Fayetteville Roots Festival adds world-class chefs to 2017 lineup

Guest chefs and foodies at this year’s Fayetteville Roots Festival include Maricel Presilla, Pecko Zantilaveevan, Joe Kwon, Justin Carlisle, Sachin Chopra, and Digby Stridiron

Courtesy photos

Fayetteville Roots Festival has been known to bring some of the top touring acts in folk, Americana, and roots music to Fayetteville each fall since the event began in 2009.

Now, organizers are working to bring in some of the world’s top culinary rock stars as well.

The festival this month announced the lineup of world-class chefs that will prepare an award-winning cuisine during the 2017 event, set for Aug. 23-27 at various locations around Fayetteville.

It’s an impressive lineup. The event will bring in five guest chefs from all over the world to prepare food at various events this year, including four-time James Beard award nominee and two-time winner, Maricel Presilla; Four Seasons Restaurant (New York, NY) chef Pecko Zantilaveevan; 2016 James Beard nominee for best chef in the midwest, Justin Carlisle; St. Croix, Virgin Islans chef Digby Stridiron; and San Francisco Michelin-starred chef Sachin Chopra.

That’s in addition to some of the award-winning local chefs that will also be preparing food at the festival’s various concerts and events, including Matthew McClure of The Hive in Bentonville, William Lyle of Eleven at Crystal Bridges, Patrick Lane of Arsaga’s Depot, Jerrmy Gawthrop of Greenhouse Grille, and several others.

Gawthrop, who has also helped to organize Fayetteville Roots Festival since its inception, said bringing in some outside chefs to expand the culinary appeal of the event is another natural progression for the event.

“Food has always been a huge part of Fayetteville Roots Festival,” he said. “We’ve always said we want to treat the musicians like family, and the chefs and farmers like rock stars. This is just the next phase of that.”

The guest chefs will participate in various events, including an exclusive day on Aug. 23 at Crystal Bridges; the festival’s annual VIP Opening event and Grand Tasting on Aug. 24 at Pratt Place; master classes at Brightwater culinary institute in Bentonville on Aug. 25; and others.

Some other big name foodies will be at this year’s event. Among them, Avett Brothers cellist and food blogger Joe Kwon will attend a handful of events, along with television host, garden designer, and conservationist, P. Allen Smith.

More details about the food-related events planned for this year’s festival will be released soon.

Musical headliners this year are Iron & Wine, The Wood Brothers, Rodney Crowell, John Paul White, Elephant Revival, and others. Many ticketed events for 2017 are already sold out, although there are a handful of late-night tickets shows still available, and there are always several free events at venues around town that are available on a first-come, first serve basis.

For a bit more information about the event, visit fayettevilleroots.com.

Chef bios provided by Fayetteville Roots Festival

Chef Maricel Presilla

Chef Presilla is the first Latin American woman to have been invited as a guest chef at the White House. She was nominated twice for James Beard Foundation journalism awards for articles written for Saveur magazine. She was a four-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee and won as Best Chef Mid-Atlantic in May 2012. A year later, May 2013, her book Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America was named Cookbook of the Year by the James Beard Foundation. The International Association of Culinary Professionals chose Gran Cocina Latina as the best general book in April 2013. Presilla is the chef and co-owner of Cucharamama in Hoboken, New Jersey, Zafra and Ultramarinos, her Latin American marketplace, bakery and chocolate shop are also in Hoboken. She specializes in the foods of Latin America and Spain. She also holds a doctorate in medieval Spanish history from New York University and has received formal training in cultural anthropology.

Chef Pecko Zantilaveevan

A native of Thailand who immigrated to the US in his late teens. Chef Pecko got his start in Manhattan restaurants with Christian Delouvrier in Restaurant Maurice. Encouraged by Delouvrier, who saw great promise in the young cook, Chef Pecko accepted a line cook position with Daniel Boulud who was then Le Cirque’s executive chef. Chef Pecko began his Four Seasons career in 1996 when he was hired as a sous chef under Christian Albin. From his earliest creations, Chef Pecko impressed the chef with dishes that made the critics rave. As a result, in 2000, Chef Pecko was named The Four Seasons’ Chef de Cuisine. In 2010, Chef Pecko was named executive chef. Today he is front and center, managing every aspect of the kitchen and its cuisine. Classically trained with a love of the Asian ingredients, Chef Pecko’s focuses on creating delicious seasonal menus that offer something for every pocketbook.

Chef Justin Carlisle

Chef Carlisle grew up on a small beef farm in rural Wisconsin and food has always played a large part of his life. Starting in small restaurants the passion for cooking grew and help developed a love of food and hard work ethic. His restaurant Ardent – opened in October of 2013, has been named one of the 15 best new restaurants by Condé Nast Traveler; Best Restaurant in the State of Wisconsin by the Business Insider; and was named semifinalist for Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. Justin is a James Beard Awards nominee for Best Chef Midwest for 2015, 2016; and he has been named nominee again this year on the same category. As Plate Magazine names him one of the top 30 chefs to watch in 2016. During his time as a Chef, Justin has continued to support the local food movement and use a modern technical approach to it.

Chef Sachin Chopra

Chef Sachin got his start working in kitchens in him native India, and went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Chef Sachin’s All Spice in San Mateo, California, a Michelin one-star establishment, is blazing a new trail in cuisine. Although Indian by heritage, his food is not necessarily that. Although classically French trained, Sachin’s techniques are not defined solely in that manner, either. Instead, his style is modern, elegant and expressive, inspired by local ingredients, global flavors and his own spirited imagination. All Spice is very personal restaurant that is a reflection of Sachin Chopra’s culture, training and forthright approach to cooking.

Chef Digby Stidiron

You could say Chef Digby Stridiron was born into food. A native of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Chef Digby grew up around what many today call the “slow food” movement—fresh, locally harvested ingredients and proteins gathered from the sea just steps away. He’s both an official member of the Slow Food Movement and the James Beard Foundation, and was the first chef to host a James Beard dinner in the Virgin Islands. Chef Digby was named as the 2014-2015 Caribbean Chef of the year. He was later in that year awarded the role as “Culinary Ambassador of the US Virgin Islands.” Chef Digby is living his childhood dream owning and operating Balter; a contemporary West Indian kitchen in downtown Christiansted, St.Croix.

Joe Kwon

Joe is the cellist for the Grammy-nominated band The Avett Brothers. For the past decade, he has toured internationally and recorded several albums, four of which were produced by Rick Rubin. When he is home from tour, Joe serves as a community organizer, both in his personal life and for event, and Habitat for Humanity, Joe has raised over a hundred thousand of dollars for families and children in need in the past five years. Joe is a foodie, avid home chef and has blogged for years about food on the road via his Taste on Tour blog.

P. Allen Smith

P. Allen Smith, author, television host and conservationist, is one of America’s most recognized gardening experts. His show Garden Home airs on public television, and Garden Style is in syndication. Smith uses his Arkansas home, Moss Mountain Farm, as an epicenter for promoting the local food movement, organic gardening and the preservation of heritage poultry breeds. He created his farm to serve as a place of inspiration, education and conservation and provides visitors from around the country with tours of his property.

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