Adrian Miller is a food writer, James Beard Award winner, attorney, and certified barbecue judge who lives in Denver, Colorado.
Adrian received an A.B in International Relations from Stanford University in 1991, and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1995. From 1999 to 2001, Miller served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton with his Initiative for One America – the first free-standing office in the White House to address issues of racial, religious and ethnic reconciliation. Miller went on to serve as a senior policy analyst for Colorado Governor Bill Ritter Jr. From 2004 to 2010, he served on the board for the Southern Foodways Alliance. In June 2019, Adrian lectured in the Masters of Gastronomy program at the Università di Scienze Gastronomiche (nicknamed the “Slow Food University”) in Pollenzo, Italy. He is currently the executive director of the Colorado Council of Churches and, as such, is the first African American, and the first layperson, to hold that position.
In 2018, Adrian was awarded the Ruth Fertel “Keeper of the Flame Award” by the Southern Foodways Alliance, in recognition of his work on African American foodways. In 2019, Adrian received the Judge Henry N. and Helen T. Graven award from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, for being “an outstanding layperson, whose life is nurtured and guided by a strong sense of Christian calling, and who is making a significant contribution to community, church, and our society.”
Miller’s first book, Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time won the James Beard Foundation Award for Scholarship and Reference in 2014. His second book, The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, From the Washingtons to the Obamas was published on President’s Day 2017. It was a finalist for a 2018 NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction,” and the 2018 Colorado Book Award for History. Adrian’s third book, Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue, will be published Spring 2021.
Adrian serves on the boards of the following organizations: Artists Against Racism, Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Church (Steward Board), Colorado Humanities, Colorado Public Radio, Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, Iliff School of Theology, and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.
Wine brought Amie and Lyndon together. They met in a wine shop in 2011 and have been collaborating and experimenting in life and wine ever since. Amie and Lyndon are co-founders of Botanist and Barrel Winery & Cidery in Cedar Grove NC. After a career in wine sourcing, importing and distributing, they wanted to make the type of wild and raw ciders they enjoyed drinking but couldn’t find made in the US. Plus, they realized that the winemakers were having all the fun, so in 2017 they teamed up with Lyndon’s sister Kether Smith and husband Deric McGuffey and Botanist and Barrel Cidery and Winery was born. In 2021, they opened a second location, Botanist & Barrel Tasting Bar + Bottle Shop, in downtown Asheville, that also carries a like-minded selection of other native yeast fermented wines and ciders. Lyndon is a forager, farmer and the President of the NC Cider Association. Amie is one of a select few people awarded the Pommelier certification from the American Cider Association and is also certified through the Court of Master’s Sommeliers.
Andrea Weigl spent a decade covering the justice system as a newspaper reporter before transitioning to being the food writer and editor at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. She served as the chair of the James Beard Foundation’s Book Awards committee. She works as a television and film producer, including on the PBS shows, “A Chef’s Life,” and “Somewhere South.” She is currently working on a documentary series for HBO. She also works for Sandbox Collaborative handling media relations and social media management for hotels and restaurants.
Annie Pettry is an award-winning chef and leader in the Southern culinary scene with a passion for advocacy and sustainability. She was raised in the mountains of Asheville, N.C., where she spent her childhood in the vegetable garden, foraging for mushrooms, trout fishing, and in the kitchen cooking with her family. After attending the International Culinary Center in NYC, she worked alongside aclaimed chefs in San Francisco, NYC, and was chef owner of the renowned restaurant Decca in Louisville, KY for close to a decade before returning to her hometown of Asheville, NC, where she currently resides.
A 2020 James Beard Award Semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast and two-time Food & Wine People’s Best New Chef nominee, Chef Pettry can be seen on Top Chef season 14 & 16. Her cuisine has been featured by several national food magazines including Food & Wine, SAVEUR, and Bon Appetit to name a few; and her restaurant Decca was given a four-star review by Louisville’s Courier Journal. Pettry is passionate about advocacy work and can often be seen working with charitable organizations, including No Kid Hungry, The LEE Initiative, and the James Beard Foundation.
Blair Machado, owner of Hamfish BBQ, is a classically-trained Chef and nomadic butcher. He curates dishes with seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers and fishermen. Known for whole animal butchery and open-fire cooking, Blair has worked in renowned kitchens from Virginia to Atlanta.
Brandon Carter is the Executive Chef and Partner of FARM Hospitality Group (FARM Bluffton, Common Thread, Strangebird Food Truck, Wildflower Cafe, and Rootstock Community Foundation) where he works tirelessly to connect the guest’s dining experience with the farmer’s ethos. Always cognizant of seasonality and availability of local ingredients, Carter crafts ever-evolving menus that speak to the bounty of South Carolina’s Lowcountry and the coastal region of Georgia and pay homage to the many growers, fishers, farmers, and artisans who inspire him. At each concept, Carter puts an emphasis on sourcing locally and building personal relationships with purveyors. His menus change as often as his inspiration, highlighting hyper-seasonal ingredients with global influences. Never taking his work too seriously and leaving room for play, Carter’s vision is to bring his community together through nourishment and friendship; when a customer feels like family, he knows he’s accomplished what he set out to do. Outside of the restaurants, Carter devotes time to the group’s non-profit, Rootstock Community Foundation, whose mission is to create awareness and resources to help address the issue of mental health in the food and beverage community.
