Bentonville food festival announces James Beard Foundation partnership and guest chef Dean Fearing

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 139 views 

Organizers of the BITE NW Arkansas food festival announced Thursday (May 18) a new event in partnership with the James Beard Foundation.

The Chef’s Table Experience will take place on Thursday, June 22, the first night of the two-day festival. It will include a series of interactive cooking demonstrations aimed at educating and entertaining, while giving event-goers up-close access to acclaimed chefs.

BITE NW Arkansas is now in its third year and is part of the week-long festivities that are part of the LPGA Tour’s annual Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers. The food festival will be held at the 8th Street Market in Bentonville, and will serve as the grand opening of the new culinary hub.

“After attending BITE in 2016, we were delighted to be invited to participate again this year, particularly with its move to Bentonville, an area that is quickly becoming a culinary destination,” Kris Moon, vice president of James Beard Foundation, said in a news release. “The Chef’s Table Experience is a unique feature of BITE NW Arkansas that we’re proud to help curate. The experience will highlight topics of importance to our Foundation’s Impact Programs such as food waste, sustainable seafood and sustainable meat, while giving attendees a chance to enjoy an intimate cooking demonstration with the region’s best chefs.”

Local chefs who will be featured ill include Mario Valdovino, Tyson Foods executive chef and owner of MOD Restaurant; Matthew McClure, The Hive executive chef, and Rob Nelson, executive chef and owner of Tusk & Trotter. Dean Fearing, creator of Fearing’s Restaurant and author of The Texas Food Bible, will also attend.

Students and faculty of Brightwater Culinary School will be on hand to prepare each featured chef’s dish to allow attendees of the Chef’s Table Experience the opportunity to taste what is being prepared on stage. The chefs’ restaurants will also be featured participants at BITE.

“Having the James Beard Foundation and these incredible chefs participate in our event is an honor,” event director Harry Hardy said. “We want everyone who attends BITE to walk away having discovered something new and different from this year’s event. I have no doubt the James Beard team will curate an unforgettable lineup of educational demonstrations for our ticketholders to learn and discover from.”

BITE ticketholders can sign up to attend the cooking demonstrations for free. Reservations will open Thursday, May 25, and all BITE ticketholders will be notified on how to sign up. Seating will be limited, so guests are encouraged the reserve their seats early.

Tickets are now on sale, starting at $30 per person. More information about the food festival and 8th Street Market is available at