Chefs / Speakers
Francis Mallmann is the most famous and popular chef in South America. He has three restaurants: one in Mendoza, Argentina's wine country, another in the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires, and the third in the picturesque village of Garzon, Uruguay. USA Today and The Times of London have named his restaurants among the top ten places to eat in the world. He spends whatever free time he has in a remote cabin retreat in deep Patagonia where he cooks over live fire and writes and reads poetry.International chef Francis Mallmann Bound for wine forum
It has been said, "reading a Michael Wallis book is like dancing to a romantic ballad. He offers his hand and gently guides you across the floor, swaying to the song of the American West."
A best-selling author and award-winning reporter, Michael is a historian and biographer of the American West who also has gained international notoriety as a speaker and voice talent. In 2006 Michael’s distinctive voice was heard in CARS, an animated feature film from Pixar Studios, also featuring Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Owen Wilson, Michael Keaton, and George Carlin. Michael will be featured in CARS 2, a sequel to the original motion picture due for release in 2011.
A storyteller who likes nothing better than transporting audiences across time and space, Michael has published fifteen books, including Route 66: The Mother Road, the book credited with sparking the resurgence of interest in the highway. In 2007, Michael’s latest works, Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride and The Lincoln Highway: Coast to Coast from Times Square to the Golden Gate, were published by W.W. Norton. Michael’ biography of David Crockett, entitled David Crockett: The Lion of the West, will be published in the spring of 2011, and his seventeenth book, The Wild West 365, also will be published by Abrams this year.
Other Wallis books include The Real Wild West: The 101 Ranch and the Creation of the American West; Mankiller: A Chief and Her People; Way Down Yonder In The Indian Nation; and Pretty Boy: The Life and Times of Charles Arthur Floyd. His work has been published in hundreds of national and international magazines and newspapers, including Time, Life, People, Smithsonian, The New Yorker, and The New York Times
Michael has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize and was also a nominee for the National Book Award. He has won many other prestigious honors, such as the Will Rogers Spirit Award, the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall & Western Heritage Museum, the Oklahoma Book Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book, and the Best Western Non-fiction Award from the Western Writers of America.
Michael was inducted into the Writers Hall of Fame of America, the Oklahoma Professional Writer's Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame, the Tulsa Hall of Fame, and was the first inductee into the Oklahoma Route 66 Hall of Fame. He received the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book as well as the Lynn Riggs Award and the first John Steinbeck Award.
Since 1982, Michael and his wife, Suzanne Fitzgerald Wallis, have made their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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Dr. Michael M. Smith, Professor of Mexican and Latin American History, is the author of two books, The ‘Real Expedición Marítima de la Vacuna’ in New Spain and Guatemala and The Mexicans in Oklahoma, as well as dozens of scholarly articles and reviews treating such varied themes as Spanish colonial medicine, Mexican migration and settlement in the United States, United States-Mexican relations, and the Mexican secret intelligence and propaganda services. He received a B. A. in Spanish and an M. A in Inter-American Studies from Southern Illinois University (Carbondale) and a Ph.D. in Latin American History from Texas Christian University. He also studied at the Universidad de Guanajuato (Mexico) and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. A linguist as well as an historian, Dr. Smith has been an educator for nearly 50 years, the last forty as a member of Oklahoma State University’s Department of History. He has lectured throughout the United States, Mexico, and Spain and is presently writing a book on the Mexican Revolution.
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Dr. Steve Gerkin has been an adjunct professor teaching wine education in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration since 2007. As president of Twin Feathers Winery, LLC, a winemaking facilty, Steve is a former vineyard owner and proud farmer of Italian varietals. He is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators Sommelier designation by the Court of Master Sommeliers.
The retired Tulsa dentist is a columnist for Gastronome Magazine an international food and wine publication and a contributor to the Tulsa newspaper, This Land.
Steve is a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers Society of Wine Educators and a Société Mondiale du Vin educator. Steve is active in La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, International Food and Wine where he has served as Foundation chair since 2008, Vice Chancelier Délégué Académie Brillat-Savarin Honoraire, Chambellen Provincial Honoraire, Bailli Honoriare.
