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Outstanding in the Field returns with Little Rock chefs Matt Bell, Alexis Jones

Foodies with $180 to spare will want to mark their calendars for Oct. 10 when roving dinner party Outstanding in the Field returns to Arkansas.

The dinner will take place at Delta Sol Farm in Proctor (near West Memphis) and feature food prepared by Little Rock and Memphis chefs led by Kelly English of Memphis’ Restaurant Iris along with Memphis chefs Andrew Ticers and Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Jonathan Magallanes of Las Tortugas. Repping Little Rock will be Matt Bell of South on Main and Alexis Jones of Natchez. (If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our recent Q&A with Jones here.)

Outstanding in the Field 2012 in Scott, Arkansas. Photo by Arshia Kahn

Outstanding in the Field 2012 in Scott, Arkansas at Scott Heritage Farm. Photo by Arshia Khan

Outstanding in the field travels around North American in a red ’53 bus to do ultra farm-to-table dinners. The group was last in Arkansas in September 2012 for a dinner in Scott, Arkansas. (Check out some stellar photos from the dinner at Scott Heritage Farm, by Arshia Khan here)

The Oct. 10 meal will be a mix of “Old World Italian, French-Creole and Mexican street food cooking styles” OITF founder Jim Denevan said in … Read more >

Pickled figs? Yes, please. Natchez is an adventure in brine.

For more on pickling, check out my article in the September issue of Arkansas Life, on stands soon.

Alexis Jones has never met a fruit or vegetable she couldn’t pickle.

After tackling the method while working with chef John Currence in Oxford, Miss., Jones has tried seemingly everything from savory pickled green beans to just-tart-enough pickled blueberries and cider-like pickled apples at her downtown Little Rock restaurant, Natchez.

“They’re good palate cleansers and add notes to foods that you don’t usually see,” Jones says.

They are also relatively inexpensive and fast to make, making pickling an attractive option for people trying to get into the throwback art of canning.

“Preserving and canning are obviously making a comeback, and I think that has a little bit to do with the pickling phenomenon coming on,” Jones says.

Jones isn’t the only one trying to pickle anything but cucumbers lately. The trend has been so prevalent that IFC’s Portlandia poked fun in a skit featuring the stars pickling CD jewel cases, parking tickets and broken shoes, exclaiming “We can pickle that!”

While many chefs prefer to serve pickles with cheese and charcuterie pairings, Jones tends to incorporate hers directly into dishes. The … Read more >