New “Diamond Chef” crowned

Tuesday night, two of the state’s top chefs went head-to-head in a culinary battle only worthy of those who dare take on the challenge that is the Diamond Chef competition.

If you’ve ever seen Iron Chef, this is Arkansas’ version.

Each contestant has sixty minutes to create three dishes using a secret ingredient revealed right before the clock starts.

“We’ve got a strong team, and we’re here to win,” said Executive Chef Bonner Cameron who works at YaYa’s Bistro in Little Rock.

Tuesday’s mystery ingredient was an ostrich egg.

“What do you think will be going through your head as soon as that mystery ingredient is revealed?” asked FOX16’s Kelly Dudzik.

“Ummm, Can I say that on TV?” said Executive Chef Jason Knapp who works for Aramark at UCA.

One of the chefs got lucky preparing for the competition.

“We got an ostrich egg in yesterday, and we practiced with it. We got an eel we got from an Asian market here locally. We also got some turtle in, so we actually have three dishes in that could handle the situation,” says Cameron.

“In order to be a successful chef, you have to have sous chefs that know more than you do, so I have really good help and we’ve gone through the ingredients. We’ve kind of formulated some plans, so that’s the strategy. Get up there, and cook good food and put some love in it,” says Knapp.

The event benefits the culinary school at Pulaski Tech.

“We’ve got a new culinary school going in in a couple of years. And, I think it’s going to be a better quality of food, better restaurants, better salaries for chefs, all of the above, so I’m excited to be a part of it,” says Cameron.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions out there that Food Network has put out there, but it’s all about the love of the food and what people should gather from this is there’s some really talented people in Arkansas and hopefully make Little Rock a food destination,” says Knapp.

Tuesday, Knapp’s scores with the judges were high enough to win the competition.

Nearly seven-hundred people attended the event paying $150 each to eat a three-course steak meal.

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