(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – Queen Wilhelmina State Park took home the top prize today at the Arkansas State Park’s Top Chef Competition. It was the first time they won in the seven years of the contest. Five park restaurants participated in the event, sponsored by Ben E. Keith, at the Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute.
“We made a fajita salad with roasted asparagus,” said winning Chef Ken Morse. “We think it was our special seasoning on the fajita steak that caught the attention of the judges.”
Contestants from Queen Wilhelmina, DeGray Lake Resort, Petit Jean, Mount Magazine and Ozark Folk Center state parks prepared a new entrée and sides that each restaurant does not currently have on its menu but is considering adding it as a selection.
Judges from the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, Ben E. Keith and UAMS used criteria such as flavor, presentation, and workstation tidiness to crown the victor.
This year, teams didn’t know the protein and used the pantry provided. The use of locally sourced ingredients and creating a healthy option of an old favorite was encouraged. And the prize for winning this exciting competition besides a trophy? The most valuable of all – bragging rights among our restaurants!
About Arkansas State Parks
Arkansas State Parks is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism. Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark, 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and War Memorial Stadium.The state parks have 1,800 campsites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, five lodges, and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year.
Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism, and provide leadership in resource conservation. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and visit ArkansasStateParks.com and ArkansasStateParks.com/media to learn more about everything we have to offer.