Kat Robinson sent me an e-mail this morning about the 2015 James Beard nominees, and there are a couple of Arkansas folks on the list of semi-finalists. Personally, I think there are a number of chefs and restaurants in our fair state worthy of Beard recognition every year, but I understand that sometimes they have to let other places get a mention so that the rest of the country doesn’t get jealous.
The newly remodeled and revamped One Eleven at the Capital has garnered a nomination for “Best New Restaurant,” and I think it is well-deserved. I had the best steak of my life at One Eleven, and nothing I’ve tasted from the Chef Joel Antunes and team has been anything less than of the highest excellence. New bar and coffee offerings have really elevated things at One Eleven, and I think even the most staunch fan of the old Ashley’s has to admit that things are better than ever at the Capital.
And from Northwest Arkansas, Chef Matthew McClure at The Hive has scored his second Beard nomination for Best Chef in the South. Chef McClure is part of a growing food movement in Bentonville and the surrounding areas that emphasizes local food done in delicious ways. There may not be a more exciting place in the country right now than Northwest Arkansas in terms of quality food, so I think Chef McClure has a very good chance of winning this thing.
Congratulations to One Eleven and Chef McClure!