Author Jason Irby Announces Arkansas Signature Food Contest at Arkansas Heritage Celebration

After awarding 5 recipients as “Legend Among Us” before an enthusiastic   audience at the Arkansas Heritage Celebration of Black History Month, author Jason Irby announced his pledging of the first $500.00 to establish a contest that would create a signature Arkansas food dish.

Irby is an author, and founding chairman of Jason IRBY INNOVATION Foundation (JIIF).   Secretary/Treasurer, Tiffaney Lewis also pledged a matching $500.00 in prize money.

Irby first revealed the initiative to establish a the Arkansas Signature Food Dish Contest after reading IT’S OFFICIAL! The Real Stories Behind Arkansas’s State Symbols, by Arkansas Capital Historian David Ware.

Irby then began looking closer into the matter.

“We actually do not have a signature food dish named after Arkansas or township within it.  Other states and cities do,” Irby stated.  “I began talking with officials in the Secretary of State Office and continually communicating with them and researching. “

As Irby began to reach out to others, a committee and partnerships were formed. Decisions and details are currently before the committee.  The grand finale and judging will be held at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds during the 2016 Arkansas State Fair.  Contest entry fee is $50.00.

Judging categories will consist of originality, taste, ease of preparation, and presentation.  Partners in this endeavor include the Jason IRBY INNOVATION Foundation, Arkansas State Fair, Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Institute, and others.

The inaugural Arkansas Heritage Celebration of Black History Month displayed a dynamic array of presentations and speakers.

The 5 recipients recognized as “Legend among Us” by Irby included Garbo Hearne (owner of Pyramid Books and Fine Art), George H. Barnes Sr. (first black mayor in Jefferson County-Wabbaseka), Martha Dixon (Fashion designer and designer of Hilary Rodham Clinton’s inaugural gown), Janis F. Kearney (author, publisher and former President Bill Clinton’s diarist), and Al Bell (songwriter, producer).

Ethel Tompkins who graduated from Hoxie schools during integration also received a “Legend Among Us” award but was unable to attend.

To learn more about this dynamic 2016 Arkansas Heritage Celebration of Black History Month and the Arkansas Signature Food Contest announcement visit or to contact Jason Irby directly via email at

Basic CMYK


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s