Chef Ben Alexander brings passion for local foods to Cowboy Chef's Table

Chef Ben Alexander brings passion for local foods to Cowboy Chef's Table

Sara Plummer
Chef Ben Alexander brings passion for local foods to Cowboy Chef's Table

Chef Ben Alexander, executive chef of downtown Tulsa’s The Tavern restaurant, is bringing his local-first approach to cooking to the next Cowboy Chef’s Table on April 10.

“I’m very excited to be a part of the Cowboy Chef’s Table series. I am also very honored to help the next wave of culinary talent meet their dreams of being part of the hospitality industry,” said Alexander.

The fifth luncheon in the Cowboy Chef’s Table series is Tuesday, April 10, at noon in the State Room on the OSUIT campus, 1801 East 4th St., in Okmulgee.

First, guest chefs spend the morning with students teaching them how to prepare the menu’s dishes.

“I love learning new ideas and techniques as well as lending all of my knowledge that I have gained in my 20 years of being in the industry,” he said. “I have many more things I want to learn in my career so I can then pass down that knowledge to someone else.”

At noon, Alexander will present a cooking demonstration of that day’s featured menu to guests in the State Room and will talk about his career and culinary style.

Tickets to the luncheon are $15 with proceeds going to the Cowboy Chef’s Table Scholarship Fund for OSUIT culinary students. U.S. Foods and Ben E. Keith are donating the food for the luncheons, and U.S. Foods has already donated $500 to the scholarship fund.

School of Culinary Arts Dean Gene Leiterman said he wanted to have an event that would benefit students and bring renowned chefs as well as guests from the surrounding area and potential students to the OSUIT campus.

“Chef Alexander has a great story and a wonderful passion for food and life. I am so excited to see him interact with the culinary students. His enthusiasm is so infectious and will be fun to watch,” Leiterman said.

Born in South Korea, Alexander said he started cooking when he was living in Arizona and his only formal training came while he was attending a technical school during his senior year of high school.

Two years later, his mentor and former teacher hired him as his sous chef. He’s worked as a chef at Tulsa’s Sisserou’s and Wolfgang Puck Bistro before moving on as executive chef at The Tavern.

On the menu for the upcoming luncheon is Ahi tuna poke as an appetizer, then an entrée of pan seared trout with a carrot and ginger puree and a yuzu and basil vin.

“My culinary style is fresh ingredients. Make it taste great, make it interesting but familiar, and make it look appealing,” Alexander said. “I also advocate for our local farms and farmers. It is very important to me that our community really know that we can support local farmers raising or growing their product in humane and natural ways.”

Alexander is the fifth guest chef in the luncheon series with one more presentation scheduled this summer.

The four previous Cowboy Chef’s Table luncheons have raised close to $15,000 for the scholarship fund with the goal of awarding scholarships from that fund in the fall semester.

“The Cowboy Chef’s Table series has exceeded our expectations and we are beginning plans for next year,” Leiterman said. “The chefs have been impressed with the abilities of the students and are happy to work with them, give advice, and set them up for internship opportunities. The hope is to send these first six chefs out as ambassadors for the school and share with others about their positive experience with the luncheon series and the school.”

For more information or to reserve your seat to the Cowboy Chef’s Table luncheon, go to osuit.edu/chefstable.