The 2018 Taste of Little Rock event raised more than $138,000 for student scholarships at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the most ever raised in the event’s 15-year history.
More than 700 people attended Taste of Little Rock, presented by BXS Insurance, April 26 at Jack Stephens Center. The event has continued to grow in size and popularity, with patrons enjoying the culinary specialties of 42 central Arkansas restaurants.
Thanks to this year’s Taste of Little Rock — UA Little Rock’s largest annual scholarship fundraiser — the $138,125 raised will fund 15 additional scholarships for UA Little Rock students.
The event celebrated Alfred Williams, senior vice president and risk consultant for BXS Insurance, and Elaine Eubank, president and chief executive officer of Easterseals Arkansas, for their lifelong commitment to their alma mater through service, engagement, and philanthropy.
“I was approached by a young woman at the event that wanted to thank me,” Williams said. “She said that she was the recipient of one of our scholarships that allowed her to complete her studies and stay in school. She graduates this spring and has been accepted to law school. What more can I say? This is what alumni scholarships are all about.”
A new feature of this year’s Taste of Little Rock was the Best of Taste competition, in which guests voted for their favorite restaurant of the evening.
Patrons selected Samantha’s Taproom and Wood Fire Grill of Little Rock as the winner of the first Best of Taste Award. A UA Little Rock scholarship will be named in honor of Samantha’s. Additionally, the restaurant has an automatic spot in the 2019 Taste of Little Rock in order to defend its title.
“It’s always a great honor to be recognized for your hard work and inspiration,” Smith said. “It always puts a smile on my face. No matter how long you are a chef, you always enjoy these recognitions.”
In the upper right photo, Taste of Little Rock honoree Alfred Williams, right, and staff members from the UA Little Rock Office of Alumni and Development Sarah Hamilton, center left, and Danielle Hendrix, center, present the first Best of Taste Award to Samantha’s Chef Marshall Smith, left, and owner Chris Tanner, center right. Photo by Ben Krain.