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A taste of the finest

The Distinguished Chef Series provides a unique dining experience that is not found elsewhere in Oklahoma.
Patrons can support our students as they work side-by-side with world-class chefs to produce an evening of hospitality at its finest, while being the beneficiaries of an outstanding meal, great wine from the best vineyards and vintners and a beautiful setting with wonderful ambiance. A portion of the proceeds go to students scholarships.

2023-24 events

Chef  Brian Tatsukawa

September 20-21, 2023


Chef Rajeev Patgaonkar

November 8-9, 2023

Chef Americo S. DiFronzo

February 7-8, 2024


Chef Kyle Richardson

April 17-18, 2024

Meet the chefs

Introducing the chefs for the 2023-24 Chef Series

Chef Brian Tatsukawa, CEC, CE

Chef Brian Tatsukawa earned his Bachelor of Applied Science in career and technical education followed by his MBA, both from Western New Mexico University. He worked at the JW Marriott in Phoenix and learned from a variety of chefs while working in their food venues. When Tatsukawa became a Culinary Arts Instructor at Navajo Technical University, he modified curriculum and incorporated Native American foods into the program while establishing relationships with many leading Native American chefs.  He earnedt he Chef Educator of the Year for his chapter, won the ACF Cutting Edge Award for leadership and innovation and earned a place among other accomplished chefs in the American Academy of Chefs.

Chef Rajeev Patgaonkar, CEC, AAC, HGT

Rajeev Patgaonkar's career experiences include working for Hilton Hotel, Saudi Arabia, Oman as well as the Carnival Cruise Lines, the prestigious five-star Oberoi Hotel and Ambassador’s Sky Chef, Mumbai (Bombay). Described as a 'visionary' chef (Lansing State Journal), he brings to culinary adventurers for Mid-Michigan, flavors and style of exotic places and by-gone times. He currently serves as the American Culinary Federation Central Regional Vice President. Chef Patgaonkar is a proud and active member of the American Academy of Chefs and American Culinary Federation and Michigan Chefs de Cuisines.

Chef Americo S. DiFronzo, CEC, CCA, WCMC, HGT, MWMCS, AAC

Chef Rico DiFronzo is the Executive Chef of The Union Oyster House in Boston, a landmark restaurant that opened its doors in 1826 and is America’s oldest continuously operating restaurant. He also serves as the Epicurean Club of Boston Club’s Financial Secretary and is a past president. In addition, he was a culinary instructor at Boston University School of Hospitably Management for eleven years, a National Officer of the American Culinary Federation and is the Chair of the American Academy of Chefs.

Chef Kyle Richardson, CEC, CCE, AAC

Chef Kyle Richardson is a Professor Emeritus from Joliet Junior College who has delighted students and customers with his unique cuisine for over four decades. Born and raised in New Orleans, Richardson established himself early as a prep cook in a distinguished French restaurant before gaining experience in a diverse set of kitchens, including those in hotels, country clubs and bakeries. Considered a master of New Orleans cuisine, Richardson has taught many seminars and demoed his craft throughout the country and internationally. Today he owns and operates Crescent City Gourmet, a Chicago area concession, consulting and catering business with a New Orleans twist.

Student experience

Juli Hanson

Juli Hanson

Class of 2023

"My time as Front of House Manager for Chef Event amplified my passion for the events side of hospitality during genuine conversations with our guests. The hands-on opportunity of gaining real, applicable experience of planning and executing a large luxury event gave me practical skills that I’ll take with me into my career."

Caleb Rogers

Caleb "Rodge" Rogers

Class of 2024

"Chef Series is what I look forward to every semester. It has made a monumental impact on my pursuit towards a culinary degree. I have been given the opportunity to work with such amazing and talented chefs, as well as building strong connections through the event."

Anna Bowler serving food at an event.

Anna Bowler

Class of 2026

"Chef Series shows me what it looks like to serve others in the real world. I get to learn the workings behind the pretty pictures we typically see of these events. I am so thankful for the opportunity to work for top chefs and learn from them throughout the week before the event."

Tatum Newberry

Tatum Newberry

Class of 2025

"Chef Series has been such an amazing leadership and learning experience. Last spring semester, I had the opportunity to volunteer during Chef Series, and this time around I get to work as an assistant manager! Not only have I gotten to connect with my peers, it has also given me a chance to build my resume and network with professionals in the hospitality industry."


Haylee Floyd

Haylee Floyd

Class of 2024

"The Distinguished Chef Series has given me opportunities that I never could have imagined being a part of. This event has helped me grow so much as a person and a student. It’s events like this that make me eager to step into this industry and start working!"


Tradition at its best

The Distinguished Chef Series Scholarship Benefit began in 1990 and has since hosted chefs from all over the world. Four times a year, chefs travel to OSU to share their culinary knowledge for one week with HTM students. This student-led scholarship benefit is planned and orchestrated by HTM students who gain valuable leadership skills.
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