INTEGRIS Grove General Hospital Foundation’s major fundraiser, Taste of Grand, held on Saturday evening, October 4, proved to be a friendly community gathering of more than 500 people who had an integral part in raising $65,000 for INTEGRIS Grove’s Foundation. Attendees were rewarded with selections of delicious cuisine provided by 19 Grand Lake area restaurants and caterers, along with fine wines and spirits to sample.

Tom and Jewel Witty attended Taste of Grand as guests of the event’s major sponsor, Bank of Grove, and owners Ed and Barbara Townsend. Clearly enjoying the evening, Tom shares, “We like everything about it. It gives us a chance to get out-on-the-town together, enjoy great food—particularly the barbecue and chocolate-covered strawberries—and savor the festive atmosphere while supporting the hospital.”

Another serious Taste of Grand sponsor, charter member of INTEGRIS Grove’s Foundation Board, Beverly Jones of Grand River Abstract & Title Company expresses, “I look forward to this event each year, because it is a wonderful opportunity to support the hospital and the community.” Beverly’s husband, Stan passed away earlier this year, but for a decade they had both served as hospital board members and invested many hours in support for the hospital.

A brand new element to this year’s event was Chef Marcelo Miranda, Culinary Arts of Oklahoma’s “Chef of the Year” in 2006, who served as the cuisine judge. Along with his wife Robbin, Chef Marcelo and INTEGRIS Grove General Hospital Food Service Director, Ron Cox, made the rounds sampling all cuisine from every Taste of Grand vendor, taking notes and revisiting vendors as needed for clarification. “This was my first year to participate in the Taste of Grand,” says Chef Marcelo, “and it’s just an awesome thing!” 

Brazilian born, Chef Marcelo received formal training in Brazil and at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, California, and has some 20 years experience in the hospitality industry including the Westin Hotel, and is currently executive chef at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City. In addition to his recognized high standard of culinary skills, Chef Marcelo volunteers time teaching cooking classes to students at Platt College and for Job Corp participants, and he features heart-healthy recipes on KWTV-News 9 in Oklahoma City each week.

The culinary judging team presented the most prestigious and coveted “Supreme Cuisine Award” to La Casita De Hoovers. The Mexican cuisine restaurant is no stranger to receiving culinary accolades, having been selected “Best of the Best” in Grove for the past five years. Owner Lyn West comes from a long Hoover family tradition of operating restaurants. The award-winning menu of tamales in corn husks, chips and fresh salsa, guacamole and margaritas were prepared by Chef Martin Ortega. “I’m very proud to have won the ‘Supreme Cuisine Award’,” says Lyn, “and this certainly says a lot about Chef Martin.” 

Change is in the wind for both Lyn and Martin, as Lyn will move her other restaurant, Hoover’s Round-up Café, into La Casita De Hoovers’ location, and Martin prepares to open his own restaurant, La Casita De Martin, in the facility vacated by Tiramisu. “My thanks to Lyn for all the help she’s given me beginning some nine years ago,” reflects Martin, “and for the tremendous support from our many faithful customers.” Martin loves everything to do with cooking, and especially loves to see customers enjoy the food. His homemade tamales are among customers’ favorites, along with his tacos and shrimp enchiladas.

Several additional awards were presented to various restaurants and caterers including: “Presidents Service” to Rib Crib; “Critics Choice” to QuarterDeck Restaurant; and “Committee Choice” to Grand Lake Casino-The ENDZONE. Attendees mirrored the judge’s sentiments about the delicious selection of entrée’s available and voted (tie) Java Dave’s Chocolat Expressions and The Shebang for the “People’s Choice Award”.

“Taste of Grand is drawing participation from people in the four-state area,” reports event chairperson, Kristi Wallace, “from sponsors to musicians, vendors to attendees, and individuals like Katherine Mathis of Photography by Katherine who captured the essence of the evening with her pictures, and is donating a portion of all proceeds to the Foundation.” Her photos are available to view and/or purchase on line at www.pictage.com, event name is “Taste of Grand 2008”. 

For information about INTEGRIS Grove General Hospital Foundation and how to contribute, please contact Debbie Totty, Foundation Director, at 918-787-3464.