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Ringgold, Hambuchen pair to co-chair Diamond Chef Arkansas 2020

Ringgold, Hambuchen pair to co-chair Diamond Chef Arkansas 2020

August 27, 2019

The University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College Foundation is pleased to announce the perfect pairing for the 13th Annual Diamond Chef Arkansas competition. Distinguished Arkansas restaurateur Mary Beth Ringgold and wine educator and columnist, Lorri Hambuchen will co-chair the event on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at UA-PTC’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute at 13000 I-30 on Little Rock. The two bring more than 60 years of combined restaurant and hospitality expertise to the table.

Mary Beth Ringgold is a highly acclaimed restaurateur throughout the state of Arkansas and nationally. She is best known as the owner of local dining favorites Copper Grill, Capers, and the legendary but recently closed Cajun’s Wharf. As a chef, Mary Beth competed in Diamond Chef winning back-to-back years, which ascended her to the Diamond Chef Hall of Fame. She was also the first and only woman to ever win the event. As a result of her Hall of Fame status, she can no longer compete in the competition. This past April, she was even asked to judge Diamond Chef, an honor reserved only for nationally-recognized culinary experts.

Lorri Hambuchen is an Arkansas native who has attended every Diamond Chef Arkansas competition since its inception. Lorri studied under the Master of Wine program by training overseas and received her diploma in Wines and Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) in London. Lorri is the owner and operator of The Wine Center, that serves as the Arkansas host for WSET programs providing globally-recognized education and qualifications in wines, spirits, and sake for professionals and enthusiasts. She has worked in the industry for more than 17 years and writes the wine column Uncorked for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

Chairing Diamond Chef together is not only the perfect pairing metaphorically speaking, it also makes good sense. As Mary Beth explains, “we are champions for this cause because it brings everyone together under one roof.” For one night, foodies and wine enthusiasts have the opportunity to enjoy every aspect of a positive and memorable dining experience. “UA - Pulaski Tech is developing the next generation of front of the house and back of the house staff and this competition connects them with their future employers, vendors, and patrons.”

“The competition, which consists of six executive chefs competing in two cooking elimination challenges, is a great demonstration of the camaraderie we have within our industry. These are my friends, I always want everyone to win,” added Lorri.

“It is very exciting to imagine how Mary Beth and Lorri will elevate Diamond Chef to the next level. Because they are intricately involved in the food and hospitality industry, I think it will make the 13th Annual Diamond Chef Arkansas a fantastic experience for everyone involved,” says Shannon Boshears, Executive Director of the UA Pulaski Tech Foundation.

The preliminary competition, Diamond Chef: Makin the Cut, will take place on Wednesday, November 13. A casting call for chefs interested in participating will be announced in September. The top six winners from Makin the Cut will advance to the Diamond Chef Arkansas competition on Thursday, April 23, 2020 where they will battle it out for the chance to compete for the title against 2019 Diamond Chef champion, Chef Jordan Davis of the Chenal Country Club. For a twist in honor of the event’s 13th year, the preliminary competition casting call will be open to a “wild card” entry for anyone who thinks their kitchen skills can compete with culinary experts.

“I couldn’t be more excited to work with these two influential ladies who are both great friends too. Of course, we have many great chefs ready to jump in and show of their culinary skills this year. I believe our 13th Diamond Chef is going to be the best one yet!” says Todd Gold, Dean of the UA Pulaski Tech Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute.

Diamond Chef Arkansas is UA – Pulaski Tech Foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds from the event support the college’s mission to provide access to high-quality education that promotes student learning and enables individuals to develop to their fullest potential.

For more information, contact Adora Curry at (501) 812-2771 or [email protected].

About the University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College Foundation, Inc.

The University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College Foundation, Inc. is the official fundraising and private gift administrator for the college and its programs. Established as a non-profit organization for educational purposes, the Foundation seeks and accepts tax-deductible gifts and manages these funds and bequests for the benefit of the college. For more information, visit
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