Shepard (he/him), a Carolina native, has over 20 years dedicated to the culinary industry. Shepard was self taught, starting in the dish pit and worked his way up. Shepard opened Urban Street Eats with his wife, a global street food truck that brought eclectic dishes from all over the world. They opened Nourish Juice Bar + Cafe, an organic juice bar serving Polynesian comfort foods. After the pandemic, Brandon turned to the food that brought him and his family the most joy; Barbecue.
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Brandon (he/him) is driven by creativity, inside and outside of the kitchen. The Virginia native is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, and moved to Charlotte to study and grow as a person. Since his arrival in the Queen City, he’s done just that. Before joining the team at Leah & Louise in October of 2020, Brandon, 26, worked at Haymaker, among other restaurants. In his spare time, he continues to create, including poetry and visual art.
Chef Chris (he/him), AKA “Burger Boi” is an experienced and entertaining chef with deep roots in the Asheville food scene. Known for his work as chef/partner of The Malvern, Hot Dog Curator at The Barksdale and co-founder of the Montford Pull Up. An Asheville native, he is a product of the AB Tech Culinary Program and a former instructor at Green Opportunities. He has competed and won several food competitions: Asheville Wing War, Asheville Battle of the Burger, Smiling Hara’s Tempeh Taco Challenge, Stu Helm’s Punk Rock Hot Dog Competition and the FRS WHACKED! Mystery Basket Competition.
Chris is a the founder of The Utopian Seed Project and loves growing and eating food. His book, The Whole Okra, won a James Beard Award for History, Research and Scholarship in 2020. He’s passionate about sustainable food systems, heritage seed saving, and surviving the apocalypse.
Chef Cleophus Hethington, a South Florida native, grew up around the table, eating and cooking delicious soul food — food that would eventually shape his culinary trajectory: flavors, ingredients and dishes from the African diaspora, a term that’s often used to reflect the mass dispersion of peoples from Africa during the Transatlantic Slave Trades, which occurred from the 1500s to the 1800s. “You’re part of the African diaspora whether you’re from the West Indies or you’re African-American, Afro-Latino, from one of the 54 countries in Africa or you’re an African living in Europe,” explains Hethington. “We’re all part of that. That’s my idea: really focusing on African diasporic food and the connections we all have.”
A natural-born home cook, the Atlanta-based chef, affectionately known as “Ophus,” began his career in the U.S. Navy, where he served five years as a hospital corpsman, as well as the crew’s unofficial kitchen magician. Hethington’s colleagues loved his food.
Hethington went on to graduate with a degree in public health from the University of Miami, but soon became disenchanted with America’s disintegrating healthcare system. So he pivoted to his passion: cooking. He became a student at the Miami Culinary Institute at Miami Dade College, where an astute cooking instructor recognized Hethington’s talent and encouraged him to apply for an internship at the James Beard-nominated Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, a restaurant that also received a “Best New Restaurant” award from Bon Appétit. The internship morphed into a job offer, and Hethington ditched culinary school, realizing he was better suited to the school of hard knocks.
In 2019, inspired by a growing interest in his ancestral and cultural roots, coupled with a fierce curiosity about the origins of the dishes and ingredients used for generations by his family and other Black chefs, Hethington, whose African roots trace back to Cameroon and Senegal by way of southern Georgia and the Caribbean, launched Triangular Traded Spices, an online boutique spice emporium.
Daniel (he/him) has spent 20 years in the hospitality industry, primarily focusing on seasonal and sustainable food systems. He has worked for acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs including Sean Brock and Patrick O’Connell and has led many kitchens in the Carolinas, most recently James Beard nominated restaurant The Stanley in Charlotte. Daniel made the transition to culinary and hospitality education; here he hopes to educate and inspire young chefs to further their growth and exploration of the hospitality industry.
Dean Neff – a James Beard Foundation semifinalist for “Best Chef Southeast” – opened Seabird, his first solo venture with wife Lydia Clopton, in 2021. Seabird – the seafood restaurant and oyster bar – is devoted to North Carolina’s coast, and housed in a historic landmark building in downtown Wilmington. “We’re passionate about the foodways that make Wilmington so distinctive,” said Neff. Originally from Savannah, Georgia, Neff’s obsession with the sea began with family weekends spent fishing for the evenings’ supper. After working with celebrated chefs Hugh Acheson and John Fleer, Neff was drawn back to the seaside community, and resolved to support sustainable seafood and fishing from small-scale fishermen and women. Prior to opening Seabird, Neff was the chef/owner of Pinpoint in Wilmington, recognized by Southern Living as a “Best New Restaurant in the South.” Now at Seabird, Neff offers “Seabirdie” oysters farmed exclusively for Seabird, and changes the menu daily based on back door deliveries from coastal foragers. Seabird’s menu celebrates the season with Neff’s adept coastal cooking. Within months of opening, Eater named it “Essential” and “Beach Restaurant of the Year,” and John T. Edge gave it a “Seafood Salute” in Garden & Gun. Fans from Reader’s Digest and Hemispheres to The Local Palate have praised it as one of THE reasons to visit Wilmington today. While he and his team honor the seasons and the seaside food culture so unique to Wilmington on the menu, Neff is also an outspoken champion of the NC Oyster