One Week in March
I've been traveling way too much for the last 2 months and it has been FUN! I've spent time in Columbia (Motor Supply Company), in Charleston at the Wine & Food Festival, visited a great restaurant (Amen Street Fish & Raw Bar), and along with Susi Gott Seguret we spent a wonderful evening at the home of Natalie Dupree (you really need to get her new book "Southern Biscuits ").
Later on, down to Edisto Beach, where I helped to officiate the second Edisto Eats Chefs Competition, which will culminate this weekend (March 17th) at the "Learning Through Loggerheads-Ultimate Chef Competition" and Community Oyster Roast. Come on down and join me for this great event!
And, the fun is not over! There are four really unique local events next week in our area. I have them listed below and plan to be at all! bob
An Adventure in Cooking: The New Nordic Table
Saturday, March 24th, with welcome & foraging beginning at 3pm, and dinner at 7pm. The Garden Cabin and Lower Glad Cafe at Warren Wilson College, 701 Warren Wilson College Rd, Swannanoa, NC 29778
This spring, Asheville’s Katie Button, executive chef and co-owner of Cùrate Bar de Tapas restaurant in downtown Asheville (fresh from an internship at Noma, currently touted as the world's best restaurant), and Gunnar Karl Gislason, the executive chef and co-owner of the restaurant Dill in Reykjavik, Iceland who introduced New Nordic cooking to his nation, will hold a unique dinner on the idyllic grounds of Warren Wilson College, home base of the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts, to explore one of the hottest trends in the culinary world, The New Nordic Kitchen.
The day will begin with a foraging expedition with Gunnar and Katie around the WWC organic garden and farm and its surrounding forest and fields, as they discuss the contemporary Nordic kitchen and illustrate how its tenants can be applied to any region of the world embracing the principles of sustainability, terroir and locally sourced products.
Hors d'oeuvres will follow, including specialty cocktails crafted from the birch liqueur distilled and bottled on-site at Dill. The evening will culminate in a festive dinner celebrating the ingredients and techniques unique to Nordic cooking such as cooking with pine and birch boughs, and hay smoking. A special table will be set to inform diners of the upcoming IACP conference, and to encourage new members. IACP members Susi Gott Séguret and Jody Eddy (co-author, along with Gunnar, of a new Icelandic cookbook) will introduce the evening, along with Elizabeth Button, owner of Cùrate and president of the Heirloom Hospitality Group
The event, hosted by Cùrate, Warren Wilson College and the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts, with help from WNC Magazine and the Asheville Wine & Food Festival, promises to be an illumination of a philosophy and cuisine currently garnering the undivided attention of the culinary world with one of the chefs who pioneered it and Asheville's very own Katie Button.
WNC Magazine Asheville Wine & Food Festival announces competitors for 2012 WNC Chefs Challenge
Third annual competition to name the “Best Chef in Western North Carolina” from 14 competing teams beginning March 20 at Century Room on the Park at Pack’s Tavern.
For the third year, the WNC Magazine Asheville Wine & Food Festival will host the WNC Chefs Challenge. The competition brings together culinary leaders from the region in weekly battles built around a secret ingredient.
This year’s competitors are: Returning 2011 Champion Nate Allen (Knife & Fork), Anthony Cerrato (Fiore’s Italian Restaurant & Bakehouse), Peter Fassbender (Season’s Restaurant at Highland Lake Inn, Flat Rock), Adam Hayes (Red Stag Grill), Charles Hudson (Sunburst Trout Farms, Canton), Thomas Ward (Fig Bistro), Rob Keener (Square 1 Bistro, Hendersonville), Stewart Lyon (Boca), Owen McGlynn (Storm Rhum Bar and Bistro), Thomas Montgomery (12 Bones Smokehouse), Jesse Roque (Never Blue Tapas Bar & Grill, Hendersonville, and Blue Gypsy, Saluda), David Ryba (Inn on Biltmore Estate).
The Century Room on the Park, located above Pack’s Tavern on 20 South Spruce Street in Asheville, will serve as host for the dinners each Tuesday, March 20 through May 22. The quarterfinals and semifinals will follow this summer. The grand finale will kick off the WNC Magazine Asheville Wine & Food Festival on Thursday, August 23.
