Oklahoma Natural Gas launches website to promote cooking with natural gas
An online site created by Oklahoma Natural Gas might give you some new ideas for your next family dinner.
The company actually began working with Oklahoma chefs to create a web-based series offering viewers good and gourmet ways to prepare particular dishes before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
ONG put finishing touches on its initial episodes as efforts to slow the spread of the disease evolved into mandatory shutdowns for many eating establishments and put the content online in June, just as Oklahoma’s economy was in the midst of reopening.
But it remains to be seen whether people will return to patronizing restaurants the way they used to.
The four chefs involved in ONG’s web programming are intensely interested in seeing that question answered, as they own or operate restaurants that were greatly impacted by ordered closures that potentially could return as numbers of illnesses and hospitalizations have resumed climbing.
At the same time, they see themselves as ambassadors committed to sharing the joys of cooking with the public.
The programming they worked with ONG to create for GoodvsGourmet.com gives them a way to distribute their message, they said.
“I really enjoyed filming my episode,” said Tulsa Chef Justin Thompson, proprietor of the Justin Thompson Restaurant Group, co-owner of Farrell Family Bakery and author of “Trial & Error: Recipes and Lessons Learned by a Chef & Restaurateur.”
Good vs. Gourmet, he continued, “is more timely now than ever, as many people are trying their hand at new and creative recipes.”
Thompson shares how to cook pan- and reverse-seared ribeye steaks on the episode he is featured in.
“My purpose in all the food I make is not to outshine people’s experience, but to enhance it.”
In each episode, the chefs demonstrate creating a particular dish by using a simplified version of a recipe and then using an alternative, more gourmet restaurant-style version.
At the end of each episode, both versions are compared, side-by-side.
Other participating Oklahoma Chefs are:
• Melissa Aust, executive chef at Stella Modern Italian Cuisine in Oklahoma City, who prepared good and gourmet versions of chicken and waffles.
• Tiffany Tisdale-Braxton, owner of Tisdale23 Catering and Event Planning in Tulsa and author of “Work Moms Guide to Surviving Weeknight Meals,” who prepared good and gourmet versions of a shrimp and grits dish.
“Cooking is my way to express my love to others, and now I’m able to share that with viewers through my shrimp and grits on the show,” Tisdale-Braxton said.
• Kurt Fleischfresser, director of operations at Vast in Oklahoma City and co-founder of restaurant group Western Concepts, who prepared a good and gourmet version of pork chops in his episode.
Like the other chefs on the program, Fleischfresser’s restaurant endeavors have taken a hit because of the pandemic.
Plus, Fleischfresser is president of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association. As the pandemic resumed its growth trajectory in June, he kept busy answering the phone to visit with members who remain greatly concerned about the future.
“We are in the hospitality business, so we are used to taking care of people,” Fleischfresser said. “We were acting like the virus was out there even before it was, sanitizing tables and washing our hands constantly. Whether it is serving people in the restaurant, serving them curbside or showing people how to cook stuff, we have always been in that mode."
As for ONG’s cooking show, Fleischfresser said he hopes it gains popularity and that more episodes are added that involve additional chefs.
“The problem is, people have already burned through their repertoire because this has gone on so long,” he said. “I think it is cool, because it gives people something new that they can prepare at home, cooking with gas.”
The series was produced as part of the Oklahoma Natural Gas Energy Efficiency Program, which promotes rebates to homeowners, builders and contractors who purchase and install natural gas appliances and heating equipment.
Oklahoma Natural Gas, a division of ONE Gas, provides natural gas service to more than 877,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oklahoma.