OKGazette.com Blogs - Chow Chat http://www.okgazette.com/oklahoma/blogs-1-1-1-10.html <![CDATA[Gary Good]]>

For Gary Good of Guthrie, life is good. A former bandleader, Good owns Gary Good Entertainment & Speakers Bureau. An avid reader and careful with his health, Good is a producer and operates an events center out of his home.

Catch a show: “Concerts are presented at my place in Guthrie, The Magnolia Moon, formerly The Guthrie Amphitheater that turned into a home about 10 years ago. The project is called Guthrie Retreat, which includes The Magnolia Moon, The Magnolia Manor and Suite Bettie Jean (Bed & Breakfast).”

A nice happening recently: “Oklahoma opera singer Leona Mitchell came to sing at The Magnolia Moon.”

A famous person you look like: “My dad, Al Good, who was also a bandleader.”

Take a foreign exchange student to show-off Oklahoma: “Certainly to the Cowboy Hall of Fame and to my business, which I call The Guthrie Retreat, that I bought five years ago.”

Fun time at the B&B: “There are rooms where 10 to 12 people can stay with family reunions. Hey, people come for group meetings and women come for a girls' getaway.”

Family: “Daughters Margo and Andrea.”

Reboot each day: “I meditate, stretch, read in the mornings and do yoga. I like to run and play golf.”

Song that describes you: Secret of Life by James Taylor.”

Where would you like to go incognito: “The White House, a movie set or to the Academy Awards.”

Your “pinch-me” moment: “I went to a songwriter’s event with Paul Williams and saw several famous songwriters there. Another time on New Year’s Eve of 1999, I produced a Natalie Cole show in Scottsdale and at the party, I stood next to Tiger Woods.”

You love: “Salmon and I cook a mean salad.”

Never eat: “Brains.”

Favorite dining spots: “Gage’s in Guthrie, The Metro, Khazana and Thai Delight in Edmond.”

Nobody knows: “I am a closet comedian.”

Die and come back as: “Myself. And I try this all again.”

<![CDATA[Jerry Logan]]>

Jerry Logan, along with his wife, Jo, own and operate Honey Hill Farms located in Edmond.

The couple claims three sons, Mark, Barry and Chris, along with zillions of bees.

You have been: “Oklahoma Beekeeper of the Year in 2003 and President of the OK State Beekeepers' Association from 2004-2006.”

Former career before beekeeping: “A teacher at Millwood School.”

We can purchase your products at: “Stores mostly in OKC, but at four grocery stores in Edmond, two health food stores, two gourmet shops, feed supply houses and five different health food stores in Oklahoma City.”

What makes your regional honey so good: “I don’t know; I don’t have a thing to do with it. It’s what the bees collect.”

A famous person you kinda look like: “Gomer Pyle [of The Andy Griffith Show].”

Cook: “I don’t cook; I’ve got four wheels.”

Essential tool in your own kitchen: “My can opener.”

You’d never eat: “Squash.”

But love: “Sweet potatoes with honey on it. I have honey every day, even on my cereal in the morning . It is so nutritious and is such a good replacement for sugar.”

Personal motto: “Do your best.”

People don’t know: “There is nothing. I am an open book. Jo and I, we will have been married 49 years on the 31st of May.”

You met your wife: “On a blind date in Duncan.”

Die and come back as: “Myself.”

Where you like to eat: “Coolgreens and LaBaguette. After a recent heart attack, I stay away from fast food.”

What happens outside that makes you happy: “I like to see the flowers blooming, because I like to see the bees sitting on them.”

A real disaster: “When you pick up a hive and it comes apart and the bees just cover you.”

Plus: “One time I was pumping honey and forgot about it for a few minutes. Well, it overflowed on everything and it was a sticky mess.”

Good advice for using honey: “You can put it on burns or cuts as bacteria will not live in honey. It is really healthy.”

<![CDATA[Quinn Carroll]]>

Quinn Carroll, 23, is a one of those talented, self-taught chefs who has worked in several venues, but is now happily settled. Carroll is currently the sous chef at Cheever’s Cafe, 2409 N. Hudson.

Worked as a chef: “Began making onion rings for Coit’s, then worked at Hideaway Pizza, moving on to Deep Fork, a brief stint at The Metro and then Red Prime for more than two years.”

Your immediate past: “I became a sous chef at the age of 20, and I have been with Good Egg Group for five years.”

Special recognition: “I recently received my second Hospitality Award for Culinary Excellence from the Oklahoma Restaurant Association.”

