Arkansas Chef Named Semifinalist for James Beard Award

 

Executive chef Matthew McClure of The Hive at 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville has been named a semifinalist for the 2018 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards in the Best Chef: South category for the 5th year in a row. The full list of semifinalists can be found online.

Established in 1990, and often referred to as the “Academy Awards of food,” the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards recognize culinary professionals for achievement in their respective fields. The final list of nominees for all award categories will be announced on Wednesday, March 14, during a press conference in Philadelphia. Nominations will be streamed live and announced in real time on Twitter.

“The James Beard Foundation should be applauded for their efforts to improve our food system. I am honored to be considered for this coveted award for the fifth year in a row and bring well-deserved recognition to the cuisine of my home state. It is a testament to the hard work and values of the team at The Hive. An affiliation with this organization that is working to better our world for everyone is an important part of my personal goals as well as the goals I have for the Hive,” said McClure.

At The Hive, McClure showcases the refined, country cuisine of the High South, focusing on the ingredients of Northwest Arkansas and the region’s traditional methods of cooking. McClure was a James Beard Award semi-finalist for the “Best Chef: South” award in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, and was a speaker at the 2016 James Beard Foundation Conference: Now Trending: The Making of a Food Movement. McClure was awarded Food & Wine magazine’s “The People’s Best New Chef” award for the Midwest in 2015. He is also an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and supporter of No Kid Hungry.

Matthew McClure was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, where hunting, fishing and his grandmother’s cooking ignited his passion for food. After studying at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, he settled in Boston working at a number of restaurants including Troquet, Harvest and No. 9 Park under the direction of Barbara Lynch.

After years in Boston, Matt was eager to get back to his home state to reconnect with the ingredients and foodways of his childhood. He returned to Little Rock where he worked under Lee Richardson at Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel, developing strong relationships with local farmers and producers and rediscovering the agricultural resources of his home state. Matt joined the opening team of The Hive, located at 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville in 2012.

About 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville

21c Museum Hotel Bentonville is a combination boutique hotel, contemporary art museum and restaurant modeled after the award-winning flagship in Louisville, Kentucky. Building on its mission of engaging the public with contemporary art and supporting the revitalization of American downtowns, 21c Bentonville features 12,000 square feet of museum, meeting and event space. The museum exhibits the work of living artists and is open free of charge to the public. 21c serves as a key link in the emerging arts promenade that connects downtown Bentonville to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The hotel incorporates 104 guest rooms — including a one-bedroom 21c Suite with a terrace — that embrace the founders’ ethos of “living with art.” Architect Deborah Berke’s design integrates extensive natural lighting throughout the 100,000 square foot property, which also features a spacious ballroom and state-of-the-art meeting and conference rooms, outdoor spaces for private functions and The Hive restaurant. Led by award-winning chef and Arkansas native Matthew McClure, The Hive emphasizes the unique culinary identity and ingredients of Arkansas. For more information visit 21cmuseumhotels.com.

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