Live the legacy

by Don Bingham

Chef Robert Hall is the new culinary program coordinator at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute atop Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton.

Hall’s list of cooking experience includes A Place To Eat, The Excelsior Hotel, Sundance Resort (home of the Sundance Film Festival and Robert Redford), the University of Central Arkansas and ARAMARK. Hall has won numerous awards and medals and was honored with the opportunity to work in Beijing, China, as an executive chef for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. He is a member of the American Culinary Federation, International Association of Culinary Professionals and the Confectionary Artists of Arkansas.

Chef Robert Hall (Mike Kemp photos).

Hall’s responsibilities to further the mission of WRI are manifold, and he has hit the ground running with many new and exciting program offerings. Among them is the “Saturday Chef Series,” the “Chef on Call” program and the “Taste of Teamwork” team-building experience. The goal is to encourage, enhance and further perpetuate the arts and humanities, using various means such as agriculture, environmental awareness, art and the culinary arts. The original grant from the Rockefeller Foundation enabled the inclusion of a state-of-the-art demonstration theater and hands-on food laboratory for cooking instruction as a part of the offerings on the grounds of the WRI.

The legacy that continues was started by Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller and lives today through the means of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute — University of Arkansas System. Rockefeller was determined to do anything he could to enact positive change in Arkansas. At the conclusion of his 1967 inaugural address, he said, “I dedicate my administration to the people of Arkansas.” WRI believes this dedication goes beyond the state and his time in office. The legacy aspect reflects Gov. Rockefeller’s values while furthering the educational and public service missions of the University of Arkansas System.

Just one of the many programs offered with the Institute and its beautiful facility is the culinary training program, led by Hall.

The culinary class schedule (held on Saturdays) includes:

“Christmas In July” with Don Bingham, July 16 and 23.

“The Everyday Epicurean” with Robert Henthorn, Aug. 6 and 20.

“Healthy Living” with Donnie Ferneau, Sept. 17 and 24.

“A Turkeyless Thanksgiving” with Matt Bell, Oct. 8 and 22.