Thea’s Blue Plate Special Brings Chefs Together to Support Arts for Local Youth

This time of year is a whirlwind of activity – from fall festivals and specialty dinners, to charity events and parties – it’s easy to miss something notable if you’re not careful.

That’s why it’s good practice to plan and choose when this time of year rolls around – and we’ve got one event that you can’t miss – especially if you’re into supporting education and eating great food while sampling excellent drinks.

Foodies, art lovers, and foodies who love art, gear up to take part in the Thea Foundation’s Blue Plate Special. This is an revamped, updated spin on Thea’s ever-popular Governor’s Culinary Challenge which has happened in past years. Chaired by South on Main’s Chef Matthew Bell, the Blue Plate Special will be an exciting way to toast the arts in education, as 100 percent of the proceeds benefit Thea’s scholarship program.


Bell is excited to be at the helm. He says, “I truly connect with Thea’s story and the foundation’s mission. I have found success being a chef but the confidence that my almost decade of musical training gave me has been a key to that.” He invited everyone to get involved in what he believes in a universal mission, as he says, “The arts give us the foundation to learn and take on challenges. It is important to me to help kids find the medium that inspires and supports them in their future.”

Therefore, mark you calendars for Monday, Oct. 17. From 6 to 9 p.m. guests can expect to indulge in creative, delicious treats by celebrated chefs, sip unique cocktails from local drink gurus, and hear music provided by Dr. Danny Fletcher and Co. Among the chefs and mixologists, there will also be a multitude of artists, musicians, poets, and media personalities for guests to interact with.

The participating chefs include Matthew Bell, South on Main; Capi Peck, Trio’s; Payne Harding, Cache; Zara Abbasi Wilkerson, private pastry chef/dessert consultant; Gilbert Alaquinez, Forty-Two; Marc Guizol, Capital Bar & Grill; Brian Kearns, Simply the Best Catering; Jeff Owen, Ciao Baci; Stephen Burrow, Skye’s Bistro at Stratton’s Market; and Shiem Swift, The Veg. The participating mixologists include David Burnette of South on Main, and Luiggi Uzcategui of Big Orange Midtown.

Assisting the chefs and mixologists will be Korto Momolu, fashion designer and Project Runway star; Kevin Kresse, artist; Kim Meyer-Webb, editor, Inviting Arkansas; Renee Shapiro, reporter and film critic, KATV News; James Hayes, glass artist; Chris James, poet, mentor and founder of The House of Art; Chris Kane, anchor, KATV News; Lisa Fischer, morning show host, B98.5; Katie Bridges, editor, Arkansas Life; Rodney Block, musician; Helaine Williams, columnist, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; and Greg Henderson, editor, Rock City Eats.

Notably – the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation has offered a challenge grant of $25,000 to match the first $25,000 raised by the Blue Plate Special.

The Blue Plate Special is presented by Malvern National Bank and sponsored by Southland Park Gaming and Racing; Ben E. Keith; and The Capital Hotel.

Individual tickets to the Blue Plate Special are $75 and are available online or by phone at (501) 379-9512.

Thea’s scholarship program has awarded more than $2 million to Arkansas high school seniors since 2002. Thea scholarships are awarded based on talent and creativity, never grades, test scores or intent to major in the arts. There are 30 annual Thea scholarships open to high school and homeschool seniors in the categories of visual arts, performing arts, fashion design, film, creative writing, and poetry slam. Thea partners with every 4-year and 2-year college in the state of Arkansas and several national institutions, who promise to match or exceed Thea’s scholarships.


Thea’s Blue Plate Special Brings Chefs Together to Support Arts for Local Youth