A culinary luminary you would love to meet: “Rick Bayless, from Oklahoma, because I love his twist on Mexican cooking.”

Thoughts on Oklahoma City: “I’ve seen how much it has advanced. I am proud of what our city has produced in the restaurant business.”

A splurge for you: “Would be a steak, but also game such as elk and foie gras.”

But you’d never eat: “Fast food.”

In your own restaurant, you’d serve: “Food with a Southwestern flair, and game dishes such as roasted duck breast.”

Imperative to you: “A chef’s knife.”

You look somewhat like: “Ben Folds Five or Aidan Quinn, the actor. Hey, my my name is Quinn and my brother’s is Aidan!”

Date night: “I am off on Friday nights, so we go out to a restaurant and to a movie.”

Your main squeeze: “She is a speech pathologist. We went to high school together.”

How do you reboot each day: “I have a strong passion for the business, and I am ready to be there because I want to be there. My inspiration comes from my dad, Jerry Carroll, and brother, Aidan, and chef Clay Falkner.”

Most difficult thing you have ever done: “As one of the chefs at Red Prime, I worked for a month and one-half without a day off — lots of stress — but it taught me so much.”

Fav cookbook: Larousse Gastronomique by Pierre Larousse.”

Funny happening: “Our prep guy was trying to gain muscle mass and needed protein shakes. Someone substituted flour for the protein power in his shakes, and he’s [was] drinking the gummy stuff, and we [were] all laying on the ground laughing.”

<![CDATA[Lee Bennett]]>

Currently executive chef at Iguana Mexican Grill at 9 N.W. 9th Street, Lee Bennett has cooked at Lucille’s in Mulhall, and the now-closed Trattoria il Centro, among others. Each working day, the Oklahoma-born chef can’t wait to get back into the Iguana kitchen and come up with more creative ideas.

Family: “I am single, with three children who are Vincent, 19, Allyssa, 18, and Kayla, 3.

Friends say you look like: “Kadeem Hardison or Denzel Washington.”

Food I would never eat: “Brains.”

But would kill for: “My mom’s, Anna Bennett, chicken soup and corn bread; comfort food.”

The moment you decided to become a chef: “I was in California and got a job at a country club as a dishwasher. When they shut down for a remodel, I spoke to the chef, and he worked me in and it’s been history ever since.”

Listen to music: “On Pandora, a rhythm and blues station. I love Earth, Wind and Fire and love jazz.”

Most people don’t know: “I was once a Boy Scout.”

Your hero: “My dad, Otis Bennett.”

Favorite kitchen gadget: “Our over-sized chopper. Actually, an over-sized food processor that can hold 20 pounds of beef that we can grind into hamburger.”

Culinary star you would love to meet: “Gordon Ramsey.”

You die and come back as: “Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder.”

A perfect date: “Dinner at Stella’s. For comfort food, Mama E’s.”

Dating tip: “Be a true gentleman and you will win her heart. Treat her like a queen.”

Smart thing you did to land a job: “I just put myself out there.”

Best advice from your boss: “Robert Painter forced me out of the kitchen to walk the floor and got me out of my comfort zone.”

Just love your: “Black leather trench coat that drops down about 6 to 8 inches above the floor.”

Hidden talent: “No, I only sing in the shower.”

What I wish I knew five years ago: “What Oklahoma City was going to be. I’d have put in a restaurant of my own.”

Funny kitchen happening: “[Year ago] to clean a deep fat fryer, I drained the fat, filled the fryer with water, added dishwashing soap and turned it on. About 15 minutes later, the whole room was filled with soapsuds with everybody laughing. I have a lot of funny happenings.”

<![CDATA[Sam R. Parrett]]>

Sam R. Parrett is soux chef at Republic Gastropub, 5830 N. Classen Blvd. The 29-year-old was trained at Sarasota County Technical Institute.

