Food Briefs: Jonathon Stranger, Bedré chocolate, Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition

Food Briefs: Jonathon Stranger, Bedré chocolate, Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition
Garett Fisbeck
Jonathan Stranger at The R&J Lounge and Supper Club in Oklahoma City, Friday, March 6, 2015.

Stranger things

Chef Jonathon Stranger has left Ludivine, 805 N. Hudson Ave., and The R&J Lounge and Supper Club, 320 NW 10th St.

“I just wanted something different,” he said.

The decision was not made in haste, but there was a moment that crystallized the need for change. At 4:30 a.m. while caring for his teething son, Stranger realized it would be the only time the two would see each other that week.

Co-owning and cooking at Ludivine and The R&J while working to open a pair of new restaurants in Edmond meant he was spending too much time away from his family and too much time staring at Excel spreadsheets.

“I hate Excel,” he said.

The parting is amicable, and he remains friends with co-owner and chef Russ Johnson. He also leaves the business in good shape with the recent hire of former The Museum Cafe chef Henry Boudreaux, who Stranger said will continue the ethos that put the national foodie spotlight on Ludivine.

Stranger will now focus on his role as consulting chef of En Croûte, a small Nichols Hills bar, restaurant and cheese shop at 6460 Avondale Drive, which he hopes to open soon.

“It’s tiny,” he said. “There are 30 seats and a limited menu. We’re only doing a few things, but we’re doing them the best.”

Sweet partnership

Finding Oklahoma food gifts for the holidays just got easier with the announcement that Davis, Oklahoma-based Bedré Fine Chocolates is making its products available in multiple metro-area Crest Foods locations.

Bedré general manager Kay Colbert said in a media release that the chocolatier and the grocery chain both have strong Oklahoma roots and she thinks their relationship will be mutually beneficial.

“The partnership with Crest is ideal for us, and it comes at a time that happens to be one of the busiest for both of our brands as we enter the holiday season,” Colbert said.

Crest locations selling the chocolates are 10601 S. May Ave.; 2550 Mount Williams Drive in Norman; 2200 W. 15th St., Suite 124, in Edmond; and 249 N. Douglas Blvd. in Midwest City.

They join several metro Homeland stores and The Gourmet Gallery, 1532 S. Boulevard, in Edmond that sell Bedré products.


Palette cleanser

At this year’s Refreshing the Palette event, The Metro Wine Bar & Bistro paired 20 wines with 20 Oklahoma artists to raise $3,500, including funds for Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC).

The art show is run by the restaurant, 6418 N. Western Ave. The art sale benefits the artists and the coalition, said OVAC associate director Lauren Scarpello.

Artists received 70 percent of proceeds from pieces sold and the remaining 30 percent went to OVAC programming, including artist grants.

“We rarely receive grants,” Scarpello said. “Refreshing the Palette helps us fill in the financial gaps for some of our most important programs.”

Artists Marilyn Artus, Christie Owen, Suzanne Wallace Mears and William Struby reimagined wine labels to create original pieces for the show.

OVAC’s mission is to educate, bring recognition to art in Oklahoma through Art Focus magazine and help artists support themselves through their crafts.