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Marilynn Thoma is a distinguished alumna of the College of Human Environmental Sciences. Along with her husband Carl, she is the proprietor of the Van Duzer Vineyards winery. Marilynn oversees Van Duzer’s marketing efforts including the development of wine labels, creation of printed materials and design of the website.
Located on a scenic hilltop in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Van Duzer’s sustainably farmed vineyards yield Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes which are then produced and bottled in its eco-friendly winery. The winery has been endorsed by internationally recognized LIVE (Low Impact Viticulture and Enology and Salmon Safe. Van Duzer wines are consistently recognized in competitions and reviews as among the top Pinots in the nation.
Recognizing the opportunity to partner with the School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration to extend knowledge of wine, Marilynn and Carl provided the seed gift to develop the first Wine Forum of Oklahoma in 2009. The couple also established the Marilynn Thoma Chair in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, and they were the original founders of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration’s Ranchers Club restaurant.
Named 2010 OSU Alumni Hall of Fame and the 2009 Philanthropist of the Year by Women for Oklahoma State University, Marilynn has been active on the boards of non-profit organizations in Chicago. She chaired the $13 million campaign to build the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier and serves as Vice Chair of the Chicago Humanities Festival. She also serves on the boards of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council .
A native Woodward, Okla., Marilynn graduated from OSU and continued her education by earning an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Her professional experience includes serving as Brand Manager at Quaker Oats where she over saw the marketing and advertising for Cap’n Crunch cereals and Aunt Jemima pancakes and syrup. Later, she became involved in the growing industry of cellular telephones as the Vice President of Marketing for Cellular Network and Proxy Communications.
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As the Proprietress of Napa Valley wineries Far Niente, Dolce, Nickel & Nickel and EnRoute in the Russian River Valley, Beth Nickel is involved in the wineries’ marketing and public relations programs, interior and landscape design projects, and she serves as a winery spokesperson at local and national events.
Born in Wisconsin and raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Beth grew up in the nursery business. She earned an Associate of Arts degree at St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee, OK, followed by a degree in marketing and retailing from Oklahoma State University. She pursued a career in the airline industry for several years after college. It was through her father, a forester and nurseryman, that she met Gil Nickel, a fellow Oklahoman who was involved in his family’s nursery business at the time. The Nickel family still owns Greenleaf Nursery, the second-largest family owned wholesale nursery in the United States. Gil, however, harbored a dream to establish a world-class winery, and it was this endeavor that finally brought Gil and Beth together.
Although Far Niente was founded in 1885, the winery’s modern era dates from 1979, when Gil and Beth rescued the long-abandoned stone winery in Oakville, and began restoration of the historic estate. It was their dream to establish a “Napa Valley Wine Estate” that would share the stage with the great wine estates of the world, and gain a reputation for excellence that would reach far beyond the borders of the Napa Valley. Like many highly regarded wineries of the world, Far Niente was created to last for generations.
When she’s not occupied with winery business, Beth avidly pursues the pleasures of the great outdoors. She makes regular visits to the many national parks of the United States, and enjoys camping, hiking, backpacking and cycling. A true student of world culture, she has visited many of the great international cities, and brings home antiques, vintage textiles, ceramics and other pieces reflective of the countries she has visited. She has always been a benefactor to children’s charities locally and abroad, and more recently, she has taken up the cause of fund-raising to support cancer research in honor of Gil, who lost a courageous battle with melanoma in the fall of 2003.
Today, Beth is joined by Dirk Hampson, Larry Maguire and Erik and Jeremy Nickel, who form the partnership charged with keeping vibrant the Far Niente mission she and Gil established so many years ago.