What is a sous chef: “I pretty much deal with day-to-day business, making sure the food comes out looking and tasting good. The executive chef is usually doing paper work upstairs dealing with scheduling, payroll and all of the numbers.”
Your best feature:
“I am a great-looking guy all around.”
What makes you a good friend:
“I am honest, which is not the nicest thing, but it gets the point across.”
Favorite indulgences:
“Good food, good drinks.”
Favorite restaurants you haunt:
“Ludivine, Red Prime and The Coach House.”
People don’t know:
“That I am a bit of a perfectionist.”
Necessary equipment:
“My hands and knives.”
Would like to someday live in:
“Washington State in the mountains.”
Fix me a:
“Jameson on the rocks.”
Preferences in a possible employee:
“Ambition, drive and punctuality.”
You’d love to meet:
“[The late] Escoffier and [Spanish chef] Ferran Adria.”
Inspired by: “My father, Sam Parrett, of Florida.”
First started your career:
“When I was 14, I rode my bike over to a restaurant, Pelican Alley in Sarasota, by the water and started as a dishwasher."
Best thing I did last year:
“Was moving out to Oklahoma and getting a job with Good Egg.”
Most difficult thing you ever did: “Wine pairing dinners — 12 different wines with 12 courses. Very difficult.”
Your own signature dish:
“I make a mean Osso Buco.”
On your day off:
“I walk my dog, Jasmine, and pick up stuff around the house.”
Listen to music on:
Quick tip for the amateur chef:
“Listen to every word the chef tells you.”
Die and come back as:
“George Washington.”
Funny happening in the kitchen:
“Giving a teaspoon of cinnamon to someone and watching them choke on it and blow it out of their nose.”

<![CDATA[Bill Wilson]]>

Bill Wilson is part-owner with his son, Billy, of Opus Prime Steakhouse at 800 W. Memorial. Opus is just one of two restaurants in Oklahoma City that serves the finest USDA Prime Steaks, which Wilson brings in from the stockyards in Chicago.

Your wine inventory: “We have 9,000 bottles of wine and 1,100 selections. All the wine is temperature and humidity controlled.”

Pets: “My dog, who is named Bacchus, after the god of wine.”

Every steakhouse should have: “A proper searing oven that gets up to 1,500 to 1,800 degrees and sears both sides of the steaks  with a little crust and yet keeps the juices in the steak.”

Best recent memory: “My son, Billy, and I went down to Ft. Lauderdale for the International Yacht Show. We got to play, visit some great steakhouses. It was a guys’ trip.”

Favorite junk food: “Pop-Tarts.”

Hometown and background: “Oklahoma City and am now a retired colonel in the U.S. Army.”

What do you wish you knew five years ago: “The price of oil.”

Dating tip: “Bring them to Opus.”

I’d kill for a: “USDA Prime bone-in filet.” 

But would never eat: “Foie gras (duck liver) or avocados. I don’t like the way they look!”

A famous person you somewhat resemble: “When I was younger, it was that guy on The Fugitive. Now I look like the one that got caught.”

Any superstitions? “I don’t walk under a ladder.”

In a future employee, you look for: “Attitude.”

Personal hero: “General Omar Bradley. I once had 10 minutes with him at Ft. Bliss.”

What keeps you awake e at 3 a.m.: “The restaurant business.”

The most difficult thing you’ve ever done? “Close Nik’s at the Top.”

Funny happening: “Nik’s at the Top was a restaurant in the round. People would set their purses and coats on the ledge (the part that stayed still while their seats and table would circle the room). Then they would say that someone stole their belongings.”

<![CDATA[David Ling]]>
In this highly competitive and demanding business of running a restaurant, David Ling uses his managerial skills to keep things rolling at Yukon Super Buffet. The 320-seat restaurant is located at 1105 Garth Brooks Blvd.  in Yukon where Ling happily greets customers who come to eat.

Been in the states: “More than 20 years.”
Number one dish:
“Used to be crab legs at $3.99 per pound, but now it is our salt and pepper shrimp that is already peeled, and next would be our honey-glazed chicken.”
Best sushi:
“That would be our California roll, that is most popular, and our rainbow roll.”
How long have you been in the hospitality business: “Six and one-half years, and I am the manager here, but I worked for other restaurants in Arkansas.”
Birthplace: “Malaysia.”
One thing people don’t know about you:
“I like to play sports, especially basketball, or bad mitten and swimming.”
Most important piece of equipment in your kitchen:
“The wok.”
Day-off duties:
“Mowing my yard and going out to eat.”
What is date night like for you and your wife:
“We like to try food from different countries such as Mexico or India and we both like Banana Island that serves food from Malaysia.”
And your wife is:
“Xuey. We met in Malaysia.”
What is your handyman style at home:
“It depends, if I can do it by myself, I’ll do it.”
Ideal vacation: “Going back home to Malaysia.”
Unusual food that I like:
Best feature: “My smile and I love people.”

<![CDATA[Peter Seay]]>

Peter Seay recently joined the Deep Fork Group as executive chef of Deep Fork at 5418 N. Western. He has had his own catering company, Ultimate Catering, since 1995 and sold his most popular Gabriella’s years ago.

