First State Wine Forum Comes to OSU

The state’s first wine forum comes to Oklahoma State University’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration this spring.
The forum, which will offer wine enthusiasts and professionals educational seminars, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations and vintner dinners, will be April 3-4 on the Stillwater campus.
Funds raised from the wine forum will provide scholarships for students in OSU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration.
Keynote speaker Tim Hanni is one of only two resident Americans to successfully complete a formal examination to earn the title “Master of Wine.” He also holds the title of “Certified Wine Educator” from the Society of Wine Educators and is a professionally trained chef. Hanni has been involved with a variety of wine and food related businesses, education and research for over thirty-five years.
He will present “Vines to Wines” Friday, April 3, at 1 p.m. in the OSU Student Union Little Theater and “Why You Like What You Like” Saturday, April 4, at 12:30 p.m. in the same location.
Nationally known wine educators G.M. “Pooch” Pucilowski and Christi Dufault will join VanDuzer Vineyard winemaker Jim Kakacek and OSU professors Bob Miller and Eric Stafne as presenters in educational seminars.
Kurt Fleischfresser, proprietor chef of The Coach House in Oklahoma City, and Robert Merrifield, proprietor chef of Tulsa’s Polo Grill, will share their expertise on wine pairing during cooking demonstrations both days.
Vintners and chefs will come together April 3 for the Grand Tasting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the courtyard of the College of Human Environmental Sciences.
Master Chef Alain Sailhac, executive director of the French Culinary Institute in New York City, will be the celebrity chef for the Gala Patron Dinner and live auction at the forum’s conclusion Saturday evening in the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center. Author Michael Wallis will emcee the evening’s activities and auctioneer Jay Litchfield will donate his services for the live auction.
Dr. Steve and Sue Gerkin of Tulsa serve as the co-chairs for the event. David Egan and Brian Hester serve on the executive committee as chef and vintner chairs. School of Hotel and Restaurant Clinical Instructor Phillipe Garmy is the Wine Forum director. Susan Anderson, events manager, will direct hotel and restaurant administration students in managing the various events for the forum.
Honorary co-chairs Marilynn and Carl Thomas, OSU alumni and owners of VanDuzer Vineyards, provided seed funding for the forum.
Grown-up Downtowns Have Street Vendors
There’s nothing quite like the taste of a piping hot, all-beef frank in the shadow of Tulsa’s new City Hall. At least, that’s what the downtown lunch crowd is about to find out.
Josh Lynch, a 15-year veteran of the food and restaurant business and owner of Tulsa-based hot dog vending company The Dog House, has increased his fleet from one to four hot dog carts for the dog days of summer. He plans to staff and position the carts throughout downtown to capture the business of hungry office dwellers.
Lynch got his start in the hot dog biz honestly enough: two years ago, his dad handed him a hot dog cart.
“I called the health department and got permitted with the city. Then, I started selling dogs,” he said. He acquired three more units along the way as fellow hot dog salesmen hung up their aprons and found work elsewhere.
For now, Lynch doesn’t cater to just lunchers looking for a hand-held meal. He follows the crowds to BOK Center events, Cain’s Ballroom, and the 18th and Boston district on the weekend nights.
Needless to say, a hot dog vendor doesn’t exactly keep bankers’ hours.
“On a typical Friday I’ll have a lunch catering job. Then I’ll go home, do more prep, go to Cain’s by 5 p.m. to set up for a show. Then I go to 18th and Boston, and I’m there until 3 in the morning.”
In his first year manning a hot dog cart, Lynch donned a variety of dressings himself, since he worked through the cold winter months.
“When the second winter came around, I said, ‘No thanks,’” he said, laughing.
Lynch is trying his hand at tossing pizzas at Joe Momma’s Pizza downtown while he puts the finishing touches on his expanded fleet of hot dog carts. He looks to be out and about soon after Easter.
Available at Lynch’s hotdog carts will be all-beef franks with all the trimmings, polish sausages and hot links, with offerings set to grow with the length of the summer days. Patrons spend $3-4 per dog, which weigh a quarter of a pound.
Beautiful Brands Signs The Crusty Croissant
Beautiful Brands International has added The Crusty Croissant, a Tulsa-based eatery that opened on Brookside last March, to its portfolio of restaurants marketed and franchised worldwide.
The agreement between Sean and Kristie Savage, owners of The Crusty Croissant, and heads of Beautiful Brands International Dave and Camille Rutkauskas will utilize BBI’s organizational and support system to market and franchise the brand on a national and global scale. The Crusty Croissant will be positioned as a fast-casual, bakery-caf√? concept, with a smaller footprint and a start-up cost BBI officials said is lower than many of its competitors.
BBI support will include product development, marketing, real estate, architecture, legal, franchise sales, and other aspects of franchise development.
A 20-year veteran of the restaurant business, Sean Savage created a French-influenced menu at The Crusty Croissant that includes croissants, crepes and quiches, along with pasta dishes. Also on the menu are salads, a variety of coffee and tea and a pastry case filled with desserts.
The Crusty Croissant is now one of six concepts privately held by Beautiful Brands International: Camille’s Sidewalk Caf√?, Coney Beach, Rex’s Chicken, FreshBerry Frozen Yogurt Caf√?, and Dixie Cream Donuts.

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