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Culinary Skills Put to the Test

(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – Arkansas State Park chefs will partner with Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute to compete in a Top Chef competition on Tuesday, February 11, 2020. Each team will be judged on their entrée to earn the title of Arkansas State Park’s Top Chef. There will also be a People’s Choice Award.

“It was an idea we thought of a few years ago to highlight the fact that we offer a great culinary experience in our restaurants,” said Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann. “There are eight restaurants that serve our public year-round or during the season. We use as many locally sourced ingredients as possible and are focusing on healthy options. Like our state parks, the views from some of our restaurants make a meal feel more like a vacation.”

There will be two parts to the competition: the traditional judging and the judging from peers and fellow conference attendees. Contestants will need to be prepared to share sample-sized versions of their entrée to accommodate 40 attendees. Participants will also need to consider how the items will be displayed on their park’s table and come prepared to enhance the presentation.

The surprise component of the competition will be the creation of a new entrée and sides that each restaurant does not currently have on its menu but is considering adding it as a selection.

Teams will consist of a “Chef” and “Sous Chef” from each park. Teams will be decided by the restaurant managers and park superintendents.

The judges will be:

• David Flake, Personnel Director

• Jodi Davis, Planning & Development

• Eugene McCann, Business Development Manager, Ben E. Keith Foods

• Leesa Freasier, Program Manager-Family and Preventive Medicine, UAMS

• Caleb Osborne, Chief of Staff, ADPHT

General Guidelines: teams will prepare four (4) plated meals.

• Sauces must be produced during the competition.

• Any dressings are to be prepared during the competition.

• Teams must leave the workstation in a neat and tidy condition; this is part of the judging criteria.

Sequence of Events:

11:45 a.m.:

• Facility and pantry tour for contestants and briefing for judges

12-1 p.m. (15 minute staggered entrée delivery times):

• Preparation and Cooking Time

• Each team will prepare four identical plates to present to the judges (smaller portions are appreciated to reduce waste)

1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.:

• Presentation of Dish and Judging

2:15 p.m.:

• Declaration of Winner

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