There are Oscars for movie stars, Grammys for musicians and Pulitzers for journalists. And then there are the James Beard Foundation Awards, the highest marks for chefs in America. Nominations are highly selective, and winners rare.

This year, three Arkansas entities earned nominations (alas, not awards, which were announced in June). Chef Rafael Rios of Yeyo’s Mexican Street Food and Chef Matthew McClure of The Hive at 21c Museum Hotel were both nominated for Best Chef South, while The Preacher’s Son received a nod for Best Hospitality. All three of these restaurants are located in Bentonville, which has seen an extraordinary growth and evolution to its culinary scene in the past 10 years.

While other Arkansas chefs have previously received JBF nominations, this is the first time three chefs in Arkansas have been recognized at once, let alone three from the same city:

Chef Rafael Rios, Yeyo’s Mexican Street Food

Chef Neal Gray, The Preacher’s Son

Chef Matthew McClure, The Hive at 21c Museum Hotel


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