Chefs Invited to Compete in 2nd Annual Tree to Table Benefit

Oklahoma City, July 29, 2015 – Chefs and caterers throughout Oklahoma are invited to compete in the 2nd Annual Tree to Table Benefit on October 19, 2015. This deliciously unique event challenges competitors to create a sweet or savory dish that highlights ingredients from trees, such as apples, chocolate, almonds or olives. Other ingredients may be used as well. The #Tree2Table event is a fundraiser benefiting the Oklahoma Orchards and Tornado Re-Leaf programs of the Tree Bank Foundation.

Each competitor will be given $250 to purchase ingredients, listing in all press releases and signage at the event and an 8-foot table on which to serve their dish and promote their business. The chefs must have a catering license, prepare their dish off-site and bring their own chafing dishes or serving trays.

Four cash prizes will be awarded at the event, including the Fan Favorite which will be decided by event attendees. A judging panel will allocate the Best Savory Dish, Best Sweet Dish and the Tree to Table Champion. The judging panel is led by Oklahoma native celebrity chef Rick Bayless (owner/chef of Frontera Fresco in San Francisco, 2009 Bravo Top Chef Masters winner) as Head Judge, along with long-time Oklahoma City chef John Bennett and food editor of The Oklahoman Dave Cathey.

To enter the Tree to Table Benefit, chefs can visit our website at www.thetreebank.org or call 405.702.4050 for more information. Current competitors include Barbara Mock and Michelle Wicks of Kam’s Kookery, Kevin Lee of Vast, David Henry of The Coach House, Dave Leibold of the Metro Wine Bar and Bistro, KC Ortega of the Wedge Pizzeria, Christine Dowd of Aunt Pittypat’s, Chase Doyle of Jazmoz Bourbon St. Café, Melissa Aust of Stella Modern Italian Cuisine, Teresa Walters of Running Wild Catering, and the 2014 Tree to Table Champion Ryan Parrott of Picasso Café.

The public is invited to attend to sample all of the submitted dishes. The event will take place at the Farmer’s Public Market on Monday, October 19. Special tickets ($150 each) are available for a VIP reception at 5:30pm to meet Chef Rick Bayless, a VIP “swag” bag, open bar pass and reserved seating for the main event. Individual tickets ($75 each or two for $100) provide entry into the event at 6:30pm to sample all the chef’s creations and one drink ticket. A cash bar will also be available.

Find more information about this event, purchase tickets or secure sponsorships on our website.

Tree to Table Benefit Attracts Stellar Chefs/Judges

The Tree Bank Foundation introduces a deliciously unique event—the Tree to Table Benefit. This cooking competition challenges chefs and caterers throughout Oklahoma to create a dish that highlights ingredients from trees. Although other ingredients may be used, the dishes should celebrate ingredients like olives, avocadoes, apples, peaches, cinnamon and chocolate. The event will take place on Tuesday, October 28 at the OKC Farmers Public Market. The VIP reception will begin at 5:30pm and the main event will begin at 6:30pm.

Attendees will sample all of the dishes and vote on their Fan Favorite. A judging panel will also taste each dish to select the Best Savory Dish, Best Sweet Dish and Tree to Table Champion. Winners will be given cash prizes.

Competitors include Joshua Valentine of The George, Cally Johnson of Green Goodies, Barbara Mock of Kam's Kookery, Melissa Scaramucci of Local, Henry Boudreaux of Museum Café, Ryan Parrott/John Madore of Picasso Café, Kevin Lee of Vast, The Catering Connection and The Wedge Pizzeria. Interested competitors can register until October 7, 2014.

The judging panel is led by nationally acclaimed chef Alex Guarnaschelli who is featured on Food Network’s Chopped, Iron Chef America and won Season Five of The Next Iron Chef. Our second judge is Mr. Dave Cathey, the food editor of The Oklahoman. The final judging position on the panel is up for auction on our website, www.TheTreeBank.org.

Tickets can be purchased at TheTreeBank.org. For more information contact Nicki Largent at 405.630.9152.

This fundraiser benefits an Oklahoma Orchard at the Salvation Army’s new Center of Hope facility at NW 10th and Pennsylvania in Oklahoma City.

About the Tree Bank Foundation

The Tree Bank Foundation was founded in 1987 by volunteer supporters interested in promoting education, planting, care, and beautification of our state through a wide network of organizations and individuals committed to distributing trees. Its mission is “to promote and plant trees to enrich Oklahoma communities.” The value of the more than 200,000 trees brought to the state through the Tree Bank has been estimated to be more than $240 million at maturity.

Tree Bank Plants Orchard at Regional Food Bank

The Tree Bank Foundation has planted 22 fruit trees at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma to benefit the Urban Harvest program. The orchard is made up of eleven apple and eleven peach trees, which join three existing plum trees. Two pear and another plum tree are planned for future plantings. This orchard was sponsored by Whole Foods of Oklahoma City. Urban Lawn and Landscape donated the labor and irrigation.

Urban Harvest is a sustainable gardening program that focuses on agricultural education, fresh food production, community outreach and ecological conservation. Children at Kids Cafés sites participate in “Seed to Table” lessons on the basics of growing and preparing fruits and vegetables. Choosing crops, planting seeds, composting food waste and preparing the harvest are exciting subjects that teach the importance of working together and preparing these students to make better nutritional decisions. The Regional Food Bank works with four after-school programs in Oklahoma City (and several other programs during the summer) on a weekly or biweekly basis. The food grown in the Urban Harvest gardens is used in cooking activities with these students and also sent home with them to share with their families.

