chef, Bernard Cretier, and devoted himself to culinary training.
Fleischfresser is putting his experiences from the world of fine dining to good use. Culinaire for a Cause will raise funds for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
Attendees to the event pay for one extravagant meal, but their donations will help the food bank provide food to many more in need.
“I’ve worked with the food bank since I first came back to town in 1988,” said Fleischfresser. “We were motivated to try something exciting [for a fundraiser], and we came up with this 100-course dinner.”
That’s right: 100 courses, which will be prepared and served over 14 hours. The day is broken down into 10 dining settings, each with 10 courses and hand-selected wines. Each session accommodates 20 people, and $100 reserves a seat at the table.
Fleischfresser and his team already have begun preparations for the massive event, like readying the garnishes and seasonings. But that’s just the beginning.
“Most of the actual dishes have to be made á la minute,” said Fleischfresser. “Everything’s going to be made from scratch, which makes it challenging.”
To be able to pull off such a largescale feast — er, feat — the cooks and servers will operate in shifts, leapfrogging through the event so that no one has to work straight through the entire service.
“In the restaurant business, everyone’s used to working long hours,” said Fleischfresser. “But to put out 13 hours of food on-demand is a whole other thing. It’s a lot of focus, and if we lose that sometime early, it’s going to be hard to catch up as the day goes on.”
Although he knows it will be difficult, Fleischfresser said the challenge will make the experience all the more rewarding.
“Once we get in the groove, the fun will come,” he said. “And I really enjoy what I do.”