Northwest Arkansas is home to innovative thinkers and trendsetters who are helping shape the cultural landscape of our area.
Matthew Mcclure is an award-winning chef, nationally renoun for his culinary prowess.
As the executive chef of ‘The Hive’ in Bentonville, Mcclure has made a name for himself, setting a standard for restaurants in Northwest Arkansas. And like in the kitchen, his rise to success, didn’t come without a little trial and error. “It’s not about the failure, it’s about how you handle that failure.” McClure’s love from cooking started as a youngster, in the most unusual place. McClure says, “As a young kid, I was very interested in.. my whole family was very interested in cooking. My dad would take me and my brothers hunting and fishing. So we were always cleaning fish and butchering. I remember as a young kid like walking through this slaughterhouse and like all of these hanging beef carcases. And there was this smell in there that was probably part of the dry aging of the meat, but it was kind of intoxicating to me. I mean, I really like enjoyed it.”
There were times where McClure second-guessed his profession. It happened during one of his first jobs as a young chef. “I was cooking in Boston, kind of in a rat race. Living in a big city and it was very exciting. But I had kind of felt like I had come to the end of this restaurant that I was working at. I loved the food, I loved the people and I kind of thought, I’m going to switch gears. I’m going to check out this catering game. And so I got a job at this catering company….it was not fun and the food wasn’t very good. There was nothing redeeming about the job, beside that I got paid at the end of the week. It didn’t take me long to go back into restaurant life.” says McClure.
McClure says he’s had plenty of opportunities to leave for bigger, more lucrative jobs. But he says that Northwest Arkansas is a place he just can’t leave. McClure says, “I’m from Little Rock. I think I’m like fourth or fifth generation Arkansan. And to be cooking in home state, food that I’m very proud of… it’s kind of a dream come true. And I would say that something 15 years ago I thought that I would ever say but, it’s a great community, it’s safe, schools are good, economy is good. And again, I can cook food that I’m proud of and it’s well received.”
Mcclure’s talents as a chef has been recognized on an national level, as a five time semi-finalist for the James Beard Award, given to the country’s top culinary professional.
He’s parlayed that accomplishment, into a platform, raising awareness on initiatives, such as childhood hunger – with the “No Kid Hungry dinner” held in June.