Chef Nico Albert (Cherokee Nation) is a self-taught chef, caterer and student of traditional Indigenous cuisines based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Raised in California and Arizona, Nico returned to the homeland of her mother’s people and began to reestablish a relationship with her Cherokee community. Her journey to learn traditional Cherokee ways, in particular foodways, grew to encompass the Indigenous cuisines of tribes from all parts of North America, and led to her involvement in Indigenous food revitalization and food sovereignty.
Now as the founder and owner of Burning Cedar Indigenous Foods, Nico devotes her time and passion for the revitalization of indigenous cuisine to promote healing and wellness in the Native American community by providing healthy, traditionally inspired catering options and educational events. Her efforts to steadily expand her knowledge of traditional ingredients and techniques continue through research and collaboration with indigenous chefs and traditionalists from all Nations. Chef Nico’s work has been featured regionally and nationally by Cherokee Nation's OsiyoTV, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Atlas Obscura, PBS, Gilcrease Museum, Philbrook Museum, BBC’s Hairy Bikers, and Food Network, among others.
Chef Candace Conley is the chef and owner at The Girl Can Cook!® Cooking Studio & Kitchen. For over 12 years, she has offered recreational cooking classes in Tulsa and now in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma’s Rose District. Her mission is simple: teach people how to cook more at home…and enjoy it. She co-hosts the podcast, Not A Single Fork, with her General Manager, Natalia Banjac, where they continue their mission to help home cooks with a humorous and often edgy and explicit approach to food and cooking.
Chef Candace appeared in Food Network’s Cooks vs Cons. She represented Oklahoma at the sold-out, inaugural year of the Flavored Nation Food Festival where iconic foods from all 50 states were featured. Following her love of all things Italian, she has spent time cooking in Italy at Al Podere restaurant in Friuli and at the Emidio Pepe Agriturismo and vineyard in Abruzzo.
She is an awards judge for the International Association of Culinary Professionals and has been featured in Oklahoma Magazine, Tulsa People, Edible Tulsa, Tulsa Voice and Tulsa World.
Chef Christopher Covelli is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City where he was trained by world-renowned chefs including Andre Soltner, Jacques Pepin, and Alain Saihac. His background, training, and living experiences have enabled him to speak five languages and specialize in Classic French, Italian, and Spanish cuisine as well as American Haute Cuisine. For the last eight years, Chef Covelli has been the guest chef at the Senior PGA for KitchenAid.
Chef Covelli served the Baltimore Orioles at Spring Training for five years and has been the chef for the Blue Angels at the Seattle Sea Fair for four years. He has been featured on a number of TV shows around the country, including the Food Network shows Rachel vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off and Beat Bobby Flay.
Chef Covelli’s cooking expertise earned him invitations as guest chef for seven James Beard Foundation Dinners. In addition, he was the owner and chef of L’Uva Restaurant on Cape Cod, MA, and has earned five Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence.
Currently, Chef Covelli is the Executive Chef at Sage Restaurant in Sarasota, Fl. He also serves as the senior chef instructor at Toscana Saporita Cooking School in Lucca, Italy, and is on the Board of Directors for Florida Winefest & Auction / Caring for Children Charities.
Chance Cozby grew up in the kitchen of his parents’ home in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. At a very young age, he learned to cook with his mother, Karole, in the kitchen and with his father, Jerry, on the back patio. Karole is amazing in the kitchen and spoiled her family with incredible food, as she still does today. Chance was by her side for as long as he can remember learning the nuances of how to prepare a great meal. Outside, Chance loved to smoke ribs with Jerry on his custom built, off-set smoker. Jerry passed away in 2020 and gifted the smoker to Chance. He often told him there is no need for a temperature gauge when smoking meats, “just keep 3 pieces of Oklahoma pecan on the fire and your temperature will be just right.” On New Year’s Eve 2020, Chance’s youngest son told him they should start cooking on Tik Tok for fun, and off they went. Chance cooks and his son films and edits the videos. In just four months, they have grown to about 270K followers, and their cooking videos collectively have over 30 million views. He loves to cook for his wife Erica, two sons Campbell and Catcher and of course, their friends.
