A Center for the Study of Food

Our Purpose

Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food approaches food as art, food as wellness, and food as business to offer an entirely unique approach to the culinary arts. Our goal is to develop leaders who combine culinary skills with the ability to recognize and address complex food issues.

In addition to artisanal food, culinary arts, pastry and baking, and beverage management, we offer courses with a focus on culinary nutrition, food waste reduction, and food security.

Special classes in applied farming, seasonal cooking, and the art of fermentation are among the many one-of-a-kind classes that can be found at Brightwater.

Simply put, our goal is to provide world-class training for individuals, students, and professionals at any point on their journey into the world of food

PILLARS
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Community

We are many communities in one. We are an academic and educational community that engages teachers, practitioners, experts and students. We are an open community for anyone interested in the experience of food. Our community has a sense of place. It is rooted in a particular area, region and country. We contribute to the cultural life of the community where we live. In return, it contributes to our institution by engaging with us and supporting our work.

Responsibility

We believe in a ‘smart food’ approach to culinary practices and enterprises. This means that we create programming and use teaching methods that have the fundamental objective of responsible use and stewardship of the land, ingredients and food sources. In order to achieve this we teach food systems and services, an understanding of many agricultural methods and a transparent inquiry into food production. By doing so, we provide students with critical thinking skills to balance the economic, agricultural and industrial implications in both the short and long term. We are looking for options that are more than sustainable. They are responsible. Farm to table? Perhaps. Crop to cuisine? Yes.

Value

There are many educational alternatives today that provide cultural learning and career training. However there are few that provide real value in the way that we do. Without ever sacrificing educational experience, quality of programming or real skill development, our institute remains accessible. Value is determined on an axis of what you get versus what it costs. We are committed to being a learning resource that offers notable value and prestigious programming at once.

Craft

Our approach to the culinary arts, cuisine and food is rooted in artisanal practice. We teach crafts that have-historically-only been taught through long apprenticeship with rare masters. We bring these artisans and craftsmen into the classroom for hands-on teaching in practices such as butchering, brewing, preserving, baking, and more. We find our way to the art of food through these artisanal methods.

Culture

We offer a totally immersive experience into the entire culture of food. Our offerings are robust and diverse. They are rooted in history and tradition, the most current and relevant expertise, modern service and experience, and just emerging trend lines and technologies. We dive deeply into our local agriculture and regional offerings to develop tools and an understanding of food that has global applications. We believe that foodways provide a rich and human understanding of any culture.

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State of the Art Facilities

Brightwater is housed in a new facility located on 8th Street in Bentonville. Our state-of-the-art facilities were built thanks to a generous grant by the Walton Family Foundation.

801 S.E. 8th Street was originally the site of a Krispy Kitchens manufacturing plant. The space was later purchased by Tyson and served as a fried chicken facility for 33 years before closing in 2005. Now, after 12 years of disuse, Brightwater is giving the land new life, a further extension of our mission to revitalize our community.

The new center occupies 27,500 square feet within a larger building surrounded by third-party food-related businesses. Having so much culinary talent under one roof can only intensify the creativity and learning opportunities for the community. The concept is inspired by public markets such as Mercato Centrale in Florence, Italy, with food retail shops, dining stalls and trucks, and other entertainment options.

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Facility Highlights

  • Demonstration Kitchen
  • Culinary Kitchen
  • Pastry Kitchen
  • 5 Kitchen Laboratories
  • 6 Classrooms
  • Seasonal Kitchen
  • Production Kitchen
  • Commons
  • Beverage classroom
  • Library/Information Commons
  • 2500 Square Foot Greenhouse
  • Outdoor Garden

Brightwater facilities may be rented for special occasions. Please call for details.

Call 479-631-8600 for Event Rentals

8th Street Market

The 8th Street Market will use food and local farming as a core experience in creating a regional hub and incubator for culinary talent, ideas, and networks. The Market encompasses approximately 10 acres along 8th Street within the Bentonville Market District in a completely refurbished food processing facility. The space allows for a modern exchange of food, farm, culture, and community, offering visitors unique experiences to share meals, explore ideas, and better connect.

