Pulaski Technical College faculty, staff and students took top honors Sunday night in the 2011 Chef Ball, sponsored by the American Culinary Federation Central Arkansas Chapter.
Todd R. Gold, CEC, CCA, AAC, director of the PTC Arkansas Culinary School Programs, was named Chef of the Year, making him the only chef to receive that honor three times--2003, 2006, and 2010.
The Warren Eyman Memorial Scholarship Student of the Year award went to LaBrilya (Bree) Robinson, a culinary student who works as a prep cook at The Peabody Hotel Little Rock. Jennifer Stoelting, CC, a PTC graduate who works at the Finish Line Cafe as a sous chef, was named Sous Chef of the Year.
Also Chef Robert Best presented Peter Brave, owner of Brave New Restaurant, with the Hall of Fame Award, and staff from the Culinary School surprised Todd Gold with the "Gold Award" for his dedication to the culinary school.
The Formica and Ben E. Keith Culinary Community Service Award went to Rob Best, CEC, culinary faculty at the PTC Arkansas Culinary School and owner of Simply the Best Catering. Rusty Mathis, general manager of Ben E. Keith, presented the award.
All of the winners received standing ovations at the event, which featured a six-course dinner prepared by some of Arkansas' finest chefs. Gov. Mike Beebe, who attended the event with his wife, Ginger, applauded the chefs as among "the finest in the country." Celebrity Chef Sam Choy, well-known for his appearance on The Food Network and on Iron Chef America, also spoke to guests about his Hawaiian regional specialties.
Among the specialties guests enjoyed were hors d' oeuvres prepared by Chef William Ginocchio, CEC, from the PTC Arkansas Culinary School, and an appetizer of Petite Cheese and Tomato Aspic prepared by Chef Suzanne Campbell, CEC, from the PTC Arkansas Culinary School. Chef Sam Choy prepared a poke salad of ahi tuna with fresh vegetables, somen noodles, which was paired with a Creamy Mushroom Soup prepared by Chef Jamie McAfee, CEC of the Pine Bluff Country Club.
PTC Arkansas Culinary School lead instructor Chef Cindy East Malik, CEC prepared the fish course of Trout en Papillote with fresh trout, masa harina, green beans and red peppers baked inside a corn husk.
Chef Can Capello of the Chenal Country Club, the reigning Arkansas Diamond Chef, prepared an entrée of smoked beef flat iron with cheddar grits, with bacon-wrapped asparagus and pickled mushroom salad. For dessert, Peabody Chefs Andre Poirot and Heidi Eppling prepared a pastry of light meringue filled with ice cream and chocolate ganache.
Gold sponsors for the event were Ben E. Keith company and Glazer's Distributors of Arkansas. Special thanks go to Celebrity Chef Sam Choy, Governor Mike Beebe, Pulaski Technical College, Party Time Rentals, Floral Express, Chenal Country club, Finish Line Café, Big Rock Bistro, Peabody Hotel, Lisa Fischer, Sysco Foods, Kenneth Lipsmeyer. U.S. Foodservice, Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School.