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Dinner In The Clouds: Mount Sequoyah brings food, fun together on menu

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January 28, 2020 By Becca Martin-Brown

In Fayetteville, the name “Mount Sequoyah” immediately conjures up images of a huge lighted cross silhouetted against the downtown skyline.

But there’s more going on on the mountain these days than Methodists praying. Mount Sequoyah Center has been reimagined as “a multi-faceted community space with lodging, dining, event, meeting and recreation space for the community and visitors. It is a nonprofit that welcomes other nonprofits, individuals and businesses to host programs, as well as producing its own educational programs such as summer camps, swimming, and tennis.”

“Mount Sequoyah is doing a lot to become a resource for Northwest Arkansas,” says spokeswoman Christina Karnatz. “The possibilities have been endless, but the food was something we honed in on. Response from those in Fayetteville was that culinary experiences were lacking in the city. Our mission is to be a place for connection and celebrating, and what better way to that than over food and drink?”

Executive Chef Justus Moll joined the Mount Sequoyah staff in January of last year and, according to Karnatz, “it is his role to expand the center’s culinary footprint, as well as contribute to the educational mission by preparing meals with a learning component and lead cooking classes.

“Under his leadership, the culinary program at Mount Sequoyah is growing at a significant pace,” she continues. “Many of the special ticketed events held in 2019 were sold out. Not only are these events fun, but they also introduce Mount Sequoyah to a new group of stakeholders, many of whom did not know we existed. They are also falling in love with this special place.”

Beginning Jan. 31, Mount Sequoyah will host a new series of culinary events for 2020, the first titled a “High Spirits Dinner.” Described as “equal parts good food and craft cocktails,” it will include Chef Moll’s five-course dinner plus cocktails by mixologist Charlie Rausch.

The next event will be Valentine’s Day Dinner, followed by a Brewmaster Dinner featuring Ozark Beer Company, and a Crawfish Boil featuring Columbus House Brewing both in March. Culinary events and cooking classes will continue throughout 2020.

“After a successful 2019 event series, I can’t wait to see where Chef Justus takes this program next,” said Emily Gentry, executive director of Mount Sequoyah. “It has been great to see how these events have become a way for Mount Sequoyah to connect with the local community and bring up people who have never been to Mount Sequoyah before.”

Beyond the culinary program, there is an arts program, adds Karnatz. “Close to 20 local artists rent studio space at Mount Sequoyah. We host arts programmings such as a Winter Solstice Concert and exhibitions. Currently showing is a photography exhibition by Brenda Yelvington. A residency program will begin in summer 2020.”

And that, she says, is all in addition to a recreation program that includes the Mount Sequoyah Tennis Academy, with lessons for children and adults; a pool open to the public with day passes, memberships, swimming lessons, and a swim team; and day programs during the summer, Thanksgiving, winter, and spring breaks offered by Camp Sequoyah.

Chef Moll is, of course, focused on the food. He has cooked at the professional level since 2002, even while completing his political science degree at the University of Arkansas. He is self-taught in fine dining, starting as a line cook at Ella’s Restaurant, becoming a pastry chef and finally earning the title of executive chef at River Grille Steakhouse in Bentonville, where he remained for seven years. Moll, who was crowned Iron Chef Arkansas in 2015 and 2016, says “it is through these events that I am able to expand creatively.

“Mount Sequoyah is a gorgeous place to find inspiration,” he adds. “Events will be equal parts imagination, great food, education, and amusement.”

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FYI

Mount Sequoyah

Dining Schedule

Jan. 31 — High Spirits Dinner with mixologist Charlie Rausch

Feb. 14 — Valentine’s Day Dinner

March 14 — Brewmaster Dinner with Ozark Beer Company

March 28 — Crawfish Boil with Columbus House

April 17 — Dining in the Dark

May 16 — “Pig and Whiskey” BBBQ and Bourbon with Tyler’s Craft BBQ and Devils River Whiskey

June 20 — Battle of the Sommeliers with a guest chef and local sommeliers

July 18 — Pool Party

Sept. 12 — Dining in the Dark

Oct. 17 — Taste of the Mountain

Nov. 21 — Brewmaster Dinner with a guest chef and local sommeliers

Dec. 12 — Battle of the Sommeliers

COST — $30 to $135 per adult

INFO — mountsequoyah.org


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