Something I Did This Weekend, Gateway to the Garden Tour

September 29, 2010Katie

This weekend I helped do a “Celebrity chef” cooking demonstration for a fundraiser called Gateway to the Garden for a local place here called Gateway Women’s Resource Center.  First off, I’ll just tell you that I don’t consider myself a “celebrity” and I finally settled on telling my guests that I was a “home chef”.  My credentials lie in cooking food, and sometimes massive amounts of it for the hardest critics ever – my family. 

There were four of us doing demonstrations in four different mansions.  The owners had graciously opened up their homes to the public for a tour of their kitchen and gardens.  At the 4 homes that shared their gardens and kitchens, there were four “Chefs” who demonstrated their talents in the kitchens including Mrs. B’s Bakery (cupcakes!), Kam’s Kookery and The Big Easy New Orleans Cafe.

Gateway center helps women in crisis make informed decisions, mostly about pregnancies.

In a world that is afraid to speak out about Pro-life or Pro-Choice, I think we can all agree that sometimes girls (and women) in crisis just need to hear that someone cares and will help them make a good decision.  And at the cost of losing readers, I’ll just say that I’m Pro-God and I believe that He chooses life.  And that’s my First Amendment right isn’t it?

And I feel inclined to add this.  If you have chosen otherwise, you are still absolutely loved and cared for by the One who made you to be beautiful and wonderful.

SO, stepping down off my soapbox, I can just tell you that this event was so fun!   Mr. Wonderful and I drove up to this driveway that made me inhale deeply.

We were in the Low’s house (some very sweet and gracious people!), also known as Country Manor and this driveway awakened early memories of my obsession with the Civil War and southern plantations.  I think I watched the mini-series North & South about 100 times. I just loved the pictures of the old South that now seemed to  appear before my eyes…in Oklahoma?

We drove up this long tree-lined driveway to the site of  a beautiful house.

Except it wasn’t a house at all.  It was a guest or pool house.  And the pool was gorgeous.

To the left of the pool stood the house, and I snapped this picture of my dear friend Julia, who got me into this mess position in the first place!

Look at that smirk!  Doesn’t she just look like someone who would get you into trouble?  Just teasing Julia..I love ya!

The grounds were lovely and Mr. Wonderful and I were fascinated with this giant marble ball that appeared to be spinning in water on a pedestal underneath one of their gazebos.

This thing was so neat!


But there were hundreds of people to cook for so we headed inside to a gorgeous kitchen where I set up to demonstrate how to make my bruschetta.

I had spent several hours the day before prepping ingredients to make Pasta Fagioli Soup, an Italian soup with tomatoes, beef broth, beef, beans, veggies and mini-shell pasta (recipe coming later). 

Have you ever made soup for 200 people? I think I know why chefs wear those clogs now.  My feet were tired, and I still had 4 hours of demo-ing to do.

Of course I couldn’t have done it without Mr. Wonderful, who was there to help me every step of the way.

That’s why he’s earned his name.

And I also had the invaluable help of these three young people- Hillary, Jacob and Denni.

These kids did everything from running to the store for backup bread baguettes and olive oil, to serving each and every person a cup of soup as they came in.  The girls, after hearing my presentation about 20 times, told me they could take over if need be…they had my speel memorized.  I quickly grew to adore them by the end of the four hours.

And it’s just possible that they ate about 25 pieces of bruschetta each during the course of 4 hours.

Which of course was highly deserved!

People filed through the kitchen at various times, and each group stopped to hear the demonstration while they snacked on soup and bruschetta.  I met some wonderful people.

At the end, the houses were opened up for an additional hour for the volunteers and workers to go through.  I loved hugging Teresa Minick, the organizer of the event.

I can only imagine what all these ladies (and men) from Gateway did to get this thing up and running!

And they did give me one of those hot pink shirts to take home also!

The day was super fun, but the rewards of helping out a cause I care for deeply, brought me more joy than words can express.

If you live in the Oklahoma City area, please consider buying a ticket next year for this event.  You’ll get to tour some gorgeous houses, eat some fabulous food, and best of all, help your community in a way that will just make you smile to yourself.

Also, if you’d like to donate to Gateway’s cause, I will put you in contact with someone who will talk to you.  Please e-mail me at [email protected].

Were you involved in this project?  What was your experience?  Would you like to be involved? 

What do you think about this post? Leave me some feedback!


  • Nanny

    September 29, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Enjoyed reading all of "Chef Katie's" post! Looks like everything went well! Congratulations! And it was for a great cause!! Love, Mom
    1. dishinanddishes

      September 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm

      Awww thanks Mom! Love you!
  • Teresa Minick

    September 29, 2010 at 11:47 am

    As the Executive Director of Gateway, I can't say thank you enough to Katie and Mr. Wonderful for helping us Sunday. The calls continue to come in thanking me for asking them to join us this year. I cant wait until next. Well at least give me a couple of months to breath. Actually next event planning starts in Nov. Spring Tea and Fashion Show.
    1. dishinanddishes

      September 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm

      Teresa - thank you! And yes, please breathe for a little bit! You deserve it! Fran - the home was gorgeous...the cause even better :)
  • Fran Johnstonbaugh

    September 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    good job Katie and Mr. W. I'm sure everyone enjoyed the tour and the "home" chef and her delicious treats in support of a great cause.
  • Sam

    September 29, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    That soup hit the spot with the taxi drivers. Ron and I appreciated it. I just wanted to say that I am proud of my two girls that were there to help, Hillary, Teresa. Also my little one Rachel was roaming around outside. Thanks
    1. dishinanddishes

      September 29, 2010 at 5:41 pm

      Sam- yes SO many wonderful workers. Many I didn't get to meet cuz well, I was making bruschetta in a kitchen!
  • Patsy Joanne Oltmanns

    October 2, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Sorry, I'm so late in commenting...loved the tour...the homes and gardens were simply beautiful. Your site is great and your presentation was my favorite on the tour. Gateway is a great cause... thank you for sharing your talents. Hope to see you again...and I am becoming a fan of your site. Enjoy this beautiful fall weather.

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