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Tiffany Poe has been sharing her love for food and cooking for more than a decade. Marked by passion and enthusiasm, Chef Poe has brought to life the fascinating topics of the culinary arts to hundreds of Oklahoma students. A native Oklahoman, she gives credit to her “wholesome” upbringing on the family farm for the fascination she now has with Oklahoma gastronomy. Her philosophy is simple: “Simple Ingredients + Classic Techniques = Fabulous Food and Fellowship”. Trained at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Chef Poe enjoys blending her experiences from working in the Hudson Valley of New York and the Biltmore Estate in Ashville North Carolina into the style of cuisine she shares with her students. She is currently a chef-instructor at The Culinary Institute at Platt College in Tulsa and also serves as an adjunct professor for Tulsa Community College. Tiffany and her husband Steven live in Tulsa, OK with their three small children.
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Assistant Professor and Viticulture Specialist, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, OSU Stafne teaches the Grape Management Short Course and heads the experimental grape vineyard at the OSU Perkins Station. He is also the national project leader for a new extension website, eviticulture.org.
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Guy Stout, Glazer’s Corporate Product Training Manager for Wine, is the only Master Sommelier in Texas and one of only 123 in the world, according to the Court of Master Sommeliers. The credential, earned through rigorous study and experience, is a mark of highest distinction within the wine industry.
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Guy previously held the rank of Advanced Sommelier, and has worked exceptionally hard to reach this highest level of recognition. His achievement brings further credence to the work being done by all of the Glazer’s training staff in making Glazer’s sales personnel the most knowledgeable in the country.
Guy has worked for Glazer’s for fifteen years and has played an invaluable role in helping create Glazer’s Beverage Academy program for wine education. He continues to work diligently to assist his fellow trainers, managers and salespeople to further their understanding and appreciation of wine.
He has been a guest lecturer at the University of Houston Hilton School for Hotel and Restaurant Management and a member of the Houston Food and Beverage Managers Association
Kurt FleischfresserThe Coach House, Oklahoma City
Chef Kurt has perfected his own brand of gracious and elegant dining. Under his experienced hand, The Coach House continues to offer ever-changing seasonal cuisine highlighting the best local produce and regional specialties, prepared with his
Kurt trained in the suburbs of Chicago under Bernard Cretier. He did his journeyman work in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Dallas; moving back to Oklahoma in 1988 to be involved with opening and operating several restaurants in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
In 2008 Kurt became partners with Carl Milam and they combined forces in Western Concepts Restaurant Group which include The Coach House, Sushi Neko, Musashi's, The Lobby Bar, Will Rogers Theater and the most recent addition: The Tasting Room at Will Rogers Theater. Kurt is also partners in Irma's Burger Shack. He travels the world representing food from the Southern United States and has been a participant in Disney World's Food and Wine Festival for the last 4 years.
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Born and raised in Tulsa David Egan’s first stop after high school was St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee; he later graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant Management. He has operated restaurants in Stillwater and Oklahoma City for over 36 years. Under David Egan’s direction and expertise at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, the restaurant has helped put Oklahoma City on the culinary map of America. Cattlemen’s was listed in the best-selling book “1,000 Places to See before You Die,” as a “must see” place to visit. Celebrity culinary writers Jane and Michael Stern described Cattlemen’s steaks as “magnificent to see, alone on its white crockery plate, higher in the center than around the rim, surrounded by a puddle of its own translucent juices seeping from within.” Cattlemen’s Steakhouse and David have also been featured in “Bon Appétit” and “Southern Living” culinary magazines and as a special feature on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” program.
David wears many hats, and these days one such hat would be that of a cowboy hat in his role as President of the Stockyards City Main Street Association. Put a chef’s white toque
on him, and you’ll find him serving up about the best steaks in the nation at the legendary Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, where he has been Director of Operations since 1990. Ever the restaurateur, David has also led the Oklahoma Restaurant Association and served as President of that prestigious group.
David and wife, Kathi have four daughters, Kristin, Jacque, Kayte and Kasey and two grandsons.
