Valentine leaves The George and other news to chew on
Four months after opening The George Prime Steakhouse, executive chef Josh Valentine has resigned and chef Chad Willis will step in to take over.
The George, which sits atop the historic Founders Tower, is owned by Kevin George, who says Valentine’s departure is completely amicable and simply a matter of Valentine being presented with opportunities to good to pass up.
Valentine agreed, saying he enjoyed his time at The George, which dates back to spring of 2013, more than a year before the star-crossed opening. Valentine spent the better part of a year developing the menu with George, developing a wine list and hiring a top-notch kitchen staff. When he hired Willis as his second-in-command, he told me it was done so that The George would be left in good hands when the time came for him to move. That time has come.
Valentine is on the verge of an extended stage in the kitchen of chef Dominique Crenn’s Atelier Crenn in San Francisco. He said he’s not ready to announce his next move, but did say the new project should be up and running some time next year.
I had a spectacular dinner at The George just last week. The dry-aged prime beef was perfectly cooked, the appetizers and sides showed a brilliant level of technical precision and Shelby Sieg’s desserts were works of toe-curlingly delicious art. I don’t expect any drop-off from the kitchen.
On the other hand, I’m thrilled for Josh getting a new opportunity. If it were the rebirth of The Divine Swine, or something like it, that would be one more great restaurant to us all to enjoy.
Bidding for open judge’s slot remains open for cooking competition
The Tree Bank Foundation will host a Tree to Table Benefit at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28 inside the OKC Farmers Public Market building. This cooking competition challenges local chefs and caterers to create a dish that highlights ingredients from trees. Although other ingredients may be used, the dishes should celebrate ingredients like olives, avocados, apples, peaches, cinnamon and chocolate.
A VIP reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. Attendees will sample all of the dishes and vote for their favorite. A judging panel also will taste each dish to select the Best Savory Dish, Best Sweet Dish and Tree to Table Champion. Winners will get cash prizes.
Competitors will include Cally Johnson of Green Goodies; Barbara Mock of Kam's Kookery; Melissa Scaramucci of Local; Henry Boudreaux of Museum Cafe; Ryan Parrott and John Madore of Picasso Cafe; and Kevin Lee of Vast to name a a few. That’s because the competition remains open until Oct. 7. Chefs, go here to sign up.
The judging panel is led by chef and Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli, who stars on "Chopped," competed on "Iron Chef America" and won Season Five of "The Next Iron Chef." The second judge is yours truly. The third judge could be YOU!
The final judge’s position is up for auction, go here to make a bid. Bidding is currently at $250. New bids must increase by at least $10. Bidding closes at 5 p.m. Oct. 7.
Tickets to the benefit can be purchased at TheTreeBank.org. For more information, call 630-9152.
This fundraiser benefits an Oklahoma Orchard at the Salvation Army's new Center of Hope facility at NW 10 and Pennsylvania.
Charcuterie Jam returns to Francis Tuttle
Serious chefs and home-cooks will have an opportunity to learn the art of charcuterie from some of the world’s greatest practitioners on October 23 and 24 at the Francis Tuttle School of Culinary Arts.
This year’s Charcuterie Jam Session is a two-day course with with French charcutier Dominique Chapolard, chef Craig Diehl, and teacher Kate Hill. Beginning with whole carcass butchery for charcuterie, and finishing with completed products, instructors will walk students through the thought processes, approaches, and techniques.
Cost for the 12 hour, two-day event is $1,000 per person and can be paid by calling 717-4731.
Outstanding in the Field returns
As I mentioned in today’s R&J Lounge and Supper Club story, Outstanding in the Field returns next week. The table-to-farm dining event is October 9 at Wichita Buffalo Company at Sandy Springs Farms. Hosted by James and Sandy Stepp at their Hinton ranch, guest chefs for the event at are Ludivine and R&J chef/partners Jonathon Stranger and Russ Johnson.
For more details and ticket info, go here. This is a one-of-a-kind event, and if I was going to be in town I would absolutely be there. I went out last year and was blown away by the setting. If you’ve never rented a limo for a roadie, this is the time to do it. Check out the photos from last year’s event here.