Shake a chef’s hand
Meet Kent Rollins and you realize you’ll never meet another like him.
Authentic, he’s that. Old fashioned – more so than most you’ll ever know. That’s why after one experience with the chuckwagon master at last year’s chef tour event, we knew another visit was crucial. We’ve worked with him on the plate side of things but figured you would love to meet him, too!
“I think he’s just got one of those magnetic personalities,” says our own Corporate Chef Michael Ollier. “It’s just the way it is. If you know him, you’re a friend.”
Then again there’s more than camaraderie when it comes to Rollins. Alongside his wife, Shannon, they venture out of Hollis, Okla., to serve authentic western cuisine through their Red River Ranch Chuck Wagon catering company. Enlisting the assistance of a restored 1876 Studebaker wagon, the couple fed more than 27,000 people last year and logged more miles than that on the open road.
“The first meals-on-wheels ever invented!” he jokes.
Pulling from his heritage and cowboy upbringing near the banks of the Red River, he specializes in dishes prepared over open fire with the help of Dutch ovens and burning coals. What began as preparing meals for elk hunters turned into much more, as word of Kent spread throughout the plains.
“I figured, ‘Hey, if I can cook for them [hunters], I might as well get a wagon and start cooking for cowboys.’ When I started cooking on ranches, word got around and from ranches it went to Bar Mitzvahs, to weddings, to corporate events and TV.’”
So why Kent?
Chef Michael says it’s the integrity that makes him a fit for the brand and the ranchers like you who make it.
“You can find talented people in the kitchen. That’s not it. But someone who has a heart like Kent Rollins, those are rare people.”
Besides being approachable, Rollins crosses the fence. He encapsulates both the cowboy and the chef.
“Chefs don’t really understand the producer world, the land like this guy does. You don’t shake a chef’s hand and feel the calluses like he has,” Chef Michael says.
For Kent, he’s just happy to have a quality product to share. Something he doesn’t have to worry about – one that’s uniform: “I always tell people, if you’re going to cook a piece of beef, you first have to start with a good cut of meat.”
To serve it, “feed it back to the same people who raised it,” those who brought it to the grill in the first place, that’s what makes it most worthwhile.
Especially “if they get to see an end product,” he says. “Not a lot of times in life do you get to see what you turned out every day. To see it off the hoof and on the grill is a pretty good deal.”
Thanks for allowing me to tell your story,