Fayetteville Roots Festival Adds Chef Cook-Off


The Fayetteville Roots Festival has picked up steam each year since it began in 2010; bigger names, bigger venues, more attendees, and more regional buzz about this home-grown festival that is putting American “roots” music in the spotlight for one foot-stomping, hand-clapping weekend in August. This year, a new event has been added to the schedule that attendees should put on their “must see” list for Saturday: the Fayetteville Roots Festival & Fayetteville Farmers’ Market Chef Cook-Off.

“There has always been food everywhere, and music everywhere…” says Roots Fest co-founder, Jerrmy Gawthrop, “but this idea came from the desire to create a performance-based, food-themed attraction for the festival.” Basically, he had the idea to gather the foodie folks in one place for a throw-down that represents everything that he and his co-creators value about the growing Northwest Arkansas food scene – local ingredients, killer chef skills, and a full measure of good-natured competition between the dining districts in Benton and Washington counties.

Four teams will compete based on the “Iron Chef” model. Teams will be comprised of one chef from Benton county and one chef from Washington county. Each team will have $50.00, one mystery ingredient (a protein) and one hour to plan and shop the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market. Once they have their ingredients, they will cook like mad for thirty minutes to create what they hope will be the winning dish for four judges. Jerrmy is keeping the judges’ names to himself… any guesses on who they might be??

The winning team will be adored and cheered by their legion of fans, of course, but the big payoff goes to local charities. Each winning chef receives $2,500 worth of Crystal Lake Farms chicken to be donated to their favorite local food-based charity.

As author Gregory David Roberts wrote: “Food is music to the body, music is food to the heart.” Both are being celebrated this weekend at the Fayetteville Roots Festival. See you there.


Where: Festival Plaza @ Fayetteville Town Center, 15 West Mountain Street, Fayetteville, AR

When: Saturday, August 29, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (times are approximate – competition starts around 9:30)

Benton County Chefs: Jason Paul – Heirloom, Justus Moll – River Grill, William Lyle – Eleven @ Crystal Bridges, Michael Robertshaw – Pressroom

Washington County Chefs: Darwin Beyer – Meiji, San Lio, Jared Hickman – Greenhouse Grille, Ethan Altom – Bordino’s, Patrick Lane – Arsaga’s Depot

Sponsors for the event: US Foods, Metro Appliances & More, NWA Restaurant Equipment & Supply, Ozark Natural Foods, Crystal Lake Farms


Fayetteville Roots Festival Adds Chef Cook-Off