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A Visit to Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food

Last year, I went to Northwest Arkansas to present as a chef in the Fayetteville Roots Festival. It was a really special experience because I taught a VIP women-only butchering and cooking class as part of my time there and got to meet women who had driven from all over to be there. We made this chicken tagine recipe from the chickens that we butchered and then sat down for a beautiful lunch at a textile studio that was next door. Part of my time there was a visit to Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food, and it was such an inspiring place that we were able to include it in Season 1 of my show Modern Pioneering on public television. I taught the class in their state-of-the-art kitchens as well as in their teaching auditorium and it was unforgettable.

What sets Brightwater apart from other culinary schools?

Brightwater is inspired by Mercato Cetrale public market in Florence, Italy and houses state-of-the-art facilities, demonstration kitchens, kitchen laboratories, pastry kitchens and more. And then there are delightful retail shops surrounding it that celebrate culinary and artisan talent. And my favorite part, they have a 2500 square foot green house to grow the freshest herbs for cooking. 

Having gone through culinary school and up through the ranks of professional kitchens, I can say that there is nothing more important as a budding chef than having a hands on relationship with your ingredients and where they come from. Brightwater nurtures that experience and makes it a priority.

What types of degrees are offered by Brightwater?

Brightwater offers degrees ranging from artisanal foods to beverage management. This makes Brightwater a diverse culinary school focusing on all aspects of the food and hospitality industry. Several one-of-a-kind classes are found on Brightwater’s roster as well — applied farming, whole animal butchery, seasonal cooking, and the art of fermentation, among others.

Episode 103 of my new show “Modern Pioneering” features Northwest Arkansas and the Fayetteville and Bentonville area surrounding Brightwater, as well as the class I taught the women. I am thrilled that Brightwater is one of our “Modern Pioneering” show underwriters for Season 1, further highlighting their commitment to supporting the stories of culinary artisans and making it possible for audiences nationwide to learn culinary skills through our show.

Spring Enrollment is Now Open

Starting this month, Spring enrollment is open at Brightwater. It begins November 2, 2020, and the deadline is January 15, 2021. You can learn more about their offerings on their website here, as well as how they are persevering in the midst of Covid.

I encourage you to take a look and pay them a visit during many of their events open to the public. It’s a really special place — I wish it was open when I went to culinary school! And if you do reach out to them, tell them I sent you! They are supporting quality public television in your home that is free for you, and they’d love to know that you heard about them through my work.

Questions? Visit, email [email protected], or text (479) 323.2928 with any questions and you’ll get a response!

You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

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