(Update 9/28, award winners listed below photos. Thanks to Holly Heer with AHA.)
Today, I spent a good part of the day at the Arkansas Hospitality Association’s annual tradeshow and convention. I love conventions, especially this one! Lots of great opportunities to rub elbows with fellow foodies. This was especially so at the Iron Chef competition, which had its first several heats today. I got to be a taster (but not a judge) in the second heat today. Each round had a new protein for the secret ingredient; the protein for the round I sat in for was duck. Yum!
Tomorrow, I get to be a taster again in the semi-final round. I’ll hang out for the final round and report more at that time. If you absolutely need at least one or two photos of Iron Chef right away, follow me on Twitter (@ARFoodie) and check out my Twitpics from today.
Meanwhile, I want to give you the final scoop on yesterday’s post, the Arkansas Chef’s Culinary Classic. The AHA folks haven’t gotten back with me on all the final winners (they’re busy with the convention and all), but I’ll update as soon as I have that info.
I did want to let you know about some of the highlights:
- Watermelon and mint salad with balsamic vinegar by the Chef Osi Imomoh and Sous Chef Howard Austion at Southland Park Gaming & Racing. Must get recipe…there were two unusual types of melon involved.
- Beautiful lamb chop with a fruit relish and Asian salad by Chef Jamie McAfee of the Pine Bluff Country Club.
- London broil steak salad by Chef Tyler Husser and Chef Jerry Dolson of Hilton, Little Rock.
- Saffron shrimp bisque by Chef Donnie Ferneau of the restaurant Ferneau.
- An amazing Tahitian vanilla bean gelato with homemade maraschino cherries by Chef Adam Hanry of the Ozark Conference Center. This won best dessert, and rightfully so.
- And my favorite…the roasted beef tenderloin with compound butter sauce by Chef Jason Knapp of the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. Wondering if Gov. Beebe is gaining weight? Chef Jason is the culprit. (See photo from yesterday’s post.)
I also had to mention separately a remarkable find, but one you won’t be able to visit. That is, unless you work at the Dillard’s corporate offices on Cantrell. Bistro 1600, exclusively owned and operated by the food and beverage services of said corporate office, offered an impressive lineup. Hubby and I could not believe the food was not from a hoity-toity downtown restaurant. Chef Norman Geisselbrecht, Chef Michael J. Mass and Chef Marjis Meti presented dishes nothing less than divine. (My notes, other than WOW, got mixed up. In order to get the exact dishes right, I’ll have to update when I get the list.) The chefs were excited about food and about pleasing the diner, whether that be a top executive or hourly grunt.
Well, I just spent about half an hour writing captions for all these photos, and the computer ate them somehow. Until I put in a new plugin (I’m thinking something Flash based), you’ll just have to guess what each is. But they sure are purty!
What a busy foodie week…more tomorrow on Iron Chef, the AHA convention, and…oh yeah…tomorrow’s Taste of the Town in North Little Rock. Eat up!
ARKANSAS CHEF’S CULINARY CLASSIC PHOTOS
1st Donnie Ferneau, Ferneau – Ahi Tuna nachos
2nd Adam Hanry, Ozark Conference Center – Pork rinds w/lime salt
3rd Will Hutchison, Pulaski Tech Culinary School – Slow Roast of Strip loin
1st Andre Poirot, Peabody Hotel – Wild Mushroom soup
2nd Ted Roman, Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa – Acorn Squash Bisque
3rd Osi Imomoh, Southland Park Gaming & Racing – Watermelon Splash Salad
1st Jason Knapp, AR Governor’s Mansion – Seared filet of beef
2nd Joe Coleman, Peabody Hotel – Blue cheese stuffed beef roulade
3rd Donnie Ferneau, Ferneau – Beef wellington w/brie
1st Adam Hanry, Ozark Conference Center – Standing ice cream cone
2nd Brian Cochrane, Pulaski Tech Culinary School – Almond Florentine
3rd Christian Alexander, Peabody Hotel – Cake & mousse dessert
Coleman Pride Award
Andre Poirot, Peabody Hotel – Wild Mushroom Soup
Best of Beef
Jason Knapp, AR Governor’s Mansion – Seared filet of beef
People’s Choice Award
Jamie McAfee, Pine Bluff Country Club – Asian Lamb Chop