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Recently
co-chaired: “The Evolve Local Food Challenge with Transition OKC and
with Marcy Roberts. The Contestants were 105 Degrees, Chef Kurt
Fleischfresser, Chef Kamala Gamble, The Prairie Gypsies, Chef Ryan
Parrott and The Wedge.”

Family: “Husband, Jim, children, Scott, 23, and Callie, 13.”

Most treasured possession: “My garden. Once you eat a salad that is just-picked, you don’t want to go back.”

Grow some of your own grub? “Right
now, I have onions, arugula and spinach; the taste is so different.
They are so tender; the freshest is the best … from my ‘garden of
eating.’”

People often say you look like: “Annie Lennox.”

Your best feature? “I am mouthy. I mouth off, but I am passionate.”

You
stay away from: “It’s rare that I would eat factory-farmed food, and we
need to take care of our wastewater system that has fertilizers, and is
filled with pesticides. We need to grow our own herbs and go organic
and need food that is humanely raised.”

In the next life, who would you like to come back as? “Alice Waters.”

Eat out: “Locally owned restaurants such as Ludivine and Coolgreens, and I love what VZD’s is doing with its bison burger.”

A
funny story? “I once planted potatoes that (the advertisement) said I
would get 100 pounds in a 3-footsquare area, and I made a lot of noise
about what my yield was going to be. I learned a lesson: There were four
potatoes and one was the size of a pea.”

CHEFS’ FEAST A HUGE SUCCESS

From Rodney W. Bivens, executive director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, came a generous thank you note to everyone for supporting its 24th annual Chefs’ Feast. The event, benefiting the Food for Kids backpack program, was recently staged at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

“You’ll be pleased to learn that the event raised more than $100,000 in net proceeds, which will allow us to provide 500 chronically hungry elementary children with a backpack filled with nutritious, kid-friendly food over weekends and holidays for an entire school year,” Bivens said.

In the note, he also shared a story from one of the Food for Kids school coordinators:

“We have a child who was referred by her teacher. The child and her sister live with their dad — their mom was killed a few years ago in a car accident. The dad does the best that he can, but barely makes ends meet. Since beginning the program, the girls are so excited to pick up the backpack each Friday. This bag gives them the food they need to be healthy and active on the weekends. This program has made such a difference in their well-being and has eliminated the food insecurity in their home.”

Participating restaurants for the 2011 celebration included 105 Degrees, Big Truck Tacos, Cafe 7, Casady School, Cheever’s Cafe, Cheever’s Catering and Events, Chef’s Requested Foods, Faculty House, Health Sciences Center of University of Oklahoma, Gage’s Steakhouse of Guthrie and Integris Southwest.

Also, Iron Starr Urban BBQ, McNeal’s Catering, Nonna’s Euro-American Ristorante & Bar, Pachinko Parlor, Platt College, Red Prime Steak, Republic Gastropub, Rococo, Sara Sara Cupcakes, Season’s Catering, Sodexo at Southern Nazarene University, The Coach House, The Mantel Wine Bar & Bistro, The Metro Wine Bar & Bistro, The Ranch Steakhouse, The Tasting Room, Trattoria Il Centro, Will Rogers Theatre, Waterford Marriott and West.

Working hard were Don Thiery from the Waterford Marriott and Christine Dowd of Trattoria il Centro and Aunt Pittypat’s Catering, who were the chef coordinators of the event.

A SAD GOODBYE

Certified executive chef Julio Cesar Gonzalez Sr., who was born in Mexico on Aug. 10, 1940, died on April 15 in Oklahoma City. Hahn Cook/Street & Draper handled the arrangements.

Gonzalez worked in the hospitality industry for many years and at one point had owned his own restaurant, La Villa Mexicana, a family-run restaurant. He was a baker, and among many places through the years he worked at the now-closed El Charrito and at the now-closed Tony’s Via Roma, where he was employed as a chef specializing in Italian cuisine for more than 30 years.

He was the youngest child of the Jose Gonzalez Castillo family that consisted of eight children. The former chef is survived by his wife of 46 years, Amparo Fuentes Gonzalez. He will be missed. —Carol Smaglinski

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