In his professional life, Chance is ingrained in the golf business. After finishing a 20-year career at PING golf as Vice President of Sports Development, he is now the Executive Director of The Thunderbirds, the host of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Johnna Hayes was born and raised not only as a Tulsan, but also a restaurant industry brat.
Following in the footsteps of her great grandfather, grandpa and grandmother, she has ventured throughout the business in all facets, from car hopping at Sonic, hosting at Goldies, popping beer caps at Crow Creek Tavern, bartending at Stonehorse Café to opening and then operating five restaurants through a pandemic. She’s even flipped a few eggs and scrubbed down some dishes at her first store: the Bramble Breakfast and Bar, which opened in 2017.
Since then Johnna has expanded the Bramble brand by opening restaurants in Jenks and Broken Arrow. She also operates the midtown Tulsa neighborhood favorite Bird and Bottle, and in 2019 acquired and took over operations of the iconic Celebrity Fine Dining. Through her restaurants, Johnna and her team are reaching all demographics & clientele, which is exactly how she likes it.
In 2012 childhood friends Molly & Andrea started Antoinette Baking Co. in a small space in Tulsa’s Brookside neighborhood. Molly realized her passion for baking during her pursuit of the perfect macaron, which is documented in her blog (it was 2009 & blogs were life) The Velvet Macaron. This obsession is still alive & well. Andrea started making bread & cakes for friends & family at home which turned into making a 6 tier wedding cake for her sister. Needless to say she realized that was crazy & she couldn’t get enough. The bakery moved to the Tulsa Arts District in 2015 & has loved growing with the community. Being a part of everyday celebrations is why we love opening our doors each morning.
Maria Morris is the Owner and Executive Chef of Carabelle’s Eats & Treats. Acquainted with the kitchen since childhood, Maria developed a passion for cooking at an early age. Former Tulsa Tech Culinary Arts student, Maria has been recognized for superior culinary and leadership skills by the National Restaurant Association (NRA), including first place in Adult Culinary State Competition, as well as Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) - First in State Adult Culinary, and even going on to Nationals in March of 2017. Unfortunately, life took an unexpected and tragic turn. In January of 2018, Maria's 22-month old daughter Carabelle passed away in a house fire. After over a year of addiction, homelessness, and incarceration, Maria decided to use her talents and trauma to help others triumph. In May of 2020, Maria graduated from the Kitchen 66 Launch Program for food entrepreneurs. Since then, Maria has done multiple pop-ups at the Mother Road Market and catering events for local nonprofits and government officials. In January of 2020, Carabelle’s Eats & Treats was created in memoriam of Carabelle M. Douglas [03.22.16 - 01.10.18] to encourage hope, healing, and productivity in women who have experienced justice system involvement. Currently, Maria is also board president of a new nonprofit, Carabelle's Legacy Inc., that teaches fire safety cooking classes to tenants and landlords, and in the future, hopes to provide transitional housing for victims of house fires.
Rachael Reagan graduated from Boston University’s Gastronomy and Culinary Arts Program in 2016 and has worked diligently in the food industry ever since! While in Boston, she worked for a food tourism start-up company, combining her history undergraduate degree with her study of food to create culinary experiences in a variety of Boston neighborhoods. Additionally, she worked with Cooking Up Culture, a program designed to teach elementary and middle school students about different cultures through food. Returning to Tulsa in 2017 after her father’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis, Rachael started a cooking after-school program for a private school in West Tulsa to carry on her love of sharing food and culture. Rachael joined the Kitchen 66 team as the Sales and Distribution Coordinator in May 2018, and now acts as Program Director overseeing the commercial kitchen, 5 sales programs, and business training courses.
In April 2017, Dana Spaulding, certified level II Sommelier, founded Wander + Ivy. Prior to creating W+I, Dana spent 7 years with J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank, managing assets for ultra-high net worth families. Most recently, Dana was a Vice President in the J.P. Morgan Rockies Market, covering the food and beverage industries, among others.
