Second Update: Award winners are now listed.
Updated: Full dish descriptions are now in the photo captions. Please let me know if I missed a chef’s name, as there were often several at one station.
It’s time once again for my favorite food event of the year, the Arkansas Hospitality Association Convention and Trade Show!
Last night, I attended the opening event, the Culinary Classic. It’s a competition event in which Arkansas chefs prepare their best dishes featuring products from sponsors, such as the Arkansas Beef Council and Coleman Dairy. Paying diners visit each chef’s station, as well as an open bar of adult beverages from Glazers, sampling mini plates of each item. There is also a silent auction, live music and lots of great company, seated come-and-go style at round tables as they try their plates in hand.
I didn’t get to stay for the awards ceremony, so I’ll have to get that information as soon as possible and update this post for you. I do know that awards must have been a tough call, as there were so many meticulous, astounding dishes.
The awards for the event were as follows (with thanks to Holly Heer at AHA):
1st Place Adam Hanry, Camp Mitchell Retreat Center – Deviled Egg
2nd Place Brandon Douglas, Pulaski Tech – Beef & vegetable tempura w/buttermilk sri”rancha”
3rd Place Jackson Bolton, Clinton Presidential Center – Jumbo lump crab cakes
1st Place Adam Hanry – Wrapped Salad
2nd Place Brandon Douglas – Beef Paillard Salad
3rd Place Matthew Cooper, Lulav – Lobster & sweet corn chowder
1st Place Jamie McAfee, Pine Bluff Country Club – pan seared sea bass with blackberry sauce lemon slaw and pickled watermelon rind
2nd Place Matthew Cooper – Hibiscus braised beef short ribs
3rd Place Seth Harris & Tung Nguyen, Southland Park Gaming & Racing – pan seared sea bass & seafood roulade w/lobster mashed potatoes
1st Place Matthew Dunn, Peabody Hotel – Wild blueberry creme brulee dome
2nd Place Adam Hanry – Banana pudding
3rd Place Seth Harris & Tung Nguyen – Pain perdu
Coleman Pride Award – Brandon Douglas for vegetable tempura
Best of Beef Award – Brandon Douglas for vegetable tempura
People’s Choice – Jackson Bolton for crab cakes
Other participating chefs:
Chris Chatman – Clinton Presidential Center
Clark Huff/Matt Clark – Aramark/Heifer International
Heidi Eppling, Andre Poirot, Larry Patrick – Peabody Hotel
Jan Lewandowski – Pulaski Technical College
Robert Hall – Winthrop Rockefeller Institute