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Ian ClarkeDirector of Wine and Spirits for the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club
With a background in very interesting industries, Ian Clarke has certainly led a colorful career path. From working in radio doing voice-overs and playing DJ, developing and writing new shows for Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and VH1 (anyone remember Pop Up Video?) and professional acting in numerous OKC companies, Clarke, 35, finally found his passion in an industry completely off the scope of his former careers. In 2001, he began to focus his enthusiasm for fine wines into a lifelong service. His mark can be seen on several dining establishments in the city, from Cheever’s Café to Flip’s Wine Bar. Currently the Wine and Spirits Director for the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club, Clarke is a Certified Sommmelier.
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Marc DunhamDirector of Culinary Arts at Francis Tuttle Technology Center
Marc Dunham has a strong and diverse culinary background which allows him to show great versatility. His talents extend beyond the kitchen to include food science and nutrition, writing, project development, television, and internet personality. Marc’s passion is food, education, and operating successful businesses.
Marc discovered his passion and inclination for cooking when he was a young man washing dishes in a local restaurant in New Braunfels, Texas. It was that job that encouraged him to pursue greater responsibility and un-cover his true talent in the kitchen. After shoring up his on the job experience with a culinary degree from The Culinary Institute of America, Marc began moving his way up in the kitchen ranks in New York and Austin. In addition to developing himself professionally, Marc continued his education to complete a B.S. degree in Nutrition and Foods from Texas State University.
Marc focused his culinary talents and passion for training to become the Executive Chef for the public restaurants at Le Cordon Bleu Austin. Training culminated into teaching which elevated Marc’s talents to a new level. Marc now shares this knowledge and passion for teaching in an on-line cooking video series called Play with Your Food and on his blog, In My Kitchens. Marc’s work has been featured in Vegetarian Times, Restaurants and Institutions, Mise En Place, Oklahoma Today, The Oklahoman, Texas Family Magazine and many others. Marc served on the editorial advisory board for Texas Family Magazine and was an on-line blogger and frequent contributor to Metro Family Magazine. Most recently, you can see him on KSBI 52 on All About You with Kealey McIntire.
Marc’s hard work and talent led him to the James Beard House on July 15th, 2010 where he was the featured chef. Marc’s ability to use local products combined with precise technique creates food that is delicious, bold, and unique. His passion for history and creativity culminates into food that is a little bit old and a little bit new. This New Latin American Comfort approach is delicious, bold and inspiring to both cooks and diners. His persistent effort to satisfy diners and share his knowledge is his ultimate focus. Marc is currently the Director of Culinary Arts at Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City.
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Chef Curt Herrmann started his culinary journey at the age of 13. Working in a Upscale Chicago hotel to prep himself on his way to the Culinary Institute of America when he was seventeen. After graduation, he vowed never to work in any establishment that did not have 5 Mobile Stars and 5 Diamonds from AAA. After circulating many states in the U.S. he opened his own successful catering company. At the age of thirty he made the decision to "shoot" for the Stars and went to London to work under Michel Roux’s Michelin 3 Star Restaurant, Le Gavroche. Curt also spent 6 years as a private chef for Joanne Hearst, granddaughter of the late William Randolph Hearst by working in Seville Spain, Santiago, Chile, United States, and Portugal. Currently, he is Chef de Garde Manger for the Culinary Institute of Platt College in Tulsa Oklahoma.
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Tim Fitzgerald who is born to Greek and Irish heritage, has a 'love of both worlds' cooking and wine that is.
Apprenticing after high school to a rather disciplined Tuscan chef at a large seafood restaurant in Pittsburgh, Tim quickly learned that a sense of responsibility, integrity, and accomplishment was important in a chef. The summer was great learning, and it was off to the CIA -the Culinary Institute of America in New Haven, Connecticut for immersion into cooking. International cooking and the wine class were the real bell ringers. Not long thereafter he found a job working a Quality Wine Shop, 35, and he had to immerse himself in appelations, grape varieties, and quintessential sites.
He left CIA when it moved to Hyde Park for Michigan State to pursue his BA, and the first thing he did was a position at a wine and cheese shop where he stayed until graduation. Tastings, acquisitions, and selling portfolios consumed half his time, the studies the rest. He went back to CIA to finish his studies in international cooking and table service/wines.
