In September 2021, the North Little Rock CVB made great progress with the “Setting the Table” culinary initiative for North Little Rock. The team assembled five different task forces to address different areas of culinary development:
1. Outdoor Markets Task Force
2. Food Trucks Task Force
3. Chefs and Restauranteurs Task Force
4. Education Task Force
“People are supportive of the initiative and excited that we are making this a priority,” said Heather Kouns, Director of Destination Projects. “We found that many of the individuals with whom we met see the same potential as we do for culinary development in North Little Rock. The task force meetings gave them an opportunity to share, explore collaborations and support one another.”
Potential projects that emerged from these initial task force meetings included culinary classes and a Culinary Arts program collaboration between the North Little Rock School District and North Little Rock Community Gardens program.
“It was a chance for us to just listen and learn. We were grateful for everyone’s honesty in sharing any challenges they or others in the foodservice industry have encountered,” Kouns said.
The Setting the Table committees will work to address issues such as simplifying communications about how to operate a food truck in North Little Rock, connecting restaurants with local growers to source local produce and identifying potential venues for community kitchens or culinary classes. The North Little Rock CVB is also planning to implement four signature culinary events in 2022, the details of which will be released at a later date.
“We came away with a true sense of passion in everyone who makes up North Little Rock’s food ecosystem,” concludes Kouns. “Every person is passionate about their work and they are willing to work together for their success.”