Botanical Garden of the Ozarks backers gathered in rain and sunshine for Chefs in the Garden on May 25. Proceeds from the sold-out benefit at the garden in Fayetteville will help with maintenance and yearly programming. "When we began planning Chefs in the Garden, covid-19 was in full swing, and we didn't exactly know what to do to make the event safe. With good planning and improved health conditions, the night couldn't have been better," organizers said. "Even a little rain didn't stop our guests from enjoying the wonderful food, music and most importantly, fellowship."
Event organizers took the opportunity to help support the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the nonprofit organization.
Kent Eikenberry, food bank president and CEO, says the garden's "generous donation will help us in providing the much needed food for our friends and neighbors to survive. I hope this is just the first of many opportunities we have to collaborate to make Northwest Arkansas a better place to live."
Rafael Rios of Yeyo's Mexican Grille in Bentonville and Yeyo's Taqueria in Rogers served as this year's Honorary Chef. Guests enjoyed bites and beverages from area restaurants and caterers and voted for their favorites, while event chefs selected theirs.
Award winners were:
• People's Choice Best Bite -- Chef Bob Hiller, Comida Artesenal Tapas Bar;
• People's Choice Best Chef -- Chef Shurla Jobe, Meme's Carribean Flavour;
• Chefs' Choice Best Bite -- Chef Bob Hiller, Comida Artesenal;
• Chefs' Choice Best Chef -- Marshall Shafkowitz, Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food.
Other participants included 28 Springs; Bordinos Restaurant and Wine Bar; Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food; Café Rue Orleans; Comida Artesenal Tapas Bar; Local Flavor Cafe; Meme's Caribbean Flavour; Mockingbird Kitchen; Southern Food Company; Springdale Country Club; Theo's Fayetteville; and Tula.
The garden's Terrific Tuesday Nights kicked off this past week. Through August, the the garden will be open and free to the public from 5 to 8 p.m. Liz Atwell, communications director, tells me: "This family-friendly series allows the Northwest Arkansas community and beyond to experience the garden on beautiful summer evenings."
There will also be three free concerts this year:
• June 22 -- Bill Dollar & Loose Change;
• July 13 – The Austin Farnam Quartet; and
• August 17 – Dandelion Heart.
For more event photos -- nwadg.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected]
At a Glance
Chefs in the Garden
Who: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
What: Area chefs provided bites and beverages while competing for top honors.
When: May 25
Where: The garden in Fayetteville
Next: Terrific Tuesday Nights
Information: (479) 750-2620 or bgozarks.org