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Local chefs compete in Diamond Chef preliminaries

Four area chefs will show off their culinary prowess in a fast-paced demonstration of culinary skill, talent and creativity today in the preliminary competition of Diamond Chef, sponsored by the Pulaski Technical College Foundation.

The cooking competition begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School, located at 4901 Asher Ave., in the Performance Food Group building.

Featured chefs include Richard Allan, executive chef for Dillard's Bistro 1600; Shane Henderson, chef for Simply the Best Catering; Donnie Ferneau, owner of Ferneau's restaurant in Little Rock; and Cynthia East, lead instructor at the Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School.

The first heat, beginning at 4:30 p.m., will feature Chefs Allan and Henderson. Chefs Ferneau and East will compete in the second heat at 5:30 p.m., with winners from each heat competing at 6:30 p.m.

The overall winner will then compete June 5 against Andre Poirot, executive chef at the Peabody Little Rock. That competition begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Peabody Little Rock ballroom. Tickets to that event cost $125 per person with proceeds benefiting the Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School.

"We have a fabulous line-up of local talented chefs for this event," said Todd Gold, executive director of the Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School. "There's no doubt there will be stiff competition, which will make the night all the more entertaining."

The competition will follow the format of the popular Iron Chef television show. Each chef and his or her sous-chef will have 40 minutes to prepare a dish using a key ingredient, which will be announced just prior to the competition. Chefs will be judged on plate presentations, creativity and taste.

Admission to the preliminary competition is free, but reservations are required. To reserve a seat, call Jamie Higgins at 501-812-2271 or e-mail jhiggins@pulaskitech.edu

Guest judges include Kelley Bass, a food writer; Jim Montgomery with Glazers Distributors, and Jeff Matthews and Kevin Miller, deejays with radio station B98.5. KATV anchor Pamela Smith will emcee the event, and the Arkansas Culinary School will provide light hors d'eouvres.

Proceeds from Diamond Chef will benefit Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School, which currently serves 130 students who are pursuing associate degrees in culinary arts or technical certificates in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts.

Pulaski Technical College
3000 West Scenic Drive
North Little Rock, AR 72118
Phone: (501) 812-2200

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