People Behind the Plates: Chef Trevor Tack of McNellies Restaurant Group

By on May 20, 2015

In this week’s “People Behind the Plates” we sat down with Trevor Tack, the corporate chef for the McNellie’s Group of restaurants, to talk a little bit about his history, his passions, and his vision.

TulsaFood: Chef, how did you get your start cooking professionally in Tulsa?

Trevor Tack: I started cooking in Tulsa under the late Frank Caplinger, at The Chalkboard. He gave me my first job there, when he probably shouldn’t [have] because I didn’t know anything. And I started making salads for him and he really took a vested interest in me and my culinary education. It was really where I got my start.

TulsaFood: How about growing up? When did you first get a sense that this would be the path you were meant to pursue?

Trevor Tack: When I was young, I really had no idea what I was going to do. I thought I’d be a lawyer like my old man. But, I was always drawn to food. I remember staying in a hotel when I was very young and my dad ordered room service, and french onion soup coming up [to the room]. And [I remember] that being revelatory. I was like “What is this magic?” And looking back on it, you know it probably wasn’t really all that good, but it was cheese on soup and that was incredible at that moment. So, I was always searching for that next high. But my mom, God love her, can not cook and doesn’t want to cook. And so I kinda started dabbling a little bit in high school and came back to it through the Hotel and Restaurant Management program there at OSU.

TulsaFood: You’ve done a fair amount of traveling and have relationships with those in the culinary industry outside of Tulsa and Oklahoma. What do you like about using your gifts and talents here in this city?

Chef Trevor Tack Tulsa, Oklahoma

Trevor Tack: One of the things that I enjoy most about being a chef here in Tulsa is the people! This town is ready for prime time. A lot of us in this town couldn’t do what we get to do here if we were in other cities because of the acceptance that people have right now and the eagerness to try new things. And the amount of ingredients that we are getting that are hands down better or equal to any other place in the country – or world for that matter.  We have farms at our fingertips that are producing some of the best milk, some of the best produce. Some of the best beef you can get in the world is right here at our doorstep. So, the ingredients, the people, the receptiveness. The culture of Tulsa that has been developing over the last 10 years right under our feet has been super exciting.

TulsaFood: Ok, final question. If you could name one specific thing that about your craft that you love the most what would it be?

Trevor Tack: The thing that gets me most excited is the next generation, the people that are going take my place. I have to instill in them a want for this, just like people instilled it in me. I have to give them a gift that they want to take and move forward with this, because if not then we are not doing anything right. If the next guy can’t do it better than me, then I’ve failed. I want them to go out there and blow me away. I want the next guy to come up and be so hungry and driven and someday sitting here like this and telling you that I had a hand in it. You know – that’s my ultimate goal. That’s what I want.

About Staff

What started as a blog where normal everyday people dined out and posted about their experiences has grown into a legitimate food publication with professional chefs and writers, each with a unique culinary and educational background to pull from.