“I decided to step away,” he said. But ... he is back!

What else did you do, since Gabriella’s: “I did some teaching at Platt College, Edmond Public Schools and was a consultant.”

What brought you back onto the restaurant scene: “I got the fire re-lit underneath me again. But, I really never stopped cooking.”

Any changes on the Deep Fork menu: “Just to streamline the menu and add new specials and features. I hope to offer something you can’t get anywhere else in the city.”

How many seats at Deep Fork: “More than 200.”

Your hometown: “Del City.”

Culinary studies include: “My apprenticeship with Chef Giovanni Scorco, where I trained in Santa Fe.”

What makes you a good friend: “I am honest and loyal.”

Marital state: “I am a single father with three daughters: Lillian, Ella and Ava.”

Best feature as a chef: “I am different; I think outside of the box.”

Famous person you might look like: “Bruce Willis.”

Favorite cuisine: “Latin American food.”

But you would never touch: “Liver.”

At what age did you decide to become a chef: “When I was 18.”

The reason was: “I love to eat.”

Great happening in college: “I was on the 1989 National Wresting championship team at the University of Central Oklahoma and we won nationals. I weighed about 177 pounds, now about 200.”

Play sports now: “Golf at Lincoln.”

Culinary luminary you would like to meet: “Escoffier.”

Quick tip for a beginner cook: “Check your measurements and read the directions twice before you start.”

Talent: “I play drums.”

Favorite restaurants: “I like to eat at little hole-in-the wall places.”

Handyman style: “I’m pretty handy.”

Ideal vacation: “The mountains, both summer and winter.”

Well liked movie: The Big Lebowski and the movie No Country for Old Men was filmed just five miles from where I once lived in New Mexico.”

Something funny: “I was on the line at the Pepperoni Grill and we wore paper chef hats. A friend working with me bent over to pick up something on the floor and his hat caught on fire!”

<![CDATA[Avis Scaramucci]]>

One could compare the restaurant business to show business. Every night is a new performance. For Avis Scaramucci, she has been “performing” most of her life. Catch her at her Nonna’s Euro-American Restaurant & Bar in Bricktown.

What you wished you knew five years ago: “The possibilities … and how the whole city has changed.”

Where would you take a foreign exchange student: “To our greenhouses where most of our produce and flowers are grown; to downtown Oklahoma City; to show them all of the different districts and, of course, to Bricktown, and then to my own home where I would cook for them.”

Nickname: “No, there is no nickname for Avis, but now I am 'Nonna' to my three grandchildren. 'Nonna' means grandmother in Italian, and Nonna’s was named after Phil’s [husband of Avis] grandmother.”

Famous look-alike: “Carol Channing.”

A favorite thing to do that does not cost money: “Just spending time with my family.”

Signature dishes at Nonna’s: “The special spaghetti recipe, which was from Phil’s grandmother — as best as we can remember it — and the Avis chocolate cake, which is the most requested dessert recipe.”

The most difficult thing you’ve ever done: “Starting up my own business in 1991. The second hardest is consistency in doing what you do well.”

Kill for: “Homemade ice cream — the real deal .”

Favorite kitchen equipment: “The emulsifier and good knives.”

Come back as: “Myself. I am enjoying my life. I have a degree in music education with an emphasis on voice, and I was homecoming queen at Altus High School. “

Funny happening: “When a group celebrating a birthday in Nonna’s hired an Elvis impersonator, but his equipment failed. He quickly gathered up his business cards and left.”

<![CDATA[Emma Ryan]]>

Emma Ryan is a pastry chef at the highly respected Matthew Kenney’s 105 Degrees, 5820 N. Classen Blvd., where nothing is cooked over 105 degrees. What a challenge for a pastry chef! Matthew Kenney is an author and chef known for his unique ways with vegetarian and raw cuisine.

Matthew Kenney is: “An author and chef known for his unique ways with vegetarian and raw cuisine.”

Where students at Matthew Kenney have come from: “Canada, Brazil, Sweden, Italy and Australia.”

Education of Emma Ryan: “I am a student at University of Central Oklahoma majoring in nutrition and business.”

Your position: “Pastry chef for Kenney and also a certified event and wedding planner.”

Can’t stay away from: “Instagram — where I go for recipes and exchange recipes. I am 100 percent vegan.”

Also: “Gluten-free by choice, not because I need to be.”

