Cherokee Casino Chef Honored as a 'Star of the Industry'


Kevin Feemster, the sous chef at Cherokee Casino & Hotel West Siloam Springs, was recently named a "Star of the Industry" by the Oklahoma Hotel and Lodging Association.

The casino, located in West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma, offers both high-end and casual dining options. Customers can enjoy top quality steaks and seafood with fine wines and cocktails, served in an elegant atmosphere at Flint Creek Steakhouse. Those seeking a more comfortable, relaxed experience can eat at the River Cane Buffet, which delivers a variety of fare from Mexican to Italian, Chinese and American. The buffet includes prime rib and grilled shrimp.

Feemster, 40, accepted his award for Outstanding Food and Beverage Employee of the Year at the association's annual Stars of the Industry Awards on January 17, announced the Cherokee Nation's March 12 press release.

The awards are designed to honor Oklahoma’s hospitality professionals for their service and commitment to guest service and the industry.

“Not only is this award acknowledgment by my colleagues for the work I put in to get here, but also recognition of their mentorship, trust and support that help me get to this point in my career,” Feemster said in a press release. “Cooking has been a lifelong passion, but it wasn’t until after a life-changing accident that I really considered pursuing a culinary career.”

Prior to entering the culinary world, Feemster worked as a truck driver for more than 15 years. An accident drastically changed his life, as injuries prevented him from returning to his previous job. While recovering he saw an advertisement for culinary school and began taking classes in April 2010. He began hunting for an apprenticeship that December.

“As a Cherokee Nation citizen, the first place I thought of was Hard Rock,” said Feemster. “Ironically, before my accident I was hauling the concrete to help build The Joint.”

Kevin was hired by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa to work in the buffet, but his career with the company quickly progressed. Throughout his first year he earned a variety of positions in the main kitchen and then McGill’s, the property’s premier steakhouse. Nearly a year later he was named sous chef at Cherokee Casino & Hotel West Siloam Springs.

“Kevin’s passion and determination to providing our guests with the best experience has quickly advanced his career of cooking professionally,” said Tim Westergard, property executive chef at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. “He leads by example, brings new ideas to work and completes every task with excellence and pride.”

Honorees of the state’s Star of the Industry awards will be nominated to the American Hotel and Lodging Association for consideration in the national Star of the Industry awards. National winners will be recognized at the American Hotel and Lodging Association’s Summer Summit in Houston in June.

Cherokee Casino & Hotel West Siloam Springs, which is open 24 hours a day, was also recently voted "Best of the Best" in Northwest Arkansas.