Long-Time Chef Opens South Tulsa Cafe
By EMILY RAMSEY
BREAKFAST AND LUNCH: Teresa Banks sits in Café Seville, 10021 S. Yale Ave., which she opened in September. Banks has held many jobs within the culinary industry as a chef, business owner and instructor.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
Teresa Banks, who opened Café Seville, 10021 S. Yale Ave., in the award-winning Shops of Seville shopping plaza in mid-September, is no stranger to the demands of running a business or a kitchen.
Banks’ many years of cooking experience began when her mother taught her to cook at 10 years old as a way to care for her younger sister and help her parents who both held full-time jobs.
Unlike some youngsters who turn away from things they are taught early in life, Banks stayed the course and embraced cooking.
Over the decades, she has received training from franchise company Golden French Bakers and operated a location at 71st Street and Memorial Drive with a downtown Tulsa satellite location in the 1980s. She managed the Bama Pie Kitchen and Cooking School and taught cooking classes there and later at Savory Chef. She created a catering and meal service company called Eating, Etc. that targeted individuals with special dietary needs. Most recently, she worked as a personal chef and caregiver for a local family.
During her career journey, she made the time to study English at Oklahoma State University, her long-term goal being to write and publish a cookbook: something she has nearly accomplished.
Thanks to her time spent at , Banks received the opportunity to work for the university at its branch campus in Kameoka, Japan, which is near Kyoto City. Banks made good use of the three years she spent there, traveling throughout Asian countries, exposing herself to local cooking styles.
The eclectic menu she has since prepared for Café Seville certainly speaks to the years and variety of her experiences.
Sitting in the former home of Java Dave’s Coffee, Café Seville will open at 7 a.m. for breakfast Mon.-Sat. and serve lunch until 4 p.m.
With the shopping center’s proximity to a number of medical buildings and the highly trafficked 101st Street and Yale Avenue intersection, Banks is hoping for early-morning foot traffic, with individuals stopping for coffee and a freshly-made pastry – “I expect to start baking by 4 o’clock every morning,” she says – and possibly pick up a salad for lunch from her Grab-n-Go Market area.
Of course, Banks is also hopeful that many guests will choose to sit and enjoy her full breakfast menu options. Among the offerings will be unique breakfast sandwiches, fruit-filled kolachies, French toast, pancakes and tartlets (or mini quiche).
The café’s initial breakfast and lunch menu will feature many summer flavors until she transitions into a fall menu, which will offer stews and other heavier, wintertime dishes, she says.
For now, however, lunch items will be light and summery, with various soups, sandwiches and salads, such as the Greek Summer Salad and Honey Powerhouse Salad, which Banks expects to become big sellers. Other items that easily put her diverse tastes and cooking abilities on display are the Thai Twister Salad, Baja Burger and Caprice Grill Cheese Sandwich. She also anticipates making some waves with her homemade salad dressings, such as Fire and Ice, with flavors of watermelon and jalapeno.
While Banks plans to change the menu every three months, what won’t change, she promises, is both the variety of the dishes and the homemade quality of her ingredients; included in that are her syrups, cheese spreads, ketchup, mayonnaise and butters.
If her plate wasn’t already full enough, Banks also has on the horizon hopes to begin wine dinners featuring guest chefs, to turn the space’s outdoor patio into a year-round dining room and to offer cooking classes.