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Jason Heald: Kitchen Camaraderie

The Rococo chef’s savory polenta recipe



 



Jason Heald grew up on a skateboard, and while listening – unsurprisingly – to punk music, he practiced graffiti art, and dreamed of being the next Charles Bukowski or Hunter S. Thompson.
 

“I was a poet, writer and rapper,” Heald says. “I wanted to make a mark on the world.”

He had a son when he was very young, so he decided to parlay his experience in kitchens into a full-time gig. Working in the industry was a good way to make money to pay for his new responsibilities, but he also was learning to love the “poetry” of a back-of-house team.

“I started working in kitchens when I was about 15,” he remembers. “I loved the camaraderie and the feeling of being part of a family. It made me want to be a chef.”

Heald, who is now executive chef at Rococo on Penn, grew up in the Mid-Del area of Oklahoma City, where he learned to cook from his paternal grandmother.

“She was the original farm-to-table chef in my life,” he says. “We ate a lot of Southern staples: fried chicken, collards, ham hock and beans, tomatoes and macaroni – that sort of thing. I always looked forward to Sunday dinner; it was usually brisket, baked beans and rotating sides. My grandmother was definitely my hero growing up, and she always made real fried pies for me when I cooked with her. But I started working in kitchens because I wanted a car.”

He applied to Garfield’s in Crossroads Mall and worked as a host, dishwasher and busboy to pay for his wheels – but he never stopped working in kitchens, and except for time spent in Phoenix and Colorado, most of his culinary training has been in OKC restaurants.

“I love to cook, and I especially love cooking for my friends and family,” Heald says. “I’ve cooked enough different styles that I can pretty much make them whatever they want at this point.”

Rococo owner Bruce Rinehart has turned Heald loose in the kitchen, and given the diversity of Rococo’s menu, he’s an excellent choice. Heald also has been able to indulge his creative side with features that aren’t on the regular menu. For someone whose formal training was always in kitchens, it makes sense that he would continue to develop his skills there. Working for what he wants has always been his model.

For his recipe, Heald chose creamy herb and goat cheese polenta. “It’s very warm and comforting on cold winter nights,” he says. “It’s also really easy to prepare.”

 


 

► How It's Done

4 cups chicken stock
1 cup polenta or coarse corn meal
8 oz goat cheese
2 sprigs thyme, chopped fine
4 sage leaves, chopped fine

Bring chicken stock to a boil.

Slowly stir in corn meal.

Lower heat and continue stirring for 7-10 minutes until smooth.

Remove from heat.

Fold in goat cheese and chopped herbs.

Top with melted or browned butter.

Serve with braised meats or ratatouille, or enjoy it by itself.

 

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Calendar

August 2018

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Cost: Free

Where:
Armstrong Auditorium
Herbert W. Armstrong College
14400 S Bryant Ave
Edmond, OK  73034-8174
View map »


Sponsor: Armstrong International Cultural Foundation
Telephone: 405-285-1010
Contact Name: Shane Granger
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Cost: $7-$15

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Tulsa, OK  74171
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Telephone: 918.495.6000
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Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

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Science and the Bible dramatically converge to reveal ancient Jerusalem’s most famous king-prophet pairing. In this interactive, multimedia exhibit, visitors discover the illuminating history...

Cost: Free

Where:
Armstrong Auditorium
Herbert W. Armstrong College
14400 S Bryant Ave
Edmond, OK  73034-8174
View map »


Sponsor: Armstrong International Cultural Foundation
Telephone: 405-285-1010
Contact Name: Shane Granger
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Science and the Bible dramatically converge to reveal ancient Jerusalem’s most famous king-prophet pairing. In this interactive, multimedia exhibit, visitors discover the illuminating history...

Cost: Free

Where:
Armstrong Auditorium
Herbert W. Armstrong College
14400 S Bryant Ave
Edmond, OK  73034-8174
View map »


Sponsor: Armstrong International Cultural Foundation
Telephone: 405-285-1010
Contact Name: Shane Granger
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Science and the Bible dramatically converge to reveal ancient Jerusalem’s most famous king-prophet pairing. In this interactive, multimedia exhibit, visitors discover the illuminating history...

Cost: Free

Where:
Armstrong Auditorium
Herbert W. Armstrong College
14400 S Bryant Ave
Edmond, OK  73034-8174
View map »


Sponsor: Armstrong International Cultural Foundation
Telephone: 405-285-1010
Contact Name: Shane Granger
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

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Sponsor: OKC Parks and Recreation
Telephone: 405.297.2279
Contact Name: Becca Leon
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Science and the Bible dramatically converge to reveal ancient Jerusalem’s most famous king-prophet pairing. In this interactive, multimedia exhibit, visitors discover the illuminating history...

Cost: Free

Where:
Armstrong Auditorium
Herbert W. Armstrong College
14400 S Bryant Ave
Edmond, OK  73034-8174
View map »


Sponsor: Armstrong International Cultural Foundation
Telephone: 405-285-1010
Contact Name: Shane Granger
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Science and the Bible dramatically converge to reveal ancient Jerusalem’s most famous king-prophet pairing. In this interactive, multimedia exhibit, visitors discover the illuminating history...

Cost: Free

Where:
Armstrong Auditorium
Herbert W. Armstrong College
14400 S Bryant Ave
Edmond, OK  73034-8174
View map »


Sponsor: Armstrong International Cultural Foundation
Telephone: 405-285-1010
Contact Name: Shane Granger
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

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Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
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Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

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701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
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Cost: $25 in advance / $30 at the door

Where:
Individual Artists of Oklahoma
706 W. Sheridan Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.412.2541
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
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Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

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Sponsor: Variety Care
Telephone: 405.632.6688
Contact Name: Lance Evans
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More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

Commemorating the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and diverse collection of art created by or about...

Cost: Free with admission

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


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Individual Artists of Oklahoma is making waves this August with the sexiest beach party this land-locked state has ever seen. To be held on Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 8 p.m. to...

Cost: $25 in advance / $30 at the door

Where:
Individual Artists of Oklahoma
706 W. Sheridan Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.412.2541
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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