Q&A with Ben Alexander

The executive chef at The Tavern talks about his culinary training, cooking for his kids and summer menus.



Ben Alexander, executive chef at the Tavern, is known as much for his kindness and generosity as for his culinary skills. The Tavern is located at 201 N. Main St.

Tell us about your background and what led you to a culinary career.

I have been cooking for 20 years. I started cooking in Arizona. My only formal training was at a high school tech school program my senior year of high school. I started cooking because I enjoyed seeing a creation of something from start to finish. There are no limits on creativity with all kinds of food. My passion for cooking is mainly to provide for my family. But with that, I do my best to be a student of food, and I’m always trying to learn new, creative ways to deliver a quality product.

How has the Tavern changed over the years?

The Tavern has changed in some respects and has stayed the same in others. Since I have been here, our menu has changed anywhere from five to eight times a year. The reasoning behind that is the local produce we utilize, which depends heavily on the seasons. We still have Tulsa’s best burger, and our staple proteins have stayed in some shape or form. We have really been relying and sourcing from our local farmers as much as possible.

What can people expect at the Tavern this summer?

People can expect some really fun flavors that they may have never had before, but presented to them in a way that is familiar. I think that yes, we can push the boundaries for food in Tulsa, but it has to be in a way that our guests are not afraid of trying something new.

What will you be cooking at home?

After cooking and tasting all the dishes all day, I very rarely cook at home. But if anything, it’s usually mac and cheese or ramen noodles for my two oldest ninjas. They love noodles, pasta, cheese ... anything beige and carby. To be honest, my wife, Natalie, does most of the cooking at home. She has a more normal workday than I do ... and also, she’s the boss. I want to spend as much time with my three boys and my wife as possible. If I ever do get a couple days off together, I’ll usually whip up some quick noodle dish or something on the grill.

What’s your favorite snack food?

If I had to pick one, it would be chicharrons or spicy pork rinds. There is actually a brand out there that you can microwave like popcorn.

What’s your favorite way to spend a day off in the summer?

Oh, I’d probably be fishing, dreaming I was a Bassmaster Pro or something. Other than that, I like to hit up all the noodle joints with my kids for daddy lunch dates.

You’re known for your generosity. Can you tell us some of the ways you’ve helped the Tulsa community through the Tavern?

Well, it’s not just me. Our chef community is unlike any I have ever been in. We care about building this city up. We care about helping each other out, whether it be sharing cooks or making meals to help out the Food Bank. We do food drops at the hospitals for families who can’t make it out of the hospital because of critical care needs. Some of our staff volunteers time with a bike club for kids, Reading Partners for some TPS schools, and we do a lot of charitable fundraising dinners and events. Just this past April I was called on to do nine. It gets hectic, but it’s a small part of my time to make this city we love and live in a better place all around. My wife and I have our own nonprofit called Hearts of Steel Foundation. We help families dealing with congenital heart defects monetarily with bills like rent, mortgage, travel expenses to other hospitals. The mindset we have after our middle son, who had some real critical heart issues, is to always pay it forward. We almost lost him six times in his first eight months of life and a few times after that.

 

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July 2018

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Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

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God’s Church
1301 S Canton Ave
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Sponsor: God’s Church
Telephone: 918-834-2537
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36 Degrees North
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Sponsor: League of Women Voters Metropolitan Tulsa
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300 Aquarium Drive
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Contact Name: Ann Money
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Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
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Telephone: 405-236-3100
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Cost: Free with admission

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415 Couch Dr.
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Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
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More information

 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
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Telephone: 918-495-6000
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

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McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
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Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

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Sponsor: League of Women Voters Metropolitan Tulsa
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Free!!! July 23 - 27  6:00pm to 7:30pm ​Games, Activities, and a Snack We hope to see you at God’s Church. 

Cost: Free

Where:
God’s Church
1301 S Canton Ave
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Sponsor: God’s Church
Telephone: 918-834-2537
Contact Name: Randy Alley
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Cost: Lesson: $10 Social Dance: Free!

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The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: League of Women Voters Metropolitan Tulsa
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
God’s Church
1301 S Canton Ave
Tulsa , OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: God’s Church
Telephone: 918-834-2537
Contact Name: Randy Alley
Website »

More information

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Cost: $55

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Sponsor: Tulsa CARES
Telephone: 918-834-4194
Contact Name: Katie Sawicki
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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

Free!!! July 23 - 27  6:00pm to 7:30pm ​Games, Activities, and a Snack We hope to see you at God’s Church. 

Cost: Free

Where:
God’s Church
1301 S Canton Ave
Tulsa , OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: God’s Church
Telephone: 918-834-2537
Contact Name: Randy Alley
Website »

More information

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Cost: $10 for members; $15 for non-members

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
View map »


Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
Website »

More information

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Roy Lee NYC street photography on display

Liggett Studio will host the local photographer's solo exhibition, “42nd Street: Grime, Glamour, and Glory,” July 13-August 4.

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Video: Auburn Cord Duesenberg Co.

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July 2018 Charitable Events

Celebrate summer, have a great time and support worthy causes at these fundraisers and events.

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Church Studio Visionary Buys Harwelden Mansion

Businesswoman Teresa Knox is building quite the collection of historical properties. Harwelden is her latest acquisition.

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Circle Cinema Celebrates 90 Years

July 7-15: Expect new documentaries and features, silent classics, special guests, discussions with filmmakers, a reel-to-reel 35mm screening and much more at Circle Cinema Film Festival.

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