Reservations for the WNC Chefs Challenge are $49 per individual, and can be made by calling (828) 225-6944. Beverages, sales tax, and gratuity are not included. www.wncmagazine.com/wineandfood/chefschallenge2012
Please visit www.ashevillewineandfood.com for more information on the competitors including portraits and biographies.
West African Dinner & Drums
Chef William Dissen of The Market Place and Chef Nicholas Figel of Cyprus International Cuisine in Highlands team up for a West African-inspired dinner
On Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m., two award-winning chefs join forces at The Market Place restaurant at 20 Wall St. in downtown Asheville to prepare a gourmet, five-course dinner of West African-inspired cuisine. Cassava fufu fritters, banana leaf red snapper with joliof rice, roasted goat mafé—the dishes of West Africa are as exotic as they sound. And nowhere in Western North Carolina is there an opportunity to taste the traditional foods this rich culture has to offer. The dinner will present inspired and elevated interpretations of authentic West African dishes, as well as cocktail creations. A performance of West African drumming and dancing will enhance this cultural evening.
Tickets are $65 (alcohol, tax, and gratuity are additional) and interested diners should reserve seats by March 18 by calling The Market Place at (828) 252-4162. A credit card is required to hold the reservation.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit Asheville-based, 33rd generation Ivorian djembe player and musician Adama Dembele, in an effort to help secure his permanent green card for U.S. citizenship.
Adama Dembele is a 33rd generation djembe player from the Ivory Coast in West Africa, who has performed with various internationally recognized acts on three continents, including Oumou Sangare, Angelique Kidjo, and Salif Keita. He has lived in Asheville for five years, teaching drumming workshops in town and across the country and performing with local bands, including Afromotive, Toubab Krewe, and Zansa. He was a LEAF in Schools and Streets instructor in 2011. Other teaching experiences include regular drumming workshops at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind, Stone Academy in Greenville, SC, and in Asheville at Rainbow Mountain Children’s School and Erwin and TC Robertson high schools. Dembele is a cultural gem whose mission is to share his musical heritage. www.adamadembele.com www.marketplace-restaurant.com/events
Asheville Bread Festival
Local artisan bakers will showcase their bread at the eighth Asheville Artisan Bread Bakers Festival on Saturday, March 24, 2012. This all-day event begins with a bread tasting and sale at the Magnolia Building on the A-B Tech campus in Asheville, NC from 10am to 2pm. Hands-on workshops and lectures will take place from 9am to 6pm at the same location.
The theme of this year's festival is “Local Grain, Local Flour, and Local Bread”; the festival will feature experts on local grain production, milling, and baking with local and heirloom wheat. Thom Leonard, a professional baker for more than 35 years, and currently a consultant for Heartland Mills, will be presenting workshops on milling and baking with local wheat. Professor Stephen Jones, a world-renowned wheat geneticist and breeder from Washington State University, will be lecturing on the local-grain movement and recent results in the breeding of organic grain and a perennial wheat.
In addition to Leonard and Jones, the festival will feature presentations on gluten-free, sugar-free baking by Peter Reinhart, baker and author of eight bread cookbooks, from Johnson & Wales University, and Jennifer Lapidus, director of the North Carolina Organic Bread Flour Project.
“Asheville and its surrounding area, with a very small population, supports more artisan bakeries than most states. The bakeries are all small but truly artisan in the purest sense of the word," Reinhart said.
This unique festival, the first of its kind in the southeast, has been overwhelmed with attendees for the past seven years. More than a dozen local artisan bakers will be showing, sampling and selling their bread this year.
For bread-enthusiasts who want to improve their baking skills, there will be many workshops and lectures at A-B Tech taught by Leonard, Reinhart, and several local bakers. Tickets are required for all the workshops.
The festival is being sponsored by the local bakeries, the Bread Bakers Guild of America, Slow Food Asheville, Lindley Mills (an organic flour mill in Graham, NC), the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, and the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. www.ashevillebreadfestival.com/