by Kat Robinson
Last year, food lover fantasies have become reality in a form often seen before (on the hit TV shows Iron Chef and Iron Chef America), in our very own Kitchen Stadium (the foyer of the Little Rock Peabody Hotel). The motivation for this contest by the Culinary School is to encounter new and original cuisines, and to raise funds for Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School, which currently serves 130 students who are pursuing associate degrees in culinary arts or technical certificates in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts.
To realize this dream, four chefs have been chosen -- Michael Powell, executive chef at Chenal Country Club; Ted Roman, executive chef at the Arlington Hotel; Jason Knapp, executive chef at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion; and Cynthia East, lead instructor at the Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School. These potentially invincible chefs will have 40 minutes to tackle the theme item of the day. Using all their senses, skill, creativity, they are to prepare artistic dishes never tasted before.
And if ever a challenger wins in next Tuesday's bouts, they will have a chance to compete against chef Donnie Ferneau for the title of "Diamond Chef" in June. And if he or she wins, the chef will gain the people's ovation and fame forever (or something like that). Every battle, reputations are on the line as master chefs pit their artistic creations against each other. What inspiration does each challenger bring? And how will each chef fight back? The heat will be on!
Check out the Diamond Chef preliminaries -- the event starts at 2 p.m. next Tuesday. Admission to the preliminary competition is free, but reservations are required. To reserve a seat, call Jamie Higgins at (501) 812-2271 or by e-mail.