The kitchens at Conway High School’s East Campus were busy Saturday, as the Arkansas Cattle Women Association and the Arkansas Beef Council brought the Arkansas Beef Cook-Off to Conway.
The annual event featured nine youth cooks and 12 adult cooks creating recipes containing a variety of beef types. Ruby Poteet, chairman of the event, said the youth category had a theme centered around Halloween.
The cooks came from across the state from places such as Pine Bluff, Nashville, Marianna, Paragould, Vilonia, Greenbrier, Searcy and North Little Rock. Poteet said the event was funded by the Arkansas Beef Council and a part of the National Check-Off Challenge.
The cooks each had 45 minutes to prepare their dish on site.
The recipes could contain no more than 10 ingredients but could feature any beef cut.
In year’s past, Poteet, as chairwoman, has selected different criteria for the contest such as the meat having to be grilled or the youth having to prepare dishes that could be made in a dorm room.
"We want the young people cooking and eat nutritious, healthy dishes and eating beef," Poteet said.
At the national level this year, Poteet said a Sonoma-style dish was required. She said the Sonoma style featured grilled vegetables.
The winners at the Beef Cook-Off were in the Youth seventh- to ninth-grade division: first, Lauren Ince of Nashville with Witch’s Chili-Cheese Cauldron Dip; second, Meredith Williams of Searcy with Scary Eyeballs and Finger Nachos; and third, Lauren Bradley of North Little Rock with Jack O Lantern Beef Skillet; 10th to 12th grade: first place, Benjamin Williams of Searcy with Meaty Mummy Mound; Chelsea Benson of Marianna with Ghostly Cows ‘n’ Gravestones; and third, Sarah Smith of Amity with Meaty Monster Munch; adult division: first, Sandra Bradley of North Little Rock with Sonoma Ribeyes; second, Elizabeth Ferguson of Pine Bluff with Ground Chuck Filet Mignon; and third, Linda Blake of Little Rock with Skillet Steak and Vegetables.
The Beef Cook-Off has been held at several locations around the state, but Poteet hopes the organizations will be invited back to Conway next year.
"The cooks like to have the privacy," she said. "It has worked so well, I hope we get invited back," she said.