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Thea's Blue Plate Special Celebrates the Culinary Arts


Thea Foundation is putting a new spin on the fundraiser known for the past three years as the Governor’s Culinary Challenge. In keeping with the culinary theme, the revamped and renamed Blue Plate Special, presented by Malvern National Bank and chaired by South on Main’s Chef Matthew Bell, will combine the talents of 10 touted chefs and two mixologists in support of Thea Foundation’s scholarship program.

From 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, October 17, guests will indulge in creative, delicious treats by celebrated chefs, sip unique cocktails from local drink gurus, and mingle with artists, musicians, poets and media personalities, who will assist the chefs.

Our chefs include: Matthew Bell, South on Main; Capi Peck, Trio’s; Payne Harding, Cache; Zara Abassi Wilkerson, private pastry chef/dessert consultant; Gilbert Alquinez, 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.

Mixologists are 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. Dr. Danny Fletcher and Co. will provide the music for the evening.

Chef Matthew Bell, chair of the event, is a longtime supporter of the Thea Foundation and was part of Thea’s Governor’s Culinary Challenge the past three years. "As a former musician in high school and college, I believe that practicing an art form can make our lives fuller and better,” Bell said. “The discipline, dedication and creativity I learned from 10 years of playing music helps me today as a business owner and a chef. By fighting for arts in education, the Thea Foundation is not only providing our students with a well-rounded education, they're laying the groundwork for the betterment of these children's future."

100% of proceeds from the Blue Plate Special will benefit Thea’s scholarship program. Additionally, 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. Thea’s scholarship program has awarded more than $2 million to Arkansas high school seniors since 2002. Thea scholarships are awarded based on talent, never grades, test scores or intent to major in the arts. Our 30 annual scholarships are 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.

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

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

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