Famous person you would like to look like: “Jennifer Aniston.”

In your own restaurant, you would feature: “A vegan meatloaf and a massive kale salad.”

You would never eat: “Dairy or meat.”

But love: “Sweet potatoes.”

Nobody knows that you are: “A ballroom dancer.”

And they don’t know: “I was the ‘Best Smile’ in my yearbook in high school.”

Quick tip for a cook: “Read a cookbook!”

Have traveled to:  “I’ve been to London, Italy, Costa Rica and Scotland.”

Die and come back: “As a bird.”

Mom and Dad are: “Michael Ryan and Jill Ryan, and my dad is my best friend.”

Favorite date night: “I have never been on a date.”

Favorite trade magazine: “Veg News.”

Essential tool in your kitchen: “The Vita Mix.”

Nickname: “No, not really, but some people call me M.”

Best-liked movie: Stepbrothers.”

Splurge on: “Cookie dough.”

Best advice given to you by a former teacher: “Character is what you do when no one is looking.”

<![CDATA[Rehearsal dinner]]> Congrats! You're getting married! (Just play along.) Which local restaurant would you choose for your rehearsal dinner? We posed the question on Facebook recently, and received a deluge of responses:

“Iguana Mexican Grill” —Randal Marsh

“Ranch Steakhouse” —Sara C. Jacoby

“Night Trips” —Jeff Brown

“Red PrimeSteak” —Rachel Irick

“Cafe Do Brasil” —Angela M. Thomas

“The Metro or Red Prime” —Stephanie Riggs

“Hensley's Top Shelf Restaurant, but we are having ours on the Devon boats with Aunt Pittypat's catering!” —Robert C. Howell

“Charleston's” —Michael Riley

“Cheever's Cafe!” —Misty Wilson

“We are wanting to have ours at Iron Starr.” —Jenn Dietrich

“Nonna's” —Rachael Reed

“Big Truck Tacos did ours. It was fabulous.” —Krista Singleton Wulf

“We had ours at Irma's in Midtown.” —Allison Eubanks

“Crabtown!!!” —Risa Variale

“Cheever's!” —Christina Hughes

“My brother just got married last September and theirs was at Deep Fork Grill and they did an awesome job.” —Stephanie Moore

“We had ours at Crabtown and it was perfect!” —Amy Green Apt

“Rococo” —Nathan Aguilera

“Harvest” —Mark Sadler

“Local!” —Audrey Julian

“We had ours at Iron Starr, and it was great!” —Lisa Janssen Lloyd

“Yamato” —Russ Brown

“In the Raw Sushi!!” —Anna Mains

“We held ours (in 2008) at Iron Starr. The staff was terific, the venue was great, and the food was superb.” —Todd Fagin

“Stuffed Olive Cafe” —Tami Robb

“Paseo Grill” —Crystal Jane Young

“Zorba's” —Okie's Chicken & Grill

“The Ranch” —Bevan Graybill

"Spencer's Smokehouse and Barbacue” —Jene Cheek

"Cheever's” —Brandy Sitts

"Nonna's” —Beth Vrabel Ketchum

“Cheever's” —Sarah Graham Fitzpatrick

“Spencer's Smokehouse” —Richard Cheek

“The Ranch!!” —Nancy Nichols Piccolo

“Deep Fork!!!” —Pam Dabbs Cribbs

“In the Raw” —Angie Martin

“Rococo Restaurant & Fine Wine or Rococo Northpark so we could have Roccoco crab cake” —Kyle Golding

“Just got married in July and had Big Truck Tacos cater; it was fantastic!” —Anne Murray

“Deep Fork Grill! Can't go wrong — fantastic food and service every time!” —Stephanie Ruminer

"Nonna's!” —Alisha Davidson

"Charleston's in Edmond … yummy food and a great private room with no more than a reservation needed.” —Stephanie Campbell Joseph

"Definitely the Ranch” —Janie Skalovsky

"Deep Fork” —Melissa Haydon Milburn

"I was married in Louisiana, so that won't help … but I am an event planner and a lot of my couples choose Rococo, Deep Fork Grill or Kang's. Those are all wonderful places ...” —Christina Garcia

<![CDATA[Thai Tien]]>

The co-owner of The Grand House Asian Bistro, which has been in Oklahoma City since 1984, Thai Tien was born in Vietnam and is one of seven children.

Met your wife: “Kathy is from France, and I met her in Saigon. We were separated for five to six years and rejoined in Boston and then got married.”

