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Youth Home’s The Next Course: Meet the Chefs

Youth Home hosts its annual foodie fundraiser, The Next Course, at Albert Pike Memorial Temple in downtown Little Rock on September 28.

This unique, culinary dining experience takes amateur and practiced foodies to new heights as they enjoy five courses – complete with professional chefs’ tips and instruction on how to prepare the next course. Guests also get to take home a book of the night’s recipes to recreate their favorite dishes. The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a wine reception and a formal dinner to follow.

In preparation for the big event, we are featuring the five hosts for the evening – the expert chefs instructing and cooking each course!


Shane Henderson CEC – Executive Chef, Ben E. Keith Foods, Mid-South Division

Shane has served the last six years as Executive Chef for Ben E. Keith Foods, Mid-South Division, located in North Little Rock. He has been awarded the Salut au Restaurateur from the Central Arkansas American Culinary Foundation. He is a graduate of Johnson and Wales culinary school in Providence, R.I. In school he learned time-honored methods of preparing fresh seafood and embraced the art of home-style Italian cooking.

Inviting Arkansas: What is your favorite thing to make?
Shane Henderson: It changes all the time – my favorite thing is always something new that I haven’t had before, that’s the fun thing about food.
IA: Why do you support The Next Course and Youth Home?
SH: This event gives us the chance to give back, nourish and teach.

Amanda Ivy –Executive Chef, Old Mill Bread Company

Amanda, originally from Southern California, grew up with a strong Southern presence in the kitchen thanks to her father, a native of Mississippi. She is currently Partner and Executive Chef at Old Mill Bread Company, helping fulfill her first culinary love: baking. After national service in the U.S. Army and attending college, she graduated from Arkansas Culinary School at Pulaski Tech and plunged into the Little Rock culinary scene. Most recently, she served as sous chef to Donnie Ferneau at the 1836 Club.

Inviting Arkansas: What is your favorite food?
Amanda Ivy: Buttermilk biscuits, they’re the first thing I made with my dad.
IA:Why do you support The Next Course and Youth Home?
AI: I was fortunate enough to have a good family and home life, and some weren’t – and this is an amazing cause.

Cody Rudd – Executive Chef, SO Restaurant Bar

Cody, a graduate of Cabot High School, is currently Executive Chef at SO Restaurant Bar, responsible for delivering daily a unique wine-driven, upscale contemporary dining experience. His interest in non-profit service includes Farm Box to Table and now The Next Course. A personal goal is to have the food service industry realize what can be done to help people, not just turn a profit.

Inviting Arkansas: What inspired you to become a chef?

Cody Rudd: It was a shot in the dark – I read “Soul of a Chef” and liked that enough to sign up for a semester at Pulaski Tech.
IA: Why do you support The Next Course and Youth Home?
CR: I love getting to use my skills to help other people.

Titus Holly –Executive Chef, The Pantry & The Pantry Crest

Titus Holly, Executive Chef, has worked with The Pantry in all its forms for more than eight years, and he’s undoubtedly one of the ingredients in its recipe for success. He is driven by a strong work ethic and passion for food. Part of his passion is the farm-to-table movement, which means a weekly local sources dinner at The Pantry West. He still remembers being the family taste tester in the kitchen with his grandmother and Aunt Jacqueline.

Inviting Arkansas: What inspired you to become a chef?
Titus Holly: I’ve always been a foodie.
IA: Why do you support The Next Course and Youth Home?
TH: I saw the kids in the program, and it made me happy to help them.

Kelli Marks – Executive Pastry Chef & owner, Sweet Love Catering

Kelli is the owner of Sweet Love, a catering company providing sweet and soulful treats for all events and occasions. More than a dozen years ago, she dove into baking with her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary, creating an edible masterpiece for over 200 guests. But her passion goes back to her childhood, when her favorite pastime was experimenting in the kitchen under the tutelage of her grandmother, learning true Southern staples with authentic ingredients.

Inviting Arkansas: What is your favorite savory food? 
Kelli Marks:
Mashed potatoes + gravy
IA: Why do you support The Next Course and Youth Home?
Anyone could give money, but by taking my skills, I can do a lot more good – it adds value to the event.

Youth Home: “Proceeds will purchase new living and bedroom furniture for a cottage of 12 boys in Youth Home’s Residential Treatment Program. Both durable and designed for safety, this new furniture is the final touch to renovations that began this summer. Once completed the boys’ cottage will feel be brighter, more welcoming, and feel like home.”

Stay tuned to find out what these talented chefs have developed for the Next Course menu…we can’t wait!

Tickets are only $125 and the seating is limited – purchase yours here!


Inviting Arkansas

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