Diamond Chef: Meet the Contestants

Brandon Douglas, Casey Copeland, Coby Smith are Diamond Chef Arkansas contestants

Brandon Douglas (left), Casey Copeland (middle) and Coby Smith (right) are three of this year’s Diamond Chef Arkansas contestants.

The University of Arkansas – Pulaski Tech Foundation is gearing up for its 11th year of fierce food competition. 2018 Diamond Chef Arkansas 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 three of this year’s competitors, and stay tuned to learn more about the rest of the chefs.

Brandon Douglas

Brandon Douglas is the executive chef of Green Leaf Grill of Little Rock, where he provides healthy meals with fine dining flair for Arkansas Blue Cross guests and employees. Previous work experience includes Big Rock Bistro and Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Douglas earned his executive chef designation at UA – Pulaski Technical College’s culinary school. Some of Douglas’ recipes include Blackened Shrimp with Collard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas, Black Cod Misoyaki and Orecchiette Pasta Bake.

Casey Copeland

Casey Copeland is the award-winning chef dishing out upscale eats at The Avenue in Hot Springs. A Texas native, Copeland is no stranger in the the kitchen and has been cooking since he was fifteen years old. Copeland attended Texas Culinary Academy – Le Cordon Bleu. Entrees at The Avenue include Confited Duck Leg and Sweet Tea Chicken.

Coby Smith

Coby Smith of the Arkansas Heart Hospital in Little Rock is well-known for serving up gourmet Japanese ramen, which earned him a spotlight on CBS News in February. Smith visited Tokyo himself, where he taste-tested a variety of authentic ramen dishes to inspire him back home. Smith is the director of food and nutrition at the hospital, a certified executive chef and a certified dietary manager.

Related: Meet the Diamond Chef Contestants Part 2 »

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