NorthWest Arkansas Community College has hired Jason Paul, former chef/owner of Heirloom in downtown Rogers, as a chef instructor for its culinary program, according to an NWACC press release.
Paul now helps teach several introductory courses on culinary foundations, sauces and methods at Brightwater: A Center for the Study Food in Bentonville.
With more than 20 years’ experience in the restaurant industry with stints in Las Vegas and Arizona, Paul’s resume includes working with renowned raw food/plant-based cuisine Chef Matthew Kenney.
At Heirloom, Paul earned acclaim for his food on both a regional and national level, and he has regularly appeared on Northwest Arkansas television shows, in cooking competitions and at regional food events, according to NWACC.
“Chef Paul brings immediate recognition and notoriety to Brightwater,” Glenn Mack, executive director of culinary arts and hospitality management, said in the press release. “Our students will greatly benefit from the opportunity to learn from a chef with such broad training and perspective.”
Paul said he is focused on teaching at NWACC right now, but that doesn’t mean he has given up on being a restaurateur.
“Our restaurant career is not over,” Paul said. “We still have some stuff working. Nothing real solid at the moment. It’s all in the very early stages.”
He started with NWACC in mid-November and is contracted until May.
Heirloom closed in November, after the property owners expressed they would be unwilling to renew the restaurant’s lease in April 2017.
Paul says he is interested in improving local food systems and reaching students who might not fit the traditional mold for kitchen employees, according to the press release.
Brightwater will move into a new facility in January within the city’s Market District.
Made possible by $15 million in Walton Family Foundation funding, NWACC transformed a former Tyson Foods factory into a 28,000-square-foot facility for its culinary school, and it will serve as anchor of the 8th Street Market.
The market is planned to be a collection of food and drink dining and retail concepts, and so far the Bike Rack Brewing Co. has also signed on as a tenant.
It would be the second Bentonville location for Bike Rack Brewing. The first opened in 2014 at 410 S.W. A St., a few blocks away in the Arts District.