A big event in 2011: “My wife, Kathy, and I opened another restaurant, 180 Meridian in Norman.”

Got a start in the restaurant business: “As a waiter, but we came to Oklahoma to open up a dim sum restaurant, and our first was at N.W. 24th and Classen. Now we are at 26th and Classen, where we also do weddings and catering.”

The Grand House: “Is known for its dim sum, every Saturday and Sunday.”

Music: “Yes, every Friday night.”

Best sellers: “Peking duck, pad thai and our fried jalapeño appetizer, and we just added this to the menu at 180.”

Anything you would not eat: “I eat everything.”

Quick tip for a server: “We have a list that they read over, but they know that the customer is always right. We do whatever they say.”

Favorite museum: “The Smithsonian.”

Famous customers: “Yes, professional athletes.”

What do you look for in potential employees
: “That they are reliable and have skills.”

Out to eat: “New restaurants and we eat out very often in every kind of restaurant from Indian to Italian. We like everything.”

Inspiration: “Comes from Chef John Bennett, my mentor.”

Recipes come from: “Everywhere, we learn from many.”

Where should tourists visit in Oklahoma: “Bricktown for a walk and to the Cowboy and Heritage Museum to buy some Indian souvenirs.”

Worst job: “I liked everything I did; every job was different and I learned.”

<![CDATA[Marcellus Hankins]]>

Marcellus Hankins, 50, is an actor, entertainer and composer who gives piano and voice lessons and does commercials. The Oklahoma-born Hankins has also taught school for more than three decades.

What do you wish you knew five years ago: “That when it comes to children, I still don’t know them. And after 29 years, they keep surprising me about their outlook on life; but they have optimism.”

Family: “My muse is my wife, Shelia, and our children are Rianna, 10, and Earria, 7.”

Met your wife: “At Oklahoma City University.”

Favorite date night: “Always out to dinner and then to Barnes and Noble where we look at books and have coffee.”

Your claim to fame: “In 2000, I was the National Milken Educator Award Winner (and was given $25,000).”

Famous look-alike: “Morgan Freeman.”

Die and come back as: “The president of OPEC, then I would control everything.”

Food I would never eat: “Asparagus.”

But I would love to have: “Prime rib, but I am allergic to the antibodies in the beef. But I love glazed doughnuts.”

Listen to: “Sirius XM radio; I am a jazz man and love Broadway musicals.”

Cook: “Love to grill out.”

Quick tip to amateur cooks: “Clean as you go.”

Hero: “Anyone who does something that helps someone else out and doesn’t ask anything in return.”

Action hero: “I am a Superman fan.”

Pet peeve:  “Stupid people. You can’t fix stupid.”

Would like to go incognito: “To a rehearsal of conductor John Williams to see how he puts his music together.”

Must-see museum: “I’ve been to the Louvre in France, but would love to go to the Smithsonian Institute some day.”

Best thing you did in 2011: “I was consistent in my teaching-wise and living-wise.”

Perfect happiness for you is: “I’ve known since I was 5 years old what I wanted to do and it was in the music and the arts; I just knew.”

<![CDATA[John Ederer]]>

Born: “In OKC. I found the bill from St. Anthony's from the nuns written in cursive for five days of care for the mother and child for $40.”

ck tip for an amateur cook: “Do all your cooking with gas rather than electric.”

Famous person you resemble: “John Belushi or Captain Kangaroo.”

Never eat: “Squash.”

But would kill for:
“A rare filet mignon.”

Special friend: “Lucy Cheatwood.”

Family: Seven children: Kurt, Kathy, Cord, Ashley, (the late) April, Jennifer and John Michael.”

Best feature: “I am always very positive about everything and the future, and I can always see the silver lining.”

Come back as: “Myself, but I would do some things differently.”

What you most admire in the opposite sex: “Someone who is probably down to earth; the opposite of being a phony.”

Another claim to fame: “I played football for Bud Wilkinson at the University of Oklahoma as a linebacker and offensive guard, and we won two national championships. I was part of the 47-game winning streak for the NCAA record, which will never happen again. “

Favorite restaurant: “Papa Dio’s for the manicotti.”

Worst job ever: “In college I had to put insulation underneath the floor at the hospital at Tinker. It was in the summer and there were spiders and puddles down there. Awful.”

Dating tip for a dude: “Use your real good manners and remember you have two ears and a mouth and listen.”

