With the social strains of COVID-19 affecting the community, many people are still wary of venturing out to eat, putting the usual gatherings of friends and family on hold. One solution to the problem is the private, in-home chef experience.
While there have long been chefs who specialize in this side of the business, one OKC newcomer offers an option this writer has yet to see in Oklahoma: hibachi at home.
Dylan Koth, an Illinois native, began studying the culinary arts in high school, attending a local tech school. His interest in cooking stems not from time in the kitchen, but from dining out with his family.
“My parents didn’t cook much, so we went to a lot of restaurants,” he says. “I loved how the chefs made so many people happy. I just thought they were really cool and decided I wanted to be like them.”
When it was time to choose a college, his mother convinced him to check out the hospitality and tourism management program at Oklahoma State University. When he arrived, he found Steve Ruby – then a clinical assistant professor – focused on a stack of paperwork. As soon as Koth introduced himself as a prospective student, Ruby stopped what he was doing and spent the next two hours showing off the campus that would be Koth’s academic home for the next four years.
“I knew this was where I was supposed to be,” says Koth.
Over those four years, Koth gained extensive experience through both the curriculum and the school’s outstanding lineup of student-run events. He participated in Wine Forum, Craft Beer Forum and multiple Distinguished Chef Series events.
After graduation, Koth and his now wife Laci moved to Denver. While he was enrolled and ready to continue his education at Johnson and Wales University, he became fascinated by the Teppanyaki skills he was learning in his new position at Benihana. He chose, instead, to learn on the job.
After two years, the Koths decided it was time to move back to Oklahoma to be closer to family. He knew he wanted to open his own business someday, and to Koth, COVID-19 was the perfect catalyst to jump right in.
In 2020, amid a pandemic, Blazing Tables was born.
“I didn’t know of anyone else offering this kind of pop-up here,” says Koth of his mobile hibachi kitchen. This one-man show brings the entire dinner performance to your home, complete with the tables, chairs, linens and dishes needed to turn your backyard into your own private dining experience. Koth combines a delicious five-course menu with all the flying knives, forks and fire that you love at a Teppanyaki restaurant.
Koth works with each client to customize the perfect menu. Whether it is chicken, steak, seafood or a combination, he’s ready to feed any group from 2-30 people. Blazing Tables’ regular service area is within 30 minutes of the OKC metro, but he’ll travel up to 125 outside it for an additional fee.
Chef Koth’s fried rice
- 6 cups steamed jasmine rice
- 6 eggs
- 3/4 cup small diced onion
- 1/3 cup green onion, sliced thin
- 1/3 cup small diced carrot
- 6 tablespoons garlic butter
- pinch salt and pepper
- Soy sauce to taste
- Sesame seeds for garnish
Fry the vegetables in a tablespoon of safflower or vegetable oil until the onions become translucent. Simultaneously fry up one egg per serving of rice with another tablespoon of oil and scramble until cooked to preference.
Put your rice on a griddle, or in a frying pan (dry) and mix until rice veggies and egg are all and mixed properly. You want to continue to mix the ingredients until there are no steamed clumps of rice left.
Add your garlic butter by first melting it down on the grill, and then proceed to mix until all the rice is the same consistent light golden color.
Finally, add the soy sauce (to taste) and mix and fry until you get a darker, more browned golden color. Then garnish with sesame seeds.