Chefs in the Garden

words: Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
images: courtesy Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Everyone’s favorite foodie event, Chefs in the Garden, returns for its eleventh year on September 11 from 6 to 8:30pm. This unique culinary event captures the excitement of the harvest season by bringing the area’s finest chefs to the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville. Guests will stroll through the garden, watching cooking demonstrations and indulging in sweet and savory culinary creations while sipping wine and craft beer.


Screen Shot 2018-09-01 at 12.09.19 AMThe 2018 Honorary Chef is Mario Valdovino. Chef Mario is the Corporate Executive Chef and Senior Director of Culinary Innovations in the Research & Development Department at Tyson Foods. He’s the go-to guy for creating some of Tyson’s tastiest cuisine available. He has also appeared as a guest judge on Chopped, which airs on the Food Network.


This year’s featured chefs hail from restaurants all over the Northwest Arkansas region, including Siloam Springs, Eureka Springs and Rogers. The Presenting Sponsor is Filippo Berio Olive Oil.


Screen Shot 2018-09-01 at 12.09.25 AMProceeds from the event will support the garden’s mission to provide education, entertainment and recreation for the thousands of visitors and students who visit the garden each year.


Tickets for the September 11th event are $50 for Botanical Garden of the Ozarks members and $75 for non-members. Tickets are limited, and may be purchased at or by calling 479.750.2620.


Featured Restaurants:

28 Springs Restaurant, Bocca Italian Eatery & Pizzeria, Bonefish Grill, Bordinos, Café Rue Orleans, Ella’s Table, Fayetteville Country Club, Fork & Crust Pie Co., Local Flavor Café, Meiji Japanese Cuisine, Mockingbird Kitchen, River Grille Steakhouse, Vetro 1925 Ristorante


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Filippo Berio
Sear-Roasted Sea Bass


  • •4 skinless sea bass fillets, or other firm white fish (about 6 ounces each)
  • •Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • •5 Tablespoons Filippo Berio® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • •3 Tablespoons pine nuts
  • •2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • •2 cups halved cherry tomatoes, preferably a combination of red and yellow
  • •3 Tablespoons raisins
  • •3 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • •2 Tablespoons chopped roasted red bell pepper
  • •2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish


Position rack in the center of oven and heat to 450°F. Season fish with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat, until simmering hot.

Add fish and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Remove fish from pan and keep warm.

Wipe skillet clean. Heat remaining 3 Tablespoons of olive oil in skillet. Add pine nuts and garlic to pan, and cook, stirring often, for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, raisins, orange juice, roasted pepper, and basil. Cook, stirring often, for 1 minute.

Return fish to pan, nestling fillets into the tomato mixture. Roast in oven until fish is just firm to the touch and opaque when you cut open a thicker piece with a paring knife, 3 to 6 minutes. Let fish rest for a couple of minutes.

Serve with tomato mixture spooned over top and garnish with basil, if desired.


September 11
Chefs in the Garden
Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
For tickets, visit or call 479.750.2620.

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