Special Event
Robert Merrifield
Host chef
Robert Merrifield
Ouida Merrifield
Host chef
Ouida Merrifield
Eric Carter
Eric Carter
Polo Grill
Tulsa, OK
Kurt Fleischfresser
Kurt Fleischfresser
Restaurant Resource Group
Oklahoma City, OK
Philippe Garmy
Philippe Garmy
Culinary Arts Program
Tri-County Technology Center
Bartlesville, OK
Bill Harris
Bill Harris
Thyme American Bistro
Tulsa, OK
Travis Jackson
Travis Jackson
Polo Grill
Tulsa, OK
Devin Levine
Devin Levine
Southern Hills Country Club
Tulsa, OK
Justin Thompson
Justin Thompson
Ciao, Baby
Tulsa, OK

Friends of James Beard Benefit
Tulsa, OK

Oklahoma Honors James Beard

Sunday, September 26, 7:00 pm
Members $115, guests $125

Event Location:
Polo Grill
2038 Utica Square

For reservations or more information, please call 918.744.4280 or go to www.pologrill.com.

Oklahoma, the site of dust bowls, bull frogs, corn as high as an elephant’s eye, fine dining...Fine dining? That’s right, fine dining. Under the steady hands of proprietor/chefs (not to mention husband and wife) Robert and Ouida Merrifield, Tulsa’s Polo Grill has put Oklahoma on the culinary map in indelible ink. “Tulsa is indeed fortunate to have a restaurant of this caliber,” wrote Carol Kealiher of the Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers. Polo Grill’s motto—“the difference between going out and going all out”—neatly sums up its owners’ philosophy on hospitality. And if you are going out on September 26, it would be a good idea to stop in at the restaurant, where the Merrifields and some of the area’s finest chefs will be paying homage to James Beard in a meal that is sure to make Tulsa proud.

Since opening in 1983, Polo Grill has attracted more attention than a tornado in December. “We take what’s old and make it new again,” Robert Merrifield told Margaret Hope of the Oklahoma Family, describing the restaurant’s fresh spin on traditional dishes. “We like to call what we do ‘retrofit cuisine.’” Kathleen Kelly of the Urban Tulsa Weekly liked to call it “exquisite,” a word that—as she wrote—“comes to mind at some point during the dining experience at Polo Grill. From beginning to end, it is one of the best in the city.” The editors at Wine Spectator obviously agreed: Polo Grill has twice received the journal’s Award of Excellence for its extensive wine collection.

Joining the Merrifields in the kitchen on September 26 will be Kurt Fleischfresser, the owner and executive chef of the Restaurant Resource Group. After honing his culinary chops at several restaurants around the country, this two-time finalist in the American Culinary Gold Cup Competition became the co-owner of several of Oklahoma City’s finest restaurants: The Coach House, The Metro Wine Bar and Bistro, and Irma’s Burger Shack, which shows its state pride by serving as many locally made products as possible.

Speaking of local products, Tulsa native Bill Harris will be coming to cook as well. A graduate of the CIA, Bill Harris worked as a line cook, restaurant manager, and wine bar manager in the Florida Keys, Hawaii, and San Diego before returning home to cook at Tulsa’s Thyme American Bistro.

Philippe Garmy, the director of the culinary arts program at the Tri County Technology Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, will also be lending his expertise for the occasion. Raised in South America, Garmy trained in France, where he cooked in the kitchens of several one- and two-Michelin-starred restaurants, including L’Auberge Bourbonnais in Bourbon-Lancy under Jean Quarantino. Before moving to Tulsa, Garmy spent six years working for Hyatt Hotels.

Polo Grill’s former sous-chef Justin Thompson will be returning to his old stomping ground for the evening. The current chef de cuisine at Ciao, Baby, a contemporary Italian restaurant also in Tulsa, Thompson began his career while still in college by managing a corporate chain restaurant.

A culinary prodigy, Devin Levine started working in the kitchen of the Camelot Inn of Tulsa at the ripe old age of 12. By the time he turned 19, he had been installed as the executive chef of the Executive Dining Room in the Bank of Oklahoma tower. He has worked at the Southern Hills Country Club for almost 28 years, heading the club’s kitchens as executive chef for the past 15.

Polo Grill’s co-lead chefs, Travis Jackson and Eric Carter, also began their culinary careers early. Local boy Jackson started working in an area restaurant at the age of 16, graduating to full-time line cook before he turned 20. Jackson came to the Polo Grill with 12 years of training in restaurants all over the country and was promoted to co-lead chef in 2003.

Eric Carter found his true calling while working in the kitchen of his grandmother’s Garden Restaurant. At college at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Carter won an American Culinary Federation state competition and ranked fourth nationally. Before joining the kitchen team at the Polo Grill as co-lead chef in 2004, Carter worked at the American Restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri.

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