This week Chef Tim Donahoe is working hard to get moved into his new house on the shores of Bull Shoals Lake … but he’s also hard at work meeting Mountain Home’s local farmers and thinking of new menu items for the ‘Fork. Here’s a short video of his trip to visit Age Old Agriculture…
We are excited not only to open the ‘Fork, but also to start this blog. This blog is all about food, beer, wine, Chef Hennington, our kitchen – and the experience of eating and being a part of our food community and promoting a local economy. Let’s get started with the ideas of a ‘food…
Crazy. There’s a growing brewery in Norfork, Arkansas, a town of about 500 souls. And, this restaurant is the food flagship for the Norfork brand. We call the little town of Norfork “the ‘Fork.” No surprise our food flagship has the same name. We are very proud of our beer, brewed along the banks of…
Food has to be served on something, right? Rather than lose the opportunity for local, we had a renowned local artist, Judi Munn, make the plates your food is served on at the ‘Fork. Judy and her husband John produce their pottery at the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View, Arkansas. During the…
Born and raised in and around Chicago, my experiences with food and cooking started at a
young age with a hobby cook father whose cookbook collection included authors the likes of
Julia Child, Craig Claiborne and James Beard. While he was cooking dinners of
roast leg of lamb and bone broth soup, I was still wishing I could just eat peanut butter and jelly
for dinner. Losing him while still in my teens, and as the years and decades of my life have
passed, there have been more times than I can count that I wish I could still share my 40 years
of cooking experiences with him.
People ask me often what my motivation was for becoming a chef. A fond memory
of childhood, an influential family member or maybe? …. Well the fact of the matter was my first
job was in a very busy restaurant as a dishwasher and I hated it so much I begged to be a
cook. That simple motivation transformed into a fascination with how you can take something as
simple as an onion and change the flavors so easily by applying heat, salt, spice and fat. Add in
the thrill of a very hectic, loud, and sometimes chaotic environment and I was sold.
While learning to cook on “the line” I met a fellow cook who was going to Washburne Trade
School in Chicago to be a chef. He got me an introduction with the director, and for $215 every
16 weeks I began my 2 years of chef school. In essence: I knew a guy, who knew a guy.. and so
I began my training.
Once finished with school and moving on to learn from other chefs in other kitchens, at the ripe
age of 23 my first employer called me and said they were looking for a “real chef” to head their
kitchen and asked if I would be interested. My answer was “of course” and my baptism by fire
began with supervising and managing a staff of 40 men that included cooks over twice my age.
After a couple of years in that position there were thoughts of mine that kept recurring. During
my two years of chef school I had the chance to get to know my fellow students fairly well. They
told me about the jobs they had, the chefs they worked under, the foods they prepared and I
knew there was a whole world of learning that was left for me to tap into. So I stepped away
from being a chef and went back to being a cook, a “saucier” in an up and coming Chicago
restaurant called Printer’s Row. Michael Foley was the owner/chef and his contemporaries were
the likes of Alice Waters and Larry Forgione. This is where my real transformation took hold.
While the cooking terms of pesto, aioli and ganache are quite commonplace today, 35 years ago
they were just taking hold. In the Chicago restaurant world, growing your own produce and
working with the small farmer was a novelty whose time had come. Fresh herbs, vegetables
with soil still on them, and farm raised Rabbit and Venison coming through the back door was
commonplace in that environment and it has stuck with me ever since.
The closer the refrigerator is to the stove is better, just like the closer our food is grown to where
we eat it. Less steps, less processing, less time. Fresher. The concept of The Fork fits perfectly with
what’s best for all of us. The freshest ingredients, the least additives, and the best atmosphere
are as important as knowing who grows it, who makes it, and who eats it. I look forward to
getting to know all of these aspects as I share my love and knowledge of food with all who are
Here’s to Salt, Fat, Fire and Smoke…. And good Beer.
Subscribe to My Blog
Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.