From there, he spent the formative years working corporations, learning systems, controls, and getting promoted before he settled in steak houses. Later Tim found a calling in clubs, the most notable of which were Playboy Hotel and Resort in Great Gorge, New Jersey, Playboy Club Chicago, Tulsa's Southern Hills, and Summit Club. At that time, he began culinary and wine competitions where he amassed many medals of merit in plated entrees and buffet service, as well as regional finalist in Food and Wines From France, and later finished Associate Master Sommelier.
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Now Tim manages to maintain a 2000 square foot sustainable vegetable garden that adds inspiration to his business and personal dinners, as does his Hasty Bake, which burns constantly in his production of smoked meats and fish.
In his 'free time', Tim visits wine regions of the world that feature ribs and Zinfandel.
Italo JofreInternational Wine Ambassador, Concha y Toro
Italo Jofre is ideally suited to his new role as roving Wine Ambassador for Chile's
prestigious Concha y Toro estates. Italo brings with him over a decade's worth of
winemaking experience that ranges from California to Chile.
In his most recent capacity Italo proved himself an effective and engaging spokesperson
for Viñedos Emiliana. There he had the opportunity to work alongside some of
South America's most acclaimed winemakers, notably the famed consulting enologist,
At Emiliana his role entailed frequent trips to Europe, Asia and increasingly the US,
where he conducted wine dinners and educational seminars in almost every state. He
has been a popular guest speaker at many top venues including the American Wine
Society and the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. He has also been interviewed on TV
and radio shows in the US and Chile.
Italo's passion for wine, friendly, outgoing personality and excellent communications
skills soon brought him to the attention of Concha y Toro. His wide-ranging experience
dovetails perfectly into Concha y Toro's diverse portfolio, which ranges from Casillero
del Diablo, sold in more countries worldwide than any other wine, to Don Melchor,
Chile's most celebrated Cabernet Sauvignon, to the cutting edge Maycas line from
the emerging region of Limari.
Italo does not hail from a winemaking family. His interest in wine was sparked while
taking wine classes in the pursuit of a degree in Agricultural Engineering from Chile's
prestigious Catholic University. From there he went to Tulsa College, Oklahoma, to
perfect his English before moving to California where he continued his wine education
and gained his fi rst hands-on winemaking experience.
In his new role, Italo will focus his attentions on developing a greater awareness of
Chilean wines and wine regions, and in particular of Concha y Toro's rich and diverse
Reserve wine collection.
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Master Sommelier, Certified Wine Educator, Diploma of Wine and Spirits (AIWS)
Randa Warren has been involved in the wine business for over 12 years. She began home study WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust in England) wine courses through the International Wine Center in New York in 1998 and completed the final WSET Diploma program in 2001. During this period, Randa also embarked on a rigorous journey with the Court of Master Sommeliers, gaining her Advanced Sommelier title in 2000 on her first attempt in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the spring of 2001, Randa gained the distinguished title of Certified Wine Educator through the Society of Wine Educators in the United States. There are less than 150 people that have gained access to this prestigious title.
This was the beginning of an adventurous career path that would lead Randa to becoming the 16th female Master Sommelier in the world in the Spring of 2007. Currently, there are only 204 Master Sommeliers worldwide, 14 whom are women.
Randa has written a local wine article for over ten years for Tulsa People, a monthly publication in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She conducts private seminars and classes for financial institutes, business organizations, country clubs, resorts and private wine collectors around the country. She also conducts monthly wine classes for many local Tulsa residents. Ms. Warren currently assists the Court of Master Sommeliers in teaching their Introductory and Certified Sommelier exams around the country.
Warren has been a member of the Confrerie du Tastevin in Burgundy for over 10 years.
