When Nook Ducre’s grandfather made square fried eggs with square biscuits, Nook thought it was the coolest thing he’d ever seen. He was five years old. This was New Orleans, and everyone in his family could cook, so Ducre learned, too. 

Some years later, Ducre needed a job, and a local restaurant took him on as a line cook. 

“And I’ve been in the kitchen ever since,” he says.

Chef Nook Ducre, originally from New Orleans, now runs Crossing 2nd in Bartlesville. Photos courtesy Crossing 2nd

Ducre wanted to attend culinary school, but each time he planned to go, he was offered a promotion and stuck with his job instead. So, how did he get to where he is now without the formal training?

“I worked with some amazing chefs,” he says. “I kept my eyes open, and I read, read, read.” 

One of his promotions landed him at John Besh’s restaurant American Sector in New Orleans. Another landed him at Broussard’s, where he became executive sous chef. 

Luxurious, elegant and almost a century old, Broussard’s is one of the pillars of traditional New Orleans cuisine. Ducre learned a lot from the chef there, Neal Swidler. 

“He taught me how to balance ingredients, the importance of little things, how to go the extra mile, how to let the food speak for itself while remaining true to myself,” says Ducre. “‘Don’t appease people,’ Neal would say, ‘appease the food.’ I didn’t realize the impact that would have ’til much later.”

By 2018, Ducre felt like he was in a rut. He wanted to be more than a sous chef – he wanted the top job. He heard about a national competition called the Wright Chef; the winner got national recognition, plus the executive chef job at the restaurant in Bartleville’s landmark Price Tower, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. (Get the pun?) He knew next to nothing about Bartlesville, or Oklahoma for that matter, but he still applied. 

There were 760 other contestants – which got narrowed down to ten, and they all met in Bartlesville for the finals. Each had to prepare a fine dining meal. Come time for the competition, Ducre’s plane was delayed 12 hours; he was barely able to prep his food. 

He won anyway. 

Within a few days, he was living in Oklahoma. It was a major culture shock, he says, and the person who helped him most during those days was chef Miranda Kaiser. 

“When I first met him,” Kaiser recalls, “I saw a quiet, hardworking guy who really cares about his craft. A man of few words but many culinary talents.”

Those talents blossomed on Oklahoma soil.

After leaving Price Tower a year later, Ducre started hosting monthly pop-up dinners. That was his time to soar. Creative, exuberant, playful dishes with names like Dan Doodlin in the Field (“Dan Doodlin is a sausage made decades ago in Appalachia – I love those old Southern foodways and I love charcuterie,” he says) and Quaking Canard (duck breast with farro salad, carrot puree and bordelaise sauce). These pop-ups were named the Cicada Supper Club. But within the past few months, Ducre has moved to a permanent brick-and-mortar space.

Crossing 2nd is a whimsical locale, decorated with souvenirs of world travel, and Ducre is now its executive chef. He has ambitious plans. Dishes will be “seasonal, bright and fresh,” he says. Produce will come from a local vegetable garden called Ragtag Resilience. 

“I’m going to put a Southern spin on things,” he says, but wants to clear up exactly what Southern cuisine can be. 

“It’s a serious misconception,” he says, “to think it’s nothing but heavy, fatty food. It is seasonal; it was developed by farmers. We got things killed, fished or farmed hours before. I want to use all this to broaden the culinary scene in Bartlesville.”



  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 cup parsnips
  • 1 cup sweet potato
  • .25 cup minced garlic
  • 1.5 cup diced onions
  • .5 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • .5 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 51 ounces canned diced tomato
  • .75 cup red wine
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • .75 cup oat milk
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ounce fresh thyme
  • .25 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons agave
  • Salt to taste


1. Shred carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes.

2. Pulse vegetables in a food processor until a course grind. This will give you a meat texture.

3. In a 2-gallon stock pot add oil and get hot. Then add diced onions, cook until translucent.

4. Add carrots, parsnips, red pepper flake and sweet potatoes. Cook on medium high until vegetables begin to caramelize. About 5-7 minutes.

5. Add garlic, cook about 3 minutes.

6. Add tomato paste, cook about 3-5 minutes or until tomato paste changes color.

7. Deglaze with red wine, vegetable stock and soy sauce, reduce until liquid is almost cooked away.

8. Add remaining ingredients, except for the milk, simmer until vegetables are tender not mushy.

9. Add oat milk or alternative milk of your choice, simmer for 3 minutes.

10. Serve with the pasta of your choice. We use campanelle.

11. Garnish with parmesan, chiffonade basil and brown butter.

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