It’s an entirely new concept for the area that will help Northwest Arkansas continue to grow the region’s reputation as a food hub of the Upper South.

By sharing the 8th Street Market with food artisans, Brightwater has a special kitchen dedicated to butchery and charcuterie, a temperature- and humidity-controlled pastry kitchen, equipment to make artisan breads, the latest tools for modernist techniques, and a range of supplies for food preservation. Virtually everything located within 8th Street Market has a synergistic connection to food and hospitality in Northwest Arkansas, and likewise to the Brightwater program.

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Dr. Glenn R. Mack

An Arkansas native, Dr. Glenn R. Mack currently serves as Executive Director of Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food at NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Arkansas. With extensive international experience in journalism and culinary arts, he worked and studied in the former Soviet Union, China, and Europe. He's a thought leader and inspirational advocate for career and technical education and has administered culinary colleges in Austin, Singapore, Miami, and Atlanta. He currently serves on the board for the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the Arkansas Association of Career and Technical Education, and The Culinary Trust.

His career achievements include publication of several books and articles, implementing the first Spanish-language culinary program in the United States, and achieving operational excellence at culinary colleges. His life-long passions for noodles, student engagement, smoked fish, sauna, and organizational development fill his time. He holds degrees from Columbia University, Nova Southeastern, and The University of Texas. He is also is classically trained in the culinary arts in China, Italy, Russia, Uzbekistan, and the US.

Dr. Glenn R. Mack
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Lauren Altimont

Lauren, Student Advisor and Adjunct Instructor, has had a variety of unique experiences relating to the food world. Because of her passion for discovery, during her time in college at the University of Arkansas, Lauren immersed herself in many distinctive learning opportunities. Lauren completed her internship in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she worked on a restaurant development project. She also studied sustainable food systems and culinary arts in Tuscany and volunteered as a hunger relief coordinator at Cobblestone Farms. Furthermore, after graduating with a degree in Restaurant Management and Hospitality Innovation focusing in global studies, Lauren jumped into another learn-by-doing experience by working as a winery cellar intern during harvest season in Sonoma. She sees food and wine as a connector to all people, cultures, and environments, which has given her a passion to continue studying culinary arts in a variety of settings.

Lauren Altimont
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Vince Pianalto

Chef Pianalto, pastry and baking instructor, is a native to Northwest Arkansas. With over 30 years of experience in the foodservice industry, he has owned and operated restaurants and bakeries in the area ranging from Italian cuisine to European style pastries and breads. During a break from being a restaurateur, he became an accredited culinary teacher for Springdale Public Schools before joining the NWACC team. Vince has had training at Cordon Bleu—Chicago, baking and chocolate training in Seattle with the lead baking chef for the U.S. Baking team, as well as experience as an owner/operator of restaurants. Expanding food knowledge to students and the general public has been a focus for Chef Pianalto throughout his career.

Vince Pianalto
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Phil Dreshfield

Phil Dreshfield is a chef instructor with an expertise in artisan breads and entrepreneurship. After receiving an MBA in Marketing from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, his professional career was launched by accepting a position as a market development manager with Vie de France, a company that was paramount in introducing the bakery/café concept to the American mainstream. Over the next three decades, that path would take him from the chef/owner of a popular restaurant in the Washington DC suburbs to an extensive and diverse career in the food industry that included experience in restaurant management, food sales and marketing as well as food research. He has owned and operated artisan bakeries in Kansas City and in Springfield, Missouri. For the last 12 years, Phil has been teaching culinary arts and hospitality management at the post-secondary level in Missouri and has been the ProStart Coordinator, working with the Missouri Department of Education and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to redefine hospitality education for high school students across that state.

Phil Dreshfield
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Jason Paul Rothstein

Jason’s interest in food began when he was 13 years old, watching PBS cooking shows on TV. He started tinkering around at home, and then at age 14, by chance, found his way into a five star, fine dining restaurant kitchen called Mary Elaine's. Jason began to work for free on weekends and eventually most days after high school. He learned a ton and they didn't mind the free labor. This began a journey to become the best cook he could. Throughout the years since then, Jason has worked in many different areas of foodservice. Jason is also the chef and owner of Heirloom, a boutique, fine dining restaurant in Northwest Arkansas. These days, he most enjoys cooking vegetables and has a deep passion for creativity, hospitality, and food education.

