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A Decade of Diamond Chef

Chairmen Sharon and Carl Vogelpohl shine brilliance on A Decade of Diamond Chef.


By KD Reep | Photography by Sara Reeves | Hair by Miriam Alvarez with Salon Scarlet | Makeup by Augusta Andrews with B. Barnett


The world’s most precious gem is made from carbon, which is the basis of who we are as humans. Subject this element to high temperature and pressure, and it becomes one of the most brilliant and resilient gems on earth – the diamond.

The University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College witnesses this transformative process every day. Students from all backgrounds – recent high school graduates, single parents working and managing a family, older students pursuing new or improved careers – combine life experiences with practical education and earn advanced degrees with unlimited opportunities.

The college’s signature fundraiser, Diamond Chef Arkansas, is renowned as the premier and most competitive culinary competition in Central Arkansas. This year marks a decade for the event, and Chairmen Sharon (Tallach) and Carl Vogelpohl promise the most dazzling and delicious evening yet.

“Diamond Chef is the biggest and most popular fundraiser held annually by the UA – Pulaski Technical College Foundation,” says Sharon Tallach Vogelpohl. In addition to her leadership of the 2017 Diamond Chef, Sharon is a partner with Mangan Holcomb Partners and Team SI, who serve as sponsors of the event. “All the funds raised from this event benefit UA – Pulaski Technical College, its students and programs. Many people don’t realize UA-PTC relies on private donations for support. It is the second largest two-year college in the state, but one of the most underfunded per student. Events like Diamond Chef allow UA-PTC to continue to offer transformative opportunities to students who may never have had the chance to attend or finish college.”

Sharon and her husband, Carl, have a particular affinity for Diamond Chef and what it represents for the college, its students and the community. As owners and operators of their own farm in Perryville, the Vogelpohls understand the value of hard work, second chances and practical education opportunities. The college’s core values of workforce and economic development resonate with the couple’s pragmatic approach to business. “Defending Diamond Chef Champion Donnie Ferneau says he couldn’t run his restaurants if it weren’t for talented graduates from UA-Pulaski Technical College,” Sharon notes. “As the only higher education institution in the state to offer culinary studies, Diamond Chef speaks to the opportunities available to anyone who is willing to pursue them.”

Those opportunities for the future are even brighter now that the college is part of the University of Arkansas system. Credits earned at UA-PTC will directly transfer to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Little Rock, Monticello, Pine Bluff and Fort Smith.

“We are delighted to have Sharon and her husband Carl as this year’s chairs for A Decade of Diamond Chef,” says Shannon Boshears, vice chancellor of advancement and executive director of the UA-PTC Foundation. “Sharon has been a long time and passionate supporter of UA – Pulaski Tech. She recognizes and understands the critical role we play in the community and the development of the state. She and Carl are also great advocates for the importance of food sovereignty as they have their own farm and produce and process much of their own food. It’s an amazing combination to have them leading the efforts on Diamond Chef.”

Returning champion Donnie Ferneau, dubbed “The Gratest of All Thyme”, will go head-to-head with chefs Jimmy Carter from Pine Bluff Country Club Catering, Casey Copeland at The Avenue, Scott Rains at Table 28, Patrick Buchanan at YaYa’s Euro Bistro, Brandon Douglas at Green Leaf Grill and Mary Beth Ringgold with Cajun’s Wharf, Capers and Copper Grill.

“This event celebrates ten years of food, fun and philanthropy all to help provide for the students and programs at UA – Pulaski Tech,” notes Shannon. “We are honoring many years of hard work from community volunteers who come together each year to help make our event one of the best signature fundraisers in the state – the food is great, the competition is fierce and the cause is crucial.”

Inviting Arkansas

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