Fayetteville Roots Fest is a five-day food and music festival dedicated to showcasing the unique qualities of Arkansas. It will be held August 22-26, 2018. Roots Fest supports local restaurants, farmers and chefs. From the beginning, food has been a large part of the event, Roots co-founder Jerrmy Gawthrop of Greenhouse Grille told AY last year. Originally, it was a party spread of local food set for about 400 people, and over time it’s only grown. Roots Fest has been putting more focus on the food each year, adding more food-focused events and tastings. This year, Arkansas chefs Matthew Bell and Matthew McClure will be attending this food and music festival.

Chef Matt Bell and his wife Amy, the brains behind South on Main in Little Rock

Matt and Amy Bell

Chef Matthew Bell attended Le Cordon Bleu in Texas before moving to Arkansas. Locally, he worked at Ristorante Capeo and Ashley’s Restaurant at the Capital Hotel before opening South on Main in Little Rock with his wife, Amy. Bell enjoys giving back and he and his wife, Amy, are involved in No Kid Hungry. The pair organized an annual benefit dinner featuring all-star chefs from around the country. They’re involved with Little Rock’s Our House Shelter and Thea Foundation, too. And although he is from Montana, Bell loves the heritage of Southern food. At South On Main, elegant Southern food is served in a casual setting.

Matthew McClure of 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville

Matt McClure

Matthew McClure was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, where hunting, fishing and his grandmother’s cooking ignited his passion for food. He studied at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont and was part of the opening team for The Hive in Bentonville. McClure was 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. McClure loves to take risks in his cooking and draws inspiration from Asian and Central and South American food. Like the Bell’s, he supports No Kid Hungry’s mission to end childhood hunger in America. Regarding his success, McClure gives credit to his wife, Jenny Ahlen, and to his staff at The Hive.
McClure and Bell will be joined by a powerhouse lineup of local and national chefs at the August event. Other Arkansas names include Jason Paul of Heirloom in Rogers, Michael Robertshaw of Persephone in Rogers, Luke Wetzel of Oven & Tap in Bentonville and Matthew Cooper of Preacher’s Son in Bentonville. See the full list of chefs here. You can also buy festival tickets here.
READ MORE: Arkansas Power Couple Matt and Amy Bell »