One Arkansas chef is making waves on the national culinary stage again.
Arkansas chef Matthew McClure has been named a semifinalist for the 2019 James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards in the Best Chef: South category for the sixth consecutive year.
McClure joined The Hive, which is located in the 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville, in 2012. Since joining, McClure has been dishing out his unique spin on the “High South.”
James Beard nominations aren’t new for McClure. He has been nominated for “Best Chef: South” every year since 2014. In 2016, he spoke at the James Beard Foundation Conference on “Now Trending: The Making of a Food Movement.”
McClure says that being nominated for the award is an honor and that it not only recognizes his work but the food of Arkansas.
“It is an honor to be affiliated with an organization that is working to create a more sustainable and diverse food culture for everyone,” McClure says. “I am thrilled to be considered for this coveted award for the sixth 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.”
He also credits 21c for supporting his innovation. As he told AY in 2017, “21c has been incredibly supportive — they want a chef-driven restaurant. I’ve earned their trust and they give me ownership of the menu and overall decision making and that works really well. They [still] give me feedback, not wild abandonment. It’s a relationship. That’s the kind of environment I really like to be in.
Raised in Little Rock, McClure got his start by attending culinary school at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont and interning at Troquet, Harvest and No. 9 Park restaurants in Boston.
After returning to Little Rock in 2007, he worked at Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel. However, in 2012, 21c came calling. Since that time, he has racked up his James Beard nominations, in addition to being named Food & Wine Magazine’s “The People’s Best New Chef” award for the Midwest in 2015.
READ MORE: A Time Forgotten: Chef Matthew McClure Reinvigorates Southern Cuisine