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Bentonville Chefs Feed Beard Foundation

Four of Bentonville's top chefs had a chance to strut their stuff in New York last Thursday, preparing a dinner at the James Beard House.
Bentonville, AR - Four of Bentonville's top chefs had a chance to strut their stuff in New York last Thursday, preparing a dinner at the James Beard House.

Tusk and Trotter's Rob Nelson joined chefs from Crystal Bridges Eleven, the Hive and Meridienne to show New Yorkers what the Ozarks have to offer.

"We did a collaborative 5 course tasting menu that highlighted Bentonville, and basically Northwest Arkansas cuisine," Nelson says. "We took all of our food up there and represented a lot of different farmers and ranchers from the area."

The James Beard Foundation champions local ingredients, and creating a culinary culture around them.

"All over Northwest Arkansas, but in Bentonville specifically, there's a real food movement happening," says Case Dighero, director of culinary at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. "We want to celebrate all of the great local food, artisans, farmers, ranchers, anybody that has anything to do with food that's local, we're all about it."

Dighero says the event sold out before tickets could be offered to the public.

"They develop scholarships for people within the industry, chefs food writers food photographers, from all over," Dighero says. "For us to be recognized by them, but then also to have an opportunity to be able to raise money for the foundation is phenomenal."

Nelson says community fundraisers helped the chefs pay for the trip, and he's happy to be honing his craft with the support of Northwest Arkansas.

"The community really got behind us," he says. "It's one of the highest honors for an American chef to be able to go up to New York and showcase what we do."

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