Worst goof in the kitchen: “Just before a Thanksgiving dinner, I leaned my butt up against a table that held a candle and my white sweatshirt got too close. Everyone yelled, 'You’re on fire!' I tried to cook myself.”


<![CDATA[Kamala Gamble]]>

Years ago, Chef Kamala Gamble was in the banking industry. She left that to own and operate Kam’s Kookery and Guilford Gardens. Her husband, Lance Cornman, owns Mid American Roofing and Construction and helps Gamble with her businesses, too.

Children: “Mason and Annabelle Cornman.”

You look like: “Haley Mills.”

Your best feature: “In cooking and catering, we can do anything.”

You take care of: “Gathering food from my gardens for 80 people this summer. We are not at any of the farmers markets this year.”

Food you would never eat: “Innards.”

But love: “Tomatoes.”

Your signature dish: “Panzanella salad with fresh summer vegetables.”

What is your personal motto: “Flavor. That’s what it is all about.”

Favorite thing to do: “I read everything.”

Imperative kitchen gadget: “My knife.”

Good memories: “I worked with (nationally-known Oklahoma chef) Rick Bayless doing TV shoots in his home in Chicago and other scenes on the side.”

Met Lance: “In a running group, and when we married at the Round Barn in Arcadia, I skipped down the aisle barefoot with my dad, Bill, and my grandfather, Bill, married us.”

Claim to fame: “Lance and I have run marathons in every state and the hardest one was in Alaska, which is the second hardest in the U.S.”

Favorite cookbook:The Joy of Cooking — it’s the bible of cooking.”
You reboot every day: “With my husband and children.”

Wildest catering job: “We were doing cedar-planked salmon and green beans for 200 and were promised a large space, but they gave us a tiny space. We needed four times the amount of grilling space. The mom of the bride was wonderful and went to 13 different Wal-Mart’s to purchase equipment for the wedding.”

Best advice you’ve ever received: “Just that 90 percent of what you worry about never happens.”

<![CDATA[Nancy Kitko]]>

Nancy Kitko, owner of Nancy’s 57th Street Lighthouse at 5708 N. May, grew up in Pennsylvania. Boss of more than 25 employees, she has regulars who stop by night after night.

What do you wish you knew five years ago: “How hard a bar was. I am a caterer first and do what people want me to do; but if a bar owner did that, they would go to jail.”

You look like: “Annie Potts, and years ago, like Melanie Griffith when I had long hair.”

Most difficult: “Owning a bar.”

A favorite thing to do: “Spend time with my family. My husband is Ray, and my children are Ryan, Allen and Jamie Lippoldt.”

Where did you meet Ray: “In a chat room on the Internet in the late '90s.”

Signature dish at Nancy’s: “Reuben sandwich.”

A nice recent happening: “After the Thunder beat the Spurs, I got up on the microphone and said, 'The Spurs’ losing streak starts now!'”

You would never eat: “Sushi.”

But love: “Anything with tomatoes.”

Fav cookbook of your collection of 250: “Betty Crocker, but now the Internet.”

Essential in the kitchen: “Good teamwork between workers.”

Hidden talent: “Played flute and basketball in college, but was horrible. I am a very good listener, and I can hear what you don’t say.”

Most unusual catering happening: “Surprised a bride and groom with Whataburger in the center of the table. That was what they really wanted instead of the eclectic menu. Anyone who was at that wedding 12 years ago still talks about it.”

Come back as: “Bette Midler.”

A song that describes your life: “'You Are My Sunshine.'”

Unusual catering request: “Food for 300 in two hours. We did it.”]]>
<![CDATA[Thunder games and food]]>

With the Oklahoma City Thunder ready for Game 1 of the NBA Finals (Go Thunder!!!), we recently posed this question on Facebook: To watch Thunder games on TV, to which local bar or restaurant do you go? And what do you order? We wanna know!

And the people spoke:

“Dan O'Brien's!!! Closest to being at the game ever. Atmosphere is awesome and food is incredible!!! Chicken nachos, mmmm!” —Ashley Osborn

“Twin Peaks. Its refreshing to sit in a non-smoking bar and come home not smelling like an ashtray. Don't Okies know that secondhand cigarette smoke kills!?” —Jeff Jonaitis

“”Belle Isle Brewery … upstairs. Great atmosphere.” —Tempie DeVaughn Farmer

“”Cousins Bar and Grill! And beer.” —Jason Champ

“”Home with Pizza Hut and Bud Light.” —Christina Rivas

"Pizza Hut. They have great food, inexpensive, and tons of TVs!” —Tana Libby

<![CDATA[Sarah Stinson]]>

Sarah Stinson

Delightful and funny, Sarah Stinson, 23, is a hostess at Nonna’s in Bricktown. Moving here from Grand Prairie, Texas, in 2003, her father was in the military. Her two pets, Lil’ Bit and Bella, are both smart dogs.

