Fayetteville Roots Festival releases chef lineup for 2018 event

Chefs Edward Lee, Tandy Wilson, Digby Stridiron, Asha Gomez, Merlin Verrier, and Shaun O’Neale, and others will be cooking at Fayetteville Roots Festival this year

Courtesy photos

The music lineup for this year’s Fayetteville Roots Festival was released back in January, but these days, folks get just about as excited about the food at the festival as they do the music.

That’s because, in addition the headliners like Gillian Welch, Turnpike Troubadours, and Josh Ritter are for some, some rockstars of the culinary world are also beginning to turn out for the festival each fall in Fayetteville.

Festival organizers this week announced the lineup of local, regional, and nationally renowned chefs that will be preparing the food at a host of events planned during the 2018 event, set for Aug. 22-26 at various places around Fayetteville and the surrounding area.

One of the food headliners of this year’s event is four-time James Beard Award nominee and Top Chef contestant Edward Lee. Lee, who will be leading a master class at Brightwater school in Bentonville on August 24, is the owner of 610 Magnolia, Milkwood and Whiskey Dry restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky, and Succotash in Washington DC. He is also well known as the author of books on food and culture, including Butterfly Graffiti and Smoke & Pickles. In addition, Lee was the creative force behind the feature-length documentary, Fermented, one of the official selections for the Seattle International Film Festival last year.

Chefs Darwin Beyer and William Lyle prepare food at a 2017 Fayetteville Roots Festival event

Photo: Meredith Mashburn

Other nationally-known chefs that will be in town to cook at the festival include James Beard Award winner Tandy Wilson (City House, Nashville, TN); Denver-based chef Merlin Verrier (The Next Door, The Kitchen, Denver, CO) who cooked for Obama and Oprah on the presidents 49th birthday; Master Chef season 7 winner Shaun O’Neale; James Beard Award nominee, author, and chef Asha Gomez (Spice to Table, Atlanta, GA), and St. Croix, Virgin Islans chef Digby Stridiron.

Renowned Arkansas chefs set to participate in this year’s festival include Jason Paul of Heirloom in Rogers, Matthew McClure of The Hive in Bentonville, and Matthew Bell of South on Main in Little Rock.

Culinary events scheduled for this year’s festival include a Roots Chefs Dinner on Aug. 22 at The Hive, featuring chefs Chef Tandy Wilson, Chef Matthew Bell, Chef Matthew McClure and Chef Phoebe Lawless creating a five-course meal with an “Ozarks in the Summer Theme.”

That same evening, chefs Chef Merlin Verrier, Chef Digby Stridiron, Chef Anton Abrezov, Chef Jason Paul, Chef Casey Copeland, Chef Justus Moll, and Chef Matthew Cooper will prepare tasting stations at Roots at the Record in Bentonville during the Mavis Staples and Booker T. Jones show.

On Saturday, a new all-day event titled Roots Food & Spirits is planned at Pratt Place at Markham hill featuring more than 30 chefs, both visiting and from around the region, preparing tasting stations, themed tastings, lectures, workshops, guided foraging walks, demonstrations, and other events.

Some of the food from last year’s event

Photo: Meredith Mashburn

That’s all in addition to the stellar music lineup at t his year’s event, that includes Gillian Welch, Turnpike Troubadours, Josh Ritter, Mavis Staples, Gregory Alan Isakov, Booker T. Jones, Del McCourey Band, John Fullbright, Mary Gauthier, Birds of Chicago, Joe Purdy, Smokey & The Mirror, and others.

We’ll have additional details about all the individual culinary events as the festival draws nearer.

In the meantime, prepare your tastebuds for deliciousness at Fayetteville Roots Festival this fall.

2018 Fayetteville Roots Festival Culinary Lineup

Edward Lee – Milkwood, 610 Magnolia (Louisville, KY), Succotash (D.C.)
Tandy Wilson – City House (Nashville, TN)
Merlin Verrier – The Next Door, The Kitchen (Denver, CO)
Shaun O’Neale – Master Chef Winner: Season 7
Asha Gomez – (Atlanta, GA)
Digby Stridiron – (St. Croix, V.I.)
Crescent Dragonwagon – (New York, NY)
Phoebe Lawless Scratch – (Durham, NC)
Matthew McClure – The Hive (Bentonville, AR)
Anton Abrezov – (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Jennifer Booker – (Atlanta, GA)
Nico Albert – MixCo. (Tulsa, OK)
Jason Paul- Heirloom (Rogers, AR)
Matthew Bell – South on Main (Little Rock, AR)
William Lyle – Summit (Tulsa, OK)
Casey Copeland – The Avenue (Hot Springs, AR)
Michael Robertshaw – Persephone (Rogers, AR)
John Lupton – Wood Stone Pizza (Fayetteville, AR)
William McCormick – Eleven at Crystal Bridges (Bentonville, AR)
Matthew Cooper – Preacher’s Son (Bentonville, AR)
Patrick Lane – The Depot (Fayetteville, AR)
Rob Nelson – Tusk & Trotter, Butcher & Pint (Bentonville, AR)
Justus Moll – The River Grille (Bentonville, AR)
Darwin Beyer – Meiji (Fayetteville, AR)
Reed Faitak – Austin Daily Press (Austin, TX)
Luke Wetzel – Oven & Tap (Bentonville, AR)
Chrissy Sanderson – Mockingbird Kitchen (Fayetteville, AR)
Joshua Walters – MOD (Bentonville, AR)
Travis McConnell – Pressroom (Bentonville, AR)
Anne Carroll – The Farmer’s Table (Fayetteville, AR)
Kurt Plankenhorn – 28 Springs (Siloam Springs, AR)
Rafael Ruis – Yeyo’s (Bentonville, AR)
Maudie Schmidt – Cafe Rue Orleans (Fayetteville, AR)
Sean Sterling – Sai Wok (Rogers, AR)
Matthew Barclay – Bordino’s (Fayetteville, AR)
Cody Johnson – Apple Blossom Brewing Co. (Fayetteville, AR)
Heather Artripe – Ozark Natural Foods (Fayetteville, AR)
Mike Wilson – South in your Mouth (Fayetteville, AR)

This article is sponsored by First Security Bank. For more great stories of Arkansas food, travel, sports, music and more, visit onlyinark.com.