Listen up, dumb-dumbs: You’re going to Super Cao Nguyen on Saturday.
There are lots of reasons you should be going there anyway, but this Saturday is special. That’s the day when chefs across the metro will descend upon this massive grocery store—seriously, have you seen the inside of this place?—to raise money for the Chef John Bennett Memorial Scholarship.
(I swear, if you ask me who Chef John Bennett is, I’m going to come over to your house and personally disconnect all of the cables behind your TV and stereo system, spit a wad of gum on the ends, and roll them in hair.)
I only met Chef Bennett a few times (I don’t think he could have picked me out of a lineup of fat beardos if he tried), but each time was a delight. You never met a man who could spin a yarn like John and, shockingly, so many of his tall tales turned out to be true.
He was Oklahoma’s first real celebrity chef, a friend of culinary big shots like James Beard and Julia Child, and a man whose personal motto was, “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.”
Well, in a follow-up to Super Cao Nguyen’s spectacular 40th anniversary party in June, brothers Hai and Ba Luong are at it again with Chef Fest.
A murderer’s row of local chefs—TV chef and caterer supreme Scotty Irani, Midas-touch-haver Kathryn Mathis of Big Truck Tacos, Pizzeria Gusto, and Back Door BBQ, Goro Ramen and Gun Izakaya founder Jeff Chanchaleune, Rococo’s head skullbuster Bruce Rinehart, and so many more—will be making food for you to enjoy (and pay for, as this is a fundraiser). Bring lots of cash, as dishes will be between $5 and $10.
I attended the party in June and, let me tell you, no one who loves food wants to miss this. I ate more than my fill and regretted not having more room.
Leading off the festivities will be a battle of the newest generation of Oklahoma celebrity chefs—Josh “Top Chef” Valentine is taking on his best/worst frenemy Kevin “Guy’s Grocery Games” Lee at 11 a.m. in Hai’s Grocery Games. (Check out their Instagram profiles here and here for some very imaginative trash talk.)
It’s all in good-ish fun with a focus on raising money for the Chef John Bennett Memorial Scholarship, an annual award at the University of Central Oklahoma for a student majoring in family life education or nutrition, dietetics, and food management.
When should you be there? Well, Hai’s Grocery Games start at 11 a.m. and the chefs will be selling special John Bennett-inspired dishes until 5 p.m., but I’d get there...now. Because this will be, and deserves to be, a truly massive event.
Chef Bennett was larger than life and his impact in the culinary community, not just in Oklahoma, but all over the world, really shows when you see so many amazing chefs come together to celebrate his life and secure his legacy.