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Ridge WatsonWinemaker & General Manager of Joullian Vineyards
Ridge Watson has realized a life-long dream with the creation of Joullian Vineyards and winery perched at 1400 feet in elevation in the mountains of Carmel Valley.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Watson matriculated at Stanford University (BA History, 1968) where he studied the wines of the world under the tutelage of famed wine merchant, Dick Russ. He then spent 3 1/2 years in the Peace Corps working for the National Potable Water Project in Thailand, where he met his Australian-educated wife, native to Thailand. The two were married in Carmel Valley in 1972--nearly 10 years before Watson would return to undertake the Joullian project.
After a five-year career as a San Francisco Bay Area wine merchant, Watson obtained his Masters Degree in Food Sciences with emphasis in Enology at CSU Fresno. He then apprenticed in Bordeaux, France (Ch. Carbonnieux) and Australia (Hungerford Hill, Cimicky Winery) prior to joining the Joullian and Sias families of Oklahoma City in 1981 to develop the Joullian Estate and its award-winning wines from the "terroir to the bottle."
Pursuing complexity in the wines, Watson planted a variety of clones from reputed wineries such as Sterling -Calistoga and Musquet Sauvignon Blanc, Diamond Mountain Cabernet Franc, Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon and Lytton Springs and the certified Bioletti Zinfandel clones.
In 1990, Watson oversaw the creation of Joullian Vineyards' winery, integrating California's latest technology to minimize labor and maximize control while allowing the winemaker to employ both Burgundian and Bordelaise fermentation regimes, as well as a wide range of barrel aging, temperature and humidity choices.
Watson views his job with Joullian much like a regisseur in the French wine industry..with responsibilities ranging from land and vineyard management to winemaking, blending and creating new products, and assisting the marketing of the wines, as the ultimate ambassador of Joullian Vineyards. Under his watchful eye, Joullian Vineyards specializes in estate-produced Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel and Monterey appellation Chardonnay. Joullian wines are available for tasting and sales at Joullian's Village Tasting Room in Carmel Valley Village.
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Since childhood, David Henry has had a true love for the culinary arts.
After cooking at various restaurants in Oklahoma City, Chef Henry truly began his culinary career with Alain and Michelle Buthion of La Baguette, where he was introduced to country French cooking.
After six years of working with the Buthion brothers, Alain introduced Chef Henry to Chef Kurt Fleischfresser of The Coach House in 2004. Shortly after, he started his apprenticeship with The Coach House and graduated in 2007.
Chef David Henry then became Chef Kurt Fleischfresser’s executive Sous Chef and started his journey with Western Concepts Restaurant Group where he is now the executive chef of The Lobby Bar and The Tasting Room.
Since 2007, Chef Henry has accompanied Chef Fleischfresser annually to Disney World for the Oklahoma Centennial for the Food and Wine festival at Epcot. For the past four years, he has been a judge for the Pro Start and partakes in the annual Odyssey de Culinaire.
Chef Henry has had the honor of cooking for former President George W. Bush twice.
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Jason Hisaw, Advanced Sommelier at Pappas Bros Steakhouse. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Jason has been in Texas since 2007. He is a graduate of University of Nevada Las Vegas and began his career at Eiffel Tower Restaurant at the Paris Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Jason has participated in The Best Sommelier In Texas Competition and Conference every year since 2007. Pappas Bros. Steakhouse promotes a wine list of over 35,000 bottles and 2,500 premium selections, and was named Best Steakhouse in Texas by Texas Monthly Magazine.
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Heather Buckmaster grew up on a wheat stocker operation in Western Oklahoma. She attended Oklahoma State University where she received a B.S. degree in Agriculture Economics. Following two years of service in the The Gambia, West Africa as a US Peace Corps volunteer, she returned to OSU for her M.S. in Agriculture Economics. Heather then spent seven and a half years as the Marketing Director for the Colorado Beef Council where she was responsible for advertising, producer communications, sports marketing, foodservice, and retail programs. In 2005, Heather moved home to take the position of Executive Director for the Oklahoma Beef Council. Heather believes she is truly fortunate every day to serve Oklahoma’s farming and ranching families and to work for an industry she loves.
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