Taste Of Oklahoma: Chef Zach Hutton's Alma Set To Open Soon

Alma, a new concept from chef Zach Hutton, will open on June 18th in its location near Northwest 10th Street and North Hudson Avenue. Before the restaurant open however, News 9 sat down with Hutton to catch a glimpse into what guests can expect.

Thursday, June 6th 2024, 10:15 am

By: News 9


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A new restaurant set to open soon in Oklahoma City's Midtown is breathing life into an old space.

Alma, a new concept from chef Zach Hutton, will open on June 18 in its location near Northwest 10th Street and North Hudson Avenue. Before the restaurant opened, however, News 9 sat down with Hutton to catch a glimpse into what guests can expect.

Hutton is currently training up the staff on the menu for his new restaurant, with a menu he said will be quite intricate.

Cooking professionally for 20 years, Hutton said his new venture is a continuation of what he wants to do.

"I was at Scratch in [the Paseo District] for five and a half, almost six years," Hutton said. "So this is just kind of a serendipitous continuation of what we wanted to do before, but now we get to do it with a whole new group of people."

Alma, named after Hutton's grandmother, is a way for Hutton to show appreciation to the farm-to-table lifestyle he grew up with on a farm in Apache, Oklahoma.

"I got into cooking professionally just for my love of food, I was kind of a fat kid," Hutton said. "I grew up on a farm., we cooked all of our own meals. We raised our own cattle, we grew our own vegetables."

As he gets older, Hutton said he finds more of himself in his work as he continues to cook.

"When you're raised on hard work and farming, it doesn't feel good," Hutton said. "But then you get so far away from it in this culture, especially as a chef, that there's something nostalgic about just going back to that."

Hutton's time as a chef was almost up a few years ago when he was diagnosed with pancreatitis, and was in a medically-induced coma for three weeks.

"Thirty days in the hospital, lost 150 lbs... almost died," Hutton said. "It took me getting to that point to realize I was going in the wrong direction of my career."

Hutton said he was determined to turn his life around.

"I was drinking heavily, I was disappointed with what I was doing," Hutton said. "I was eating like crap, I wasn't taking care of myself and I realized I had to make some massive changes."

Looking back though, Hutton said it was all worth it.

"I still think that maybe I did die, because of how consistently good things have gotten since it all happened," Hutton said. "Like being named a James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef Southwest, competing on Guy Fieri’s Grocery Games and then winning Chopped this year."

Now, Hutton said his way of showing love is through his food.

"The way I was raised, you feed somebody if you have no other way to show them you love them," Hutton said. "This is just an expression of love for me and for my state, for my family, and a way for me to hone my craft."

Hutton's business plan now: buy ingredients from local farmers, and create amazing dishes from it.

"One thing that sets me apart as the chef in Oklahoma is that I'm eight generations, we've been here," Hutton said. "[I] can trace my poor sharecropper family back to the middle of nowhere in 1860. I'm making Oklahoma food, but I am genuinely in love with this state where I was raised. What this place is, that's who I am, and I think that comes across pretty well in my food."

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