|Chef Cynthia East-Malik with Todd Gold, Director of the PTC Arkansas Culinary School.|
The challenger at the next Diamond Chef Arkansas gala is Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School lead instructor Cynthia East-Malik, who won by a mere one hundredth of a point! In a spirited competition, Malik bested Chef Paul Clinton, executive chef at YaYa Euro Bistro, in the Diamond Chef Arkansas preliminary competitions at the Peabody Hotel on Wednesday.
Diamond Chef Arkansas, sponsored by the Pulaski Technical College Foundation, follows the format of the popular "Iron Chef" television series.
The competitors created their best meals for the final heat as the mystery basket was opened to reveal beef cheek, oysters on the half shell, frosted flakes, apple jacks, broccoli rabe (a.k.a. Rapini), assorted exotic fruits and Tanqueray Rangpur Gin. Competitors had to use all of the ingredients, which were revealed as the 40-minute clock began.
East-Malik and sous chef Billy Ginocchio served beef cheek and broccoli rabe in potato shortcake with brie, tropical fruit and pine nuts en croute, accompanied by oysters Rockefeller ala frosted flakes.
Clinton and Lowman served demi-glazed beef cheek with citrus oyster ceviche topped with mixed cereal and cherimoya, served with fingerling potato, cipollini onions, shallots, rum-butter broccoli rabe, and a brown butter gin béarnaise.
The judges struggled with the outcome, but there can be only one winner. Pulaski Tech congratulates Chef East - Malik, Chef Ginocchio and the PTC Arkansas Culinary School faculty and staff!
The Diamond Chef Arkansas gala on June 7 is a ticketed event at the Statehouse Convention Center. Attendees will enjoy a three-course dinner while watching the live, fast-paced competition between Chef Daniel Capello and Chef East-Malik. Tickets are $150 per person and can be purchased by calling Yvette Henton, special events officer, at (501) 812-2771, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chef Daniel Capello hopes to keep his title as Diamond Chef Arkansas for a second year in a row. Capello, who has been executive chef at the Chenal Country Club since 2009, has been cooking professionally for two decades. Before moving to Arkansas, the Texas native was an executive chef at several Houston restaurants, as well as for the corporate dining facility of British Petroleum. He's one of just a handful of chefs in the state who have earned the American Culinary Federation's Certified Executive Chef designation.
The field for the Diamond Chef preliminaries consisted of Jamie McAfee, executive chef at the Pine Bluff Country Club; Brian Kerns, executive chef of the Country Club of Little Rock; Jacob Peck, chef at Forty-Two in the Clinton Presidential Library; and Jeremy Reeves, chef at Fox Ridge Estates; and Chefs Malik and Clinton.
"It's all in good fun," Chef Capello said of the friendly competition. "We're raising money for a great cause while doing something we love to do."
Pulaski Technical College thanks all sponsors, judges, contestants, participants and volunteers for their continued support of this exciting event.