FOOD: District 21 Restaurant at Francis Tuttle

District 21Whatever your passion for
food—the art of preparing it, the joy of consuming it or the guilty pleasure of
watching its drama unfold on reality TV cooking shows—being a foodie is
fashionable! Even for those whose most beloved kitchen appliance is a microwave,
the fascination of braising and brining, and the feverish tempo and high
expectations in today’s restaurant kitchens spark great allure.

In one magnificent new forum in
north Oklahoma City, the grind and the glamour of today’s celebrated gourmet
culture come to life for both students and diners. Spanning a breathtaking 31,000
square feet of exquisite form and function, Francis Tuttle’s newly expanded
School of Culinary Arts answers the growing demand for top-tier career training
in the food service and hospitality industry. Indeed, this grand hub is leading
the renaissance with a world-class curriculum and environment unparalleled in
the region.

Equipped with nine teaching
kitchens, a demonstration kitchen with video production capabilities, state-of-the-art
cooking suites and a pastry, baking and chocolate lab—where you wish you could hang out with no one looking—each area
gleams with stainless steel perfection. In one kitchen, a vat the size of a hot
tub simmers with luscious veal stock. Beyond another door, the aroma of freshly
baked bread or smoked meat fills the air, taking your senses on a delicious
journey with each new discovery of this high-tech wonderland.

As Culinary Arts Director Marc
Dunham notes, “This facility needs to be celebrated by everyone in the state.”
And for those of us wanting a taste of the excitement, three amazing eateries
give us ample reason to do just that. If ever there was a place where you could
be sure every dish was finessed to the highest standards, this is it. Food is
prepared under a chef’s direction, with students carefully attending to the
details.

Just inside the main entrance at
District 21, a massive auditorium-style hall referred to as “Main Street,” with
soaring ceilings and elegant seating nooks, winds past Cravings Bakery. Breads, pastries, desserts and baked goodies
galore are prepared with the expertise of a French chef. The phenomenal breads
alone are worth a stop and the prices are amazing.

DessertBeyond the bakery is Tut’s Café, a spacious food court
featuring lunch favorites served cafeteria-style. The salads, tacos, pizza and
daily “Purple Plate” specials, again speak to the incredible quality and
variety coming out of these teaching kitchens. The massive dining area is surrounded
with windows for great views.

The crown jewel in this trifecta
of culinary pleasures is District 21, a truly exceptional evening dining
experience. With the sophisti-cation of a posh metropolitan restaurant, minus
the stuffy disposition, Chef Carlos Martinez and a staff of attentive students
delight you with a four-course meal to remember. Diners relish the fabulous
learning experience themselves, in an easy, questions-welcomed environment.

An ever-changing selection of
appetizers, entrées, sides and desserts showcases incredible sauces and flavor
combinations. The charcuterie appetizer platter featuring cured meats, gourmet cheese
and olives with Crostini and mustard is not to be missed. And like everything
on the menu, it’s even better when shared!

District
21 will re-open August 13th in conjunction with the school semester. Call ahead
for dinner hours and reservations at 405-717-7700. Located at Francis Tuttle
Technology Center, 12777 N. Rockwell Ave., OKC. Visit francistuttle.edu/district21
for details.

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