Up Close & Personal with Culinary Aficionado Scott McGehee of Yellow Rocket Concepts


Up Close & Personal with Culinary Aficionado Scott McGehee of Yellow Rocket Concepts

Chances are, if you live in Northwest Arkansas, then you are a fan of Yellow Rocket Concepts. This is the hospitality group behind Arkansas’s beloved restaurant concepts spanning the state from Little Rock to Bentonville, Arkansas, including locally with the locations Local Lime and Big Orange in Rogers (psst….keep your eyes peeled for their newest concept on the downtown Bentonville Square — Bentonville Taco & Tamale Co.). Being huge fans of margaritas, burgers and local businesses, we are naturally very excited to feature the mind behind these destinations in our latest Up Close and Personal profile with Fayetteville-born Scott McGehee (above right with Big Orange Rogers team members), a principal partner and the executive chef behind Yellow Rocket Concepts.

The Scout Guide: How do you start the day?

Scott McGehee: I start every day with very strong Italian espresso. I get up very early and go directly to the espresso machine in my house. Then, I go out to make my rounds to give high-fives to our staff, or do some tasting and training at different restaurants. I love the days when I drive up to our Northwest Arkansas locations. That’s my me-time when I listen to nerdy science podcasts.

TSG: What’s your standard work uniform?

SM: I wore a chef jacket for 20 years when I was training and working at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, so I dress down now! Chef coats are constricting and stuffy. I like to wear jeans and a t-shirt and occasionally I’ll put on a cool apron.

TSG: Favorite part of your job?

SM: I am a chef by trade but working with the young people who come into our organization to be challenged and inspired brings me endless joy. I love to see our work family succeed and grow.

TSG: What is the secret ingredient in your food?

SM: It all starts in the field. All of our restaurants lean heavily on locally sourced produce and we love supporting local farms and farm families. I am very connected with our Arkansas farms—I know their kids and dogs. It’s a big part of who we are.

TSG: What do you love about NWA?

SM: I was born in Fayetteville and when I was born, my dad was a football player for the Razorbacks, so naturally I went to college at The University of Arkansas too. Even though I don’t live full-time in Northwest Arkansas, I have always been very connected to that area. Some of the best kept secrets in the area that I love are the Mexican markets in Springdale and downtown Rogers. My father used to take me to Devil’s Den all the time, and that’s a nostalgic place for me.

TSG: How do you end the day and get ready for tomorrow?

SM: My goal every day is to be in bed with my five cats and my wife early. I am an unapologetic old cat lady.

Currently, Big Orange and Local Lime Rogers are open for curbside takeout and limited, socially-distanced dine-in with a reservation. Be sure to tell them The Scout Guide sent you!