You read here in February that Capital Hotel pastry chef Tandra Watkins was a semifinalist for a James Beard Award. Now, Watkins has been nominated by Food & Wine Magazine as a finalist in the People's Best New Pastry Chef competition. You can vote for the person you want to see as the winner this week only, April 1-8, here.
A press release from the hotel said the award includes "50 chefs from three regions, all talented relative-newcomers who have run their own restaurant pastry kitchens for up to five years." Watkins is the only Arkansas nominee.
Watkins has been pastry chef at the hotel since 2007 and is known for her "TandyCakes" wedding cakes as well as the desserts served at Ashley's and the Capital Hotel Bar. Her bio on the Food & Wine voting site lists her "quintessential dessert" as a Lemon vacherin, vanilla parfait with crisp meringue and lemon sorbet.