“We are so excited about the new orchard and the potential to provide more fresh fruit to these children,” said Mason Weaver, Urban Harvest Director. “The opportunity to offer fresh fruit over a longer season would be a huge boost to our program.”

This is the second orchard planted by the Tree Bank through the Oklahoma Orchard program. The first was planted at Oklahoma County Social Services in 2011. For more information about the Tree Bank Foundation and its services, visit www.thetreebank.org.

About the Tree Bank Foundation

The Tree Bank Foundation was founded in 1987 by volunteer supporters interested in promoting education, planting, care, and beautification of our state through a wide network of organizations and individuals committed to distributing trees. Its mission is “to promote and plant trees to enrich Oklahoma communities.” The value of the more than 200,000 trees brought to the state through the Tree Bank has been estimated to be more than $240 million at maturity.

Christmas Trees for Oklahoma Adopt A Family

In honor of its 25th year, the Tree Bank Foundation is partnering with Adopt A Family (a Catholic Charities of Oklahoma program) to provide Christmas trees to some of the families that participate in the Adopt A Family program.

Would you like to help?

There are many ways for you to help spread the holiday cheer to these wonderful families!

  • You can sponsor a tree for $50
  • You can sponsor a strand of lights and a stand for $25
  • You can donate ornaments and other tree decorations by dropping them off at participating locations-
  • The Myriad Gardens – 301 W. Reno, OKC, OK 73102
  • Ruth Meyers – 6471 Avondale Drive, Nichols Hills, OK 73116
  • The Tree Bank Foundation – 16301 N. Rockwell Building A, Edmond, OK 73013
  • Your business can be a collection site for ornaments and decorations
  • You can volunteer to help us distribute trees on December 13

For more information contact Nicki Largent at the Tree Bank Foundation – 405.330.4701 or nlargent@thetreebank.org.  Sponsorships can be mailed to 16301 N. Rockwell Bldg. A, Edmond, OK 73013.  If you would like to Adopt A Family, please contact Catholic Charities at 405.523.3000.

November 16, 2012

Oklahoma Great Tree Giveaway a Success

The Tree Bank Foundation oversaw the distribution of ten thousand trees in October of 2012.  Twenty-two communities benefited from the OK Great Tree Giveaway, putting down roots in parks, schools and nonprofit grounds throughout Oklahoma.  Some communities also offered the trees to private citizens to increase their urban forest. This year the communities were offered maple, oak, redbud, elm and Chinese Pistache trees.

“We certainly could not give trees to everyone that was in line, which is always a disappointment,” stated Norma Lynn Paschal of the Ardmore Beautification Council, “but I think that speaks to how popular the program really is.”  The Great Tree Giveaway is open for cities, nonprofits, churches and schools to apply for trees.  The Tree Bank Foundation reviews the applications and allocates trees to the applicants, then arranges for the delivery of the trees.

“Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer this program in the Spring this year as we have done in the past,” stated Nicki Largent, Executive Director of the Tree Bank Foundation.  “We were given 10,000 trees by the Apache Foundation and we decided to give them all away in the fall of this year instead of splitting the trees up between the seasons.”  The Tree Bank will begin accepting applications for the next fall planting season in June of 2013.

The Apache Foundation is a philanthropic arm of Apache Corporation, an oil and gas exploration and production company.  Since 2005, it has granted nearly 250,000 trees to more than 55 non-profit organizations in more than 35 surrounding cities in Oklahoma. The Apache Foundation was also recognized by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who proclaimed Aug. 30, 2012, as “The Apache Foundation Tree Planting Program Day.” She passed the proclamation as an expression of gratitude for Apache’s support in reviving the Oklahoma landscape through tree grants. The Tree Bank Foundation is honored to work alongside Apache Foundation in helping to improve the environment and quality of life through planting trees.

November 12, 2012

Tree Bank Foundation names Largent as new Executive Director

The Tree Bank Foundation welcomes a new executive director to its organization.

Jacqueline Nicole Largent joined the Tree Bank Foundation in September. Largent, who goes by “Nicki” previously worked with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the Oklahoma Geological Survey. For the past four years, Largent has served as program manager for OKC Beautiful while committing many hours to other local nonprofit organizations. Largent’s experience with the state’s landscaping efforts and geography made her a great candidate for the job, said Foundation President Rob Shaff.

“Nicki’s experience and knowledge in the beautification of Oklahoma’s landscape is very extensive,” Shaff said. “We look forward to the possibilities we can achieve with someone of her background leading the way, and we certainly have a bright future ahead of us at The Tree Bank Foundation.”

Largent replaces former director Mary Gilmore Caffrey who retired at the end of September. Caffrey directed The Tree Bank Foundation for 25 years.  “Mary did amazing work for the state of Oklahoma and all its residents,” Largent said.  “I am honored to have been chosen for this position and I cannot wait to get started.”

As Largent begins putting down her roots, The Tree Bank Foundation also will celebrate a milestone. For a quarter century, The Tree Bank Foundation has been building a stronger sense of community through the promotion, development, and management of urban forestry projects with public and private partners. Its vision to change the landscape of Oklahoma one tree at a time can be seen in various projects across the state. Since 1987, the foundation has been planting hundreds of thousands of trees for beauty, color, character, community pride, architectural definition, improved air quality, and the mental and physical well-being of state residents.

September 28, 2012