OSU Institute of Technology School of Culinary Arts students will cook alongside the award-winning chef, Jamie Bissonnete at the Tulsa Botanic Garden fundraiser, Botanical – ‘A Weekend of Culinary Wonder.’
This three-day fundraising event will begin Friday, April 26, at 6 p.m. with the Passport Dinner, a six-course tour through the cuisines of Spain and Portugal.
Saturday, April 27, at 7 p.m. Viva La Vida! will provide patrons with a progressive re-creation of the world-leading nightlife in the cities of Spain and Portugal with small plates matched with icons sherries, natural wines and progressive cocktails created and served from sommeliers and mixologists.
Sunday’s event, The Tasting, on April 28 will run from 1-4 p.m., will combine a Q&A with tasting.
Caleb Mohr, a student in the School of Culinary Arts will be alongside fellow classmate, Chellsi Payne as student leads for the weekend. Caleb is participating in this event for the second year in a row.
“I learned quite a bit from the chefs who visited from France last year, in fact, I’m using a technique they showed me in my International Cuisine Final!” said Mohr. “For this year's event, I'm looking forward to not only working with a new, highly regarded chef, but also being a student lead and having a bit more responsibility.”
As a lead student, Mohr has been working with Dean of the School of Culinary Arts, Gene Leiterman to coordinate with the Tulsa Botanic Gardens and their planners, as well as handling promoting the event to OSUIT culinary students. He also is handling the scheduling of the volunteers at the event. For the day of the event, once Chef Bissonnette arrives and prep has begun, he will be working closely with him and helping the student volunteers.
“This event provides a lot of different kinds of experience!” said Mohr. “First and foremost, this event represents a level of sophistication that we don't always get to experience at school, which is to say, whereas we focus on learning and mastering fundamentals and beginning our culinary journeys, the gala represents haute cuisine and shows our students what the leaders of our industry are doing and how our field is evolving.”
Mohr said this event also aids in cooking in large quantities. He remembers at last year's event having to chop 20 pounds of onions, finely chop 20 bushels of parsley, peeling 200 cloves of garlic and peeling 400 tomatoes.
“It's one thing to cook a perfect meal for four people, but making the same perfect meal for 150 people requires a different way of thinking and can be quite challenging.”
In addition to the experience, events like this with access to award-winning or well-known chefs provide opportunities for internships. Mohr has an opportunity to work with last year’s chef in France this summer for his internship.
For more information about this event or to purchase tickets visit https://tulsabotanic.org/?q=calendar-node-field-date/month.