The University of Arkansas – Pulaski Tech Foundation is gearing up for its 11th year of fierce food competition. Diamond Chef Arkansas 2018 is set for 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 at the UA – Pulaski Tech Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute.
Individual tickets cost $150. Sponsorships start at $2,500. For more information or to buy tickets, click here. Read on to meet two of this year’s competitors. Click here to read about more of the chefs.

Joseph Salgueiro

If given a choice among beer, bourbon or wine, Joseph Salgueiro of Pleasant Valley Country Club says he’d choose wine and tequila. Salgueiro brings a taste of the Big Apple to Little Rock; he learned the tools of the trade in New York City. He previously assisted executive chef Jean Christophe Michele at La Tour d’Argent in Paris, spent six years as a sous chef at the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City, and served as chef de cuisine at The Peabody in Little Rock and executive chef at 1620 Savoy. The best cooking advice he’s ever gotten? “Cook from your heart, do not take short cuts,” Salgueiro says.

Mary Beth Ringgold

Mary Beth Ringgold of Capers Restaurant, Cajun’s Wharf and Copper Grill is the reigning Diamond Chef champion. When she earned the title in 2017, she became the first woman in Diamond Chef history to win, and she’s looking to keep her place at the top. Ringgold hopes that her victory has inspired other ladies in the restaurant industry, which can often be a male-dominated space. She especially hopes that the students at University of Arkansas – Pulaski Tech see her success and realize that they, too, can follow in her footsteps. If you asked her about her secret weapon or ingredient, it’s simple: she favors fresh herbs over dry spices, even growing them herself in spring and summer.
Related: Meet the Diamond Chef Contestants Part 1 »
Related: Meet the Diamond Chef Contestants Part 2 »