They started with soups and creative napkin folding, and spread out into a weekend of cooking and wine at the Savor the Flavor culinary show in Kennewick this March. The two-day fundraiser for the small, privately-run nonprofit Oasis School has become a major draw for eastern Washington, attracting several thousand attendees.

This year the event at the Three Rivers Convention Center featured well-known northwest chefs Mike Davis of 26 Brix in Walla Walla, who demonstrated how to make beignets, and Tom Douglas of Seattle’s Dahlia Lounge, who made barbeque pork butt tacos and goat cheese fondue.

A third of the Oasis students have parents or grandparents who are WSU alumni. Peggy Hamilton (’85 M.S. Sci.) is cochair of the event, and the organizer who thought of inviting the stable of celebrity chefs. “I just kept making calls,” she says. Her efforts paid off, bringing in Toby Kim of the acclaimed Herbfarm restaurant in Woodinville as well as a bevy of chefs representing fine dining around the region, including the Spokane Club, the Coeur d’Alene Resort, and the Columbia Gorge Hotel.