, Muskogee, OK

January 18, 2014

Wagoner chef earns state’s top award

— WAGONER — Chef Sam Bracken’s passion for culinary and hospitality excellence has resulted in his being named “Best Chef in Oklahoma” by the 2013 Best of Oklahoma Living annual contest, according to a media release.

The owner of The Canebrake Resort and Spa has been serving locally grown, sustainably sourced food for nearly eight years, the release states.  

The Canebrake began as a vision of Bracken and wife, Lisa, whose desire to create a retreat for adult relaxation and rejuvenation brought them back home to the family ranch.  

Part of the magic formula was creating a dining experience where guests could enjoy good quality, local food, according to the release.

Up to one-third of the restaurant’s produce is grown in the resort’s gardens during peak season; the remainder is purchased from farmers in Oklahoma and Texas.  

Bracken said in his recent interview for Oklahoma Living magazine that he has a “no-junk” rule with his proteins — no antibiotics, no hormones, no junk.

“I know how it was raised, who harvested it, who slaughtered it, and how it was packaged and shipped.” Bracken said in the release.  

Line-caught, sustainable fish is always on the menu.  

“When I call my fishmonger, they send someone out to go fishing and it’s in my kitchen in 24 hours,” he said in the release.

The Canebrake features a seasonal menu.

This recognition is the fifth such honor The Canebrake received in 2013.  

Among others, the resort was named “Best of the Best” by Oklahoma Magazine; and last May the resort received the Oklahoma Tourism Red Bud Award for Outstanding Lodging Property for the second time. Bracken was named one of the Best Chefs in America in March; and last January, The Canebrake was honored by the Oklahoma Hotel & Restaurant Association with the “Star of the Industry Award for Outstanding Community Service — Small Property.”