How you got your job: “My boyfriend and I were walking through Bricktown picking up applications. He got me one from Nonna’s; I filled it out and Nonna’s gave me a call, and I was my smiling sweet self for the interview, although they thought I was a bit overqualified.”

Future plans: “I want to climb the ladder. I am going into training soon to become a server.”

When you were laid off, it never crossed your mind: “That I would work in a restaurant.”

Real talent: “I am a painter and went to Oklahoma City Community College to study and have been painting since I could hold a pencil. I do cubism and realism.”

Kinda look like: “Kat Von D, but without the tattoos.”

Take an out-of-towner: “To Nonna’s, of course, and around Bricktown — that has so much to see.”

Won’t touch: “Mushrooms; I like the flavor, but not the slimy texture.”

Would kill for: “A hot fudge sundae.”

People don’t know that you are: “A closet gamer — it takes away the tension.”

Pet peeve: “People who chew with their mouths open.”

Come back as: “Myself."

Best thing you did in 2011: “Got a job.”

Silliest questions you’ve been asked as a hostess: “One man asked. ‘Does your elevator go down to the canal?’ And a lady called and wanted to celebrate her birthday at Nonna’s, but couldn’t believe that we didn’t serve cat fries. She said she just ‘slaps ‘em on the grill'.”

<![CDATA[American, Italian or Asian — oh, my!]]> We recently posed this to our Facebook readers:

American, Italian or Asian: Assume you had to choose between those cuisines. To which local restaurant would you head?

Bella Vista is great for Italian food!” —Michael Shoopman

Grand House.” —Joe Meinhart

Jana's in Norman: Thai and Italian.” —Gene Glaser

Spaghetti Warehouse in Bricktown.” —John O'Connor

My new fave: Charm, for Thai.” —Sara C. Jacoby

Bistro Lorene in Chickasha.” —Lorene Fite Wood

American: Cheever's. Italian: Vito's. Asian: Thai Kitchen Cafe downtown.” —Rot Job

You simply cannot beat that old American standby … Taco Bell.” —Adam Orendac

P.F. Chang's, Texas Road House, Olive Garden.” —Benjamin A. Pena

Pachinko Parlor for sushi!” —Bekki Liles

Papa Dio's.” —Suzanne Pennington Short

<![CDATA[Robin L. Obert]]>

The very accomplished Robin L. Obert is the executive chef at the Governor’s Mansion in Oklahoma City and has held that position for more than eight months. The former instructor at Platt College has a son, Sterling Sullivan.

The Governor’s favorite food:  “Gov. Mary Fallin likes light and healthy.”

What did you wish you knew five years ago: “Patience.”

Favorite indulgence: “A long, hot bath with a glass of wine.”

People say you remind them of: “Linda Ronstadt."

You would show off Oklahoma to a visitor at: “The Governor’s Mansion, of course, and then to Bricktown or to the airport where they could see all the people.”

Never eat: “Blowfish”

But would kill for: “Sweetbreads (the thymus gland of small animals).”

Most difficult thing you’ve done: “I have finished off my under graduate with Le Cordon Bleu (on-line out of Scottsdale, Ariz.) and made a perfect 4.0. An article was written about me that went to all of the Le Cordon Bleu’s.”

A real challenge: “I did all that while I was carrying two full-time jobs.”

If you owned your own restaurant, the food would be: “Light and healthy or normal, happy comfort foods.”

Quick tip for amateur cooks: “Have sharp knives and measure.”

Greatest extravagance: “When I travel, I always get the best hotel rooms. I stayed at the Ritz in Chicago where they even push the elevator button for you.”

People don’t know: “That I was on the rodeo team in high school and the first-ever girl captain of a boy’s swim team. I appear to be an extrovert, but am an introvert."

Die and come back: “As myself with a few tweaks; mostly in the Men Department.”

Inspired by:  “My parents, William and Lillian Obert.”

Fave trade magazine: “Wine Spectator.

Funny kitchen happening: “On an important dinner, I worked on a sauce reduction all day and then went outside and had trouble lighting the grill and took two minutes too long. Came back in and the sauce was burned and gone. I had to laugh. What else could you do?”