Chaffin to Be Honored at A Class Act Fundraiser for Hospitality and Restaurant Management Program

Menu set for this weekend’s event in Eureka Springs

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Michael Chaffin, general manager of the Capital Hotel in Little Rock.

Michael Chaffin, general manager of the Capital Hotel in Little Rock.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Michael Chaffin will be presented the Hospitality Award at this year’s A Class Act, the annual fundraising and career networking event for the University of Arkansas’ hospitality and restaurant management program in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.

This year’s sixth annual event is Friday and Saturday at the Historic 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa in Eureka Springs. The theme is “Geniesserland: The Land of Culinary Pleasure or Indulgences.” The theme is a reflection on the German connection to Arkansas, and the relationship with exchange partners and students at Heilbronn University.

A Class Act features a reception and dinner on Friday, and breakfast on Saturday followed by the career-networking opportunity. Industry recruiters see students in the program in action as they fill multiple hospitality roles at the hotel and restaurant throughout the weekend. The career-networking session gives students the chance to interview for internships as well as full-time and part-time positions.

Each year as part of the event, the program recognizes someone who has made a regional, national or international contribution to the hospitality field.

Chaffin is general manager and chief operating officer of the Capital Hotel in Little Rock. He has three decades of hotel management experience and has been instrumental in the Capital Hotel’s four-star rating by Forbes and its ranking as one of the top hotels in the United States by TripAdvisor.

“Michael has significantly contributed to the hospitality field in Arkansas,” said Robert Harrington, professor in food, human nutrition and hospitality. “The Capital Hotel serves as a benchmark as a study of the ‘art of hospitality’ for both guests and as an innovative leader in hospitality service. He continually serves as a leader and mentor to current and former students in the hospitality field. Mr. Chaffin is deserving of this recognition and we appreciate his contributions to both the hospitality field and education.”

Chaffin has been a contributing member of the Industry Advisory Board for the hospitality and restaurant management program at the U of A. During that time, he has been a strong mentor for many students and graduates. He has also frequently served as a guest speaker as part of the “Professor for a Day” program.

 Harrington, who holds the 21st Century Endowed Chair in Hospitality Management, also announced several menu items for the weekend.

Options include a “shaken not stirred” salad station with baby micro greens, German yogurt dressing, berries, nuts and rosemary flatbread. The salads will be shaken martini-style and served in a “smoke under glass” presentation using smoking gun technology.

There will also be a salmon cake station with red cabbage chutney, apple cakes, red wine butter sauce and hollandaise foam; authentic German cheeses served with balsamic “caviar” and micro greens on toasted rounds of bread; and braised beef short ribs cooked sauerbraten-style with roasted root vegetables, sweet potato-chipotle cakes and horseradish sauce. There will also be an assortment of German street food, including premium petite brats served open-face with grilled pineapple and sauerkraut, blue-veined cheese and spicy stout glaze; and Ozark currywurst, a regional version of a Berlin favorite featuring fried coconut grits topped with sautéed brats, shrimp and curry sauce.


Bob Harrington, professor
Bumpers College School of Human Environmental Scie

Robby Edwards, director of communication
Bumpers College

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