Jason Paul Rothstein
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Patrice Gros, Local Foods Coordinator

Patrice Gros has organically farmed vegetables for the last 23 years. One of his greatest joys has always been feeding people quality produce, which he sold at his local Farmer’s Market. He also loves educating friends and others about the bounty of nature and how to prepare freshly harvested produce. In his years as an educator, he has taught many to become self-sustaining gardeners and farmers.

Patrice Gros, Local Foods Coordinator
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Brittany Eddelbuttel, Instructor

Brittany was born and raised in New South Wales, Australia. She received her Associate of Applied Science at NWACC majoring in culinary arts, baking and hospitality. Brittany is a member of the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals. As a Certified Dietary Manager & Certified Food Protection Professional (CDM®, CFPP®), Brittany is an expert at managing food service operations and ensuring food safety. Brittany is passionate about human nutrition and education and is currently enrolled in Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas seeking a bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition and Hospitality Innovation with the concentration of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Brittany Eddelbuttel, Instructor
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Tim Rose, Business Operations Manager

Tim Rose, an Arkansas native and the Brightwater Business Office Manager, is a retired Strategic Intelligence officer with over 28 years serving our nation in various combat, command, and staff positions. He served at the highest levels of the intelligence community and various intelligence organizations. He also led numerous sensitive programs directly impacting our national security. Tim’s unique military career and world travels allowed him to experience different cultures gaining an appreciation for the food system, feeding the hungry, and disaster relief. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance/Insurance, Master of Art in Public Administration, and a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence. He closed out his military career being hand selected to manage a diverse intelligence portfolio on the Secretary of Defense’s staff for the Undersecretary of Defense (Intelligence). After leaving Washington DC and moving home to Arkansas, Tim accepted the position as the Business Office Manager for Brightwater where he is responsible for overseeing high school relations, budgeting/purchasing, and day to day business operations.

Tim Rose, Business Operations Manager
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Tim Rose, Business Operations Manager

Tim Rose, an Arkansas native and the Brightwater Business Office Manager, is a retired Strategic Intelligence officer with over 28 years serving our nation in various combat, command, and staff positions. He served at the highest levels of the intelligence community and various intelligence organizations. He also led numerous sensitive programs directly impacting our national security. Tim’s unique military career and world travels allowed him to experience different cultures gaining an appreciation for the food system, feeding the hungry, and disaster relief. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance/Insurance, Master of Art in Public Administration, and a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence. He closed out his military career being hand selected to manage a diverse intelligence portfolio on the Secretary of Defense’s staff for the Undersecretary of Defense (Intelligence). After leaving Washington DC and moving home to Arkansas, Tim accepted the position as the Business Office Manager for Brightwater where he is responsible for overseeing high school relations, budgeting/purchasing, and day to day business operations.

Tim Rose, Business Operations Manager
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Mark Holaway, Purchasing and Facilities Manager

Mark Holaway is a renaissance man of the very best kind: lover of all things soul-filling, decadent, artful, and celebratory. Mark feels as strongly about a fresh papusa, tacos and a cold beer at a taqueria as he does fine wine and pork belly at a white tablecloth restaurant– good food made with a lot of soul is his greatest passion.

As a child, Mark’s love for food began in his family’s garden. They grew and canned food, raised and processed meat, and sold any abundance at the local farmer’s market. This provided a foundational understanding that great foods start with fresh, high quality ingredients. After struggling to source high quality, nutritious and humanely raised meats in the area, Mark started raising his own animals that quickly expanded into a full-time job. In 2000, Mark started the first pasture-based farm in NWA that sold poultry, beef, pork, and lamb at the Fayetteville Farmers Market.
Mark spent twenty years in emergency management, and retired from the fire service as a Captain in 2016. While training rookie firemen, Mark states his first lesson was that all great firemen start in the kitchen. Meals bring firehouses together and feed hard work and the experience of creating a meal together was one he encouraged all to participate in with heart.

