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OI opens culinary tapas series with Chef Greg Strahm

September 12, 2013
Times Leader

WHEELING - Oglebay Institute will open its culinary series -Tapas: The Art of Elegant Small Plate Dining - at 6:30 p.m. Friday, September 27 at the Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling.

Guests will dine on perfectly paired, Spanish-inspired tapas prepared by professional chef and culinary educator Greg Strahm.

The evening will be an intimate but interactive gathering as Strahm creates a five-course gourmet meal. Guests can ask questions, see the cooking process, smell the aromas as he prepares each course and taste the flavors as they savor tapas-style portions and wine pairings.

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Oglebay Institute will present “Tapas Made Easy with Chef Greg Strahm” at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27 at the Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling. Strahm, a professional chef and culinary educator, will create a five-course gourmet meal.  Guests can ask questions, see the cooking process, smell the aromas as he prepares each course and taste the flavors as they savor tapas-style portions and wine pairings.

"Each of our tapas tasting events features a different chef, each of whom has his own style, " event organizer and Oglebay Institute director of performing arts Kate Crosbie said. "Greg's style is very interactive. He will not only discuss each dish but also will demonstrate techniques and involve the audience in the process. In addition to a great meal, guests will experience a 'mini' culinary class."

The menu for the evening includes: watermelon gazpacho, scallop and coconut milk ceviche, jicama and black bean salad, grilled flank steak with pepita-cilantro sauce, pistachio gelato with flourless brownie.

Strahm promises the evening will be "fun, informative and delicious." He has chosen an assortment of approachable, contemporary recipes that guests can repeat in their own kitchens, and everyone in attendance will get copies of the recipes to take home.

Strahm is a self taught Julia Childs and Jacques Pepin inspired chef. Learning to prepare home cooked classics from watching his grandmother while growing up, he took her recipes and began to experiment with different ingredients. One day he happened on a funny sounding tall woman named Julia Childs, and the rest is history. He was the Executive Chef for the Executive Training Program at New York University, worked as a private chef and owned a catering business in New York City. He has taught classes for the Brandeis National Woman's Committee in Stuart, Florida and classes at William Sonoma in Palm Beach Gardens.

Tapas are small plates of food including appetizers, snacks or finger food. They originated in Spain but these small-plate entrees are served in towns around the world and are a very popular culinary trend.

"Designed to go-along with a glass of wine, tapas have evolved into an entire, and often quite sophisticated, cuisine. But at the heart of the tapas tradition is fun and conversation," Crosbie said. "Chef Greg will provide that and so much more. Everyone will be delighted to learn his secrets, sample great food, mingle with friends and sip great wine."

This is the first in a series of four tapas tasting events, and the series is being presented with support from Source and Summit Wealth Management.

"We are grateful to Source and Summit for sponsoring this series," commented Oglebay Institute development director Jessi Spangler. "Corporate support such as this enables OI to sustain and expand its community-based cultural programming and provide leisure and learning opportunities for people of all ages."

The complete schedule for "Tapas: The Art of Elegant Small Plate Dining" is as follows:

September 27 Tapas Made Easy with Chef Greg Strahm

November 8 Chef Charlie Schlegel, Ye Olde Alpha

February 21 Chef Sarah Lydick, Sandscrest Conference & Retreat Center

March 28 Chef Craig Aubrey, Undo's Catering

Pre-register at or by calling 304-242-7700.

This program is made possible through the generous support of the members of the Institute as well as with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the WV Commission on the Arts.

Visit Oglebay Institute on the web at



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