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Queen Wilhelmina State Park Takes Top Prize…

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – Queen Wilhelmina State Park took home the top prize today at the Arkansas State Park’s Top Chef Competition. It was the first time they won in the seven years of the contest. Five park restaurants participated in the event, sponsored by Ben E. Keith, at the Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute.

“We made a fajita salad with roasted asparagus,” said winning Chef Ken Morse. “We think it was our special seasoning on the fajita steak that caught the attention of the judges.”

Contestants from Queen Wilhelmina, DeGray Lake Resort, Petit Jean, Mount Magazine and Ozark Folk Center state parks prepared a new entrée and sides that each restaurant does not currently have on its menu but is considering adding it as a selection.

Judges from the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, Ben E. Keith and UAMS used criteria such as flavor, presentation, and workstation tidiness to crown the victor.

This year, teams didn’t know the protein and used the pantry provided. The use of locally sourced ingredients and creating a healthy option of an old favorite was encouraged. And the prize for winning this exciting competition besides a trophy? The most valuable of all – bragging rights among our restaurants!

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