Dana studied Economics and Business Administration at Fordham University in New York City and graduated Summa Cum Laude. While at Fordham, Dana also danced with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Dana currently lives in the Denver Highlands with her husband, Gus, daughter, Maelyn, and boxer, Tedy. She is on the ACE Scholarships Associate Board and in her spare time enjoys yoga, running, skiing, cooking and traveling with her family.
Brett Wagner was raised in Williamsburg, VA and is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America. His culinary style is influenced by time spent in world class kitchens, using local ingredients with international technique. After spending time teaching at the Toscana Saporita cooking school in Tuscany, Italy, Brett moved to Sarasota, Florida to work under Chef Chris Covelli to open Sage, which has now become the Realm Restaurant Group. Brett worked his way up in under two years to be the executive sous chef of the restaurant Group.
Faith Walker was born and raised in Southern California. She grew an affinity for cooking at a young age after spending time in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother. This passion led Faith to culinary school in 2005. After receiving several Gold and Silver medals in school competitions, she knew she had found her path. Faith worked at Panera bread for over 10 years, developing her customer service, financial management, and leadership skills. After moving to Tulsa in 2019, she became a Culinary Lead at the Gathering Place's newest restaurant, Vista at the Boathouse, where she learned the ins and outs of managing a restaurant. During the pandemic, she was fortunate to become a Line Cook at the Sumit Club, where she was given the opportunity to develop new menu items.
Faith is now the owner and founder of Curds and Whey Gourmet, where she gets to develop new recipes and train her staff to deliver consistent and quality food with love. At Curds and Whey, Faith and her team serves sophisticated comfort food that delights the taste buds. They serve entrees such as their famous shrimp scampi fries and salmon dinner wrap, and delicious takes on familiar foods like gourmet wraps and fresh salads. Faith says that God has blessed her and her family, and it is her goal to make sure that everyone gets to experience love through her delicious food and wonderful service.
Tyreiha Walker-Lewis was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She’s a wife and mother to a beautiful boy. Additionally, she is an Oklahoma State University Alumni. Tyreiha has been in the restaurant business since a very young age, for her grandmother started her own restaurant in 1974. Growing up in the restaurant is how she assumed her role in the industry. She has a growing passion for cooking and catering to people through food!
Ronnie Watchorn is the owner of American Inheritance Confectionary, a chocolate shop bringing native flavors, traditions, and history to the American confectionery world. Ronnie’s confectionery journey began in 2015 when the sudden death of his wife left him unemployed and training under a local chocolatier. Ronnie learned the european techniques of chocolate-making before opening his own shop in his childhood town of Coweta, Oklahoma. Using these learned techniques, Ronnie creates a myriad of treats that use local, sustainable foods to combine American ingenuity with European tradition. In 2019, American Inheritance was accepted into the Kitchen 66 Launch Program, an incubator program in Tulsa. In 2021, Ronnie moved his Coweta store to Main Street in Broken Arrow, where he now offers interactive classes, monthly subscription boxes and the culinary creations he’s become known in the region. Through his business, Ronnie aims to create more than just great chocolate but a historical journey through the landscape of local food.
Glory Wells is a co-founder, managing member and chef at Wanda J’s Next Generation on Greenwood in Tulsa, OK. She is also a proud graduate of Booker T. Washington as well as an Oklahoma State University Alumni. She discovered her passion and love for cooking early while watching both her grandmother and father cook, along with watching cooking shows and reading cookbooks. At the age of 8, she began working with her Grandmother “Wanda J” at her different restaurants and on her Food Truck.
During high school, Glory attended Tulsa Technology Center’s Culinary Arts Program where she was able to hone her skills. While attending college, Glory worked to make the family-owned business the success that it is today as she pays tribute to her grandmother’s legacy. After almost 16 years of cooking and serving several thousand customers, it is a safe bet to say that Glory Wells knows a thing or two about southern cooking.
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