After exploring Brightwater, Mark stumbled in to an opportunity to create a new career focused on his greatest strengths: experience and understanding of sourcing local foods, nutrition, farming, learning, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and community. Mark oversees purchasing and facilities.

Mark Holaway, Purchasing and Facilities Manager
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Regina Bowman, Instructor

Regina Bowman has been a culinary enthusiast since her childhood. Regina has an Associates of Arts Degree, a Technical Baking Certificate and an Associates of Applied Science in Culinary Arts. She was surrounded by women in the food industry growing up. Her mother was a cake decorator and her aunt worked as a cook in a St Louis convent. Regina spent her summer vacations watching her mother and assisting her aunt. Regina’s career in the food industry started in high school working in a fast food restaurant and spinning pizzas at a popular pizzeria. She lived in Colorado and worked in a local eatery to pay her way through college. Regina has over ten years of experience working in the food service industry. She recently taught Kids College, a summer program at NWACC. Regina worked with a company as an independent caterer that provided online meal solutions for SAMS Club, developing menu item for brochures and making samples for associates. She has taught multiple decorating classes to all ages. Regina worked in a support role to the events coordinator at Brightwater during the busy holiday season and assisted the Purchasing department with many daily tasks. Sharing her love and knowledge of cooking and decorating has been the most rewarding part of her career.

Regina Bowman, Instructor
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Dr. Steve Jenkins, Director of Culinary Operations

Steve grew up in Fayetteville, AR in a family of public school teachers who took the chance to teach overseas and stayed for 25 years. As a result, Chef Steve attended high school in Rome, Italy and then returned to the US to attend Haverford College, just outside of Philadelphia, where he studied English.

After graduating, Steve worked as a marketing consultant focusing on strategic brand management for Fortune 100 companies before attending the Culinary Institute of America for his formal culinary training. Steve owned his own restaurant, managed a food service operation for the University of Arkansas and opened restaurants for investor groups prior to joining the faculty of Saint Louis University.

Building upon his experiences as a chef, a marketing consultant, and an educator, Dr. Jenkins has focused his work and research around revitalizing local sustainable food systems to address food access and food justice issues facing our society. Recognizing that rebuilding food systems presents economic opportunities, Dr. Jenkins has utilized the social entrepreneurship model within higher education to teach and exhibit how entrepreneurs can produce locally grown and processed foods that are economically competitive and successful both within Farm to School programs and traditional retail. Since art and commerce are intimately intertwined within the culinary field, culinarians must understand how to bring their creative vision to life within the economic realities of the market.

Dr. Steve Jenkins, Director of Culinary Operations
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Julie Wahl, Administrative Assistant

Julie Wahl, Administrative Assistant, moved to Northwest Arkansas from Northern California five years ago. She is a culinary school graduate with nearly twenty years of experience in the food industry in retail and commercial kitchens, most recently as a baker/cheese buyer for Ozark Natural Foods. She is also a producer and host for a weekly community radio show with a focus on the local culinary culture, food history and food songs. She is passionate about anything food-related and is a self-proclaimed “food nerd”.

Julie Wahl, Administrative Assistant
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Jessie Wagner, Business Development Manager

Jessie Wagner, Business Development Manager, moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2012 after obtaining her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Management degrees at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Jessie has a passion for discovery which has led to her spending a summer on a Byzantine archaeological excavation in Sicily and two years working for the National Park Service in the remote New Mexican high desert. Jessie was drawn into non-profit development after discovering a knack for writing grants and a deep fascination with creating and sustaining community partnerships. The study of food has long been a passion for Jessie and she is delighted to be engaged in Brightwater’s efforts to elevate the entire food system of Northwest Arkansas. Jessie also teaches yoga and spends the vast majority of her free time attempting to maintain her urban farm in downtown Bentonville.

Jessie Wagner, Business Development Manager

A Special Thanks to Our Partners

Special thanks to the following contributors, partners, and individuals, without whom, Brightwater would not have been possible.