Executive Chef Rob Nelson-Tusk and Trotter-Bentonville, Arkansas

Rob Nelson, Owner and Executive Chef of Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie, brings his unique creativity and food passion to the Bentonville, Arkansas food scene.

Rob has always had a love for food. After attending the University of Arkansas, Rob spent several years working for local fine dining restaurants. In 2007, Rob moved to Boulder, Colorado to attend the Culinary School of the Rockies (now Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts).

Following Boulder, Rob studied in Avignon, France, located in the Provence region, attending Le Marmiton Cooking School and Universite du Vin in Sousse la Rousse, France, where he studied under the Disciples d’Escoffier. While in Avignon, Rob worked at La Mirande, a Michelin 1-star restaurant.

In 2011, Rob opened Tusk and Trotter – a casual restaurant where most of the menu is sourced locally from farmers and ranchers with whom Rob has spent years collaborating. The menu is focused on High South cuisine, a regional cuisine co-pioneered by Chef Nelson.

Rob and Tusk & Trotter are proud members of the Bentonville community. Tusk & Trotter has sponsored the Bentonville Farmer’s Market as well as several community events. Rob is on the board of the Arkansas Restaurant Association and of the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, is an Advisory Board member of Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food, and is a founding member of the Bentonville Chef’s Alliance.

Accolades & Publications

  • Arkansas Restaurant Assoc., Treasurer (2017); Vice President (2018); President (2019)
  • Advisor Food Waste and Food Recovery, Ben E. Keith (2017-present)
  • Guy’s Grocery Games Participant – “From Scratch” episode (2018)
  • “Setting the Table” – documentary with Walmart documentary to promote Fighting Hunger campaign and Food Recovery (2018)
  • Brightwater Center for the Study of Food, Advisory Board (2017-present)
  • USDA Culinary Ambassador, Megustro European Food Expo, St. Petersburg, Russia (2017)
  • Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, Advisory Council & talent (2014,2015,2016,2017,2018)
  • 3-Time James Beard House performer (Nov 7, 2013; Dec 31,2016; Feb 16, 2019)
  • Department of Arkansas Heritage Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Nominee (2018, 2019)
  • Northwest Arkansas Business Journal “40 Under 40” (2016)
  • James Beard Foundation Bootcamp for Policy and Change – Alumni 5th camp (2014)
  • Southern Living Magazine, nominated Best Restaurant in the South (2017,2018,2019)
  • Arkansas Times Best Chef Around the State Finalist (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • USA Today – “Ozarks Original Food & Drinks” (2015)
  • Plate Magazine – “The Pork Issue”, featured Crispy Pig Ear Salad (2013)
  • Southern Living – “Best Bacon Incident” (2012), “Best of the South” (2012)


Chow Chow


  • 2.5        lb        green bell peppers, small dice
  • 2.5        lb        red bell peppers, small dice
  • 2        lb        green tomatoes, small dice
  • 2.5        lb        yellow onions, small dice
  • 2.5        lb        green cabbage, fine chop
  • ¼          c        salt
  • 3.5        c        sugar
  • 2.5        c        apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½         c        water
  • 1 ½         T        mustard flour
  • ½         T        celery seed
  • 1        t        ground ginger


Toss together peppers, tomato, onion, cabbage and salt. Refrigerate overnight.

Drain vegetables. In a large pot combine water, sugar, vinegar, ginger, celery seed, mustard flour and bring to a boil. Add vegetables and simmer to saucy consistency, about one hour. Cool and store in airtight container or mason jars.