The nominees for the annual James Beard Awards
(the Oscars of the restaurant world) were announced today
, and Matthew McClure, chef at The Hive
inside the 21c hotel in Bentonville, is among those in the running for Best Chef: South.
McClure is a Little Rock native, who, after studying at the New England Culinary Institute and working in a number of Boston restaurants, returned home to work under Lee Richardson at the Capitol Hotel. He opened The Hive, which bills itself as "country cooking all grown up" on its website, last February.
I'm eager for a return trip to The Hive and 21c. The food was great the one time I visited, especially The 25 Minute Egg.. Definitely in the spirit of what Ashley's used to do and South on Main is doing now. But the look of the restaurant and the hotel is unlike anything else in the state. It's a destination.