New this year to Fayetteville Roots is the Food & Spirits event this Saturday at the Pratt Place. The event serves as the cornerstone for the culinary programming, providing nearly a full day of food and spirit related activities.
The event itself combines some existing content such as the Taste & Talk series, Chef and drink pairings, cooking demos, and the annual chef cook-off along with a number of new content for the event. All consolidated into one day at one location running from 10:30 until 5:30 when the musical guest takes over.
The Taste & Talk series, moderated by Daniel Hintz, has traditionally been a great way to learn about areas that the chefs participating are passionate about. This year has four main focus sessions: Farm to Fork, Women Who Grind, Global Comfort Food, Food in Recovery Mode. Speakers include Digby Stridiron, Rafael Rios, Robin Ralston Rice, Jennifer Hill Booker, Chrissy Sanderson, Anton Abrezov, Asha Gomez, Don Bennett, and Melissa Terry. Programming runs from 11:15 to 6:30 on the main stage.
The Tasting Tent pairs chefs and drinks for a food and spirit focused tasting. The first group from 12-2pm pairs chefs with local and regional breweries while the second group from 3-5pm pairs chefs with their restaurant’s bar for a great food and cocktail mix.
Along the same line, the Experiential Dining Tent brings food and an experience together from 11am-5pm. These include discussions, readings, meet and greets, and even a blindfolded dining experience.
Fayetteville Roots wouldn’t be complete without a chef competition in the Competition Tent. New this year is a High School Iron Chef competition, allowing local students to participate, along with a new bar and chef competition forcing chefs and bartenders to pair up to create a food and cocktail experience.
This is also where you will find the traditional farmer’s market cookoff at 3:30 pm. The event is moved from the Fayetteville Farmer’s market to the new location to give more space for the chefs and viewers. Instead of market items, chefs who are paired will have a limited pantry of ingredients to work from along with a mystery ingredient. This year will feature two rounds, one paired and one individually against one another. Chefs participating include:
Chef Casey Copeland (The Avenue, Hot Springs, AR), Chef Sarah Chase (The Indigo, Tulsa, OK),
Chef Anne Carrol (Farmer’s Table, Fayetteville, AR), Chef Eric Webb (Bentonville, AR), Chef Reed Faitak (Austin Daily Press, Austin, TX) Chef Justus Moll (River Grille, Bentonville, AR), Chef Sean Sterling (Sai Wok, Rogers, AR), and Chef Brent Hale (Big Sexy Foods, Rogers, AR)
The Food and Spirits event also offers a number of educational, demonstration, and tasting stations throughout the event.
Tickets to the event are currently sold out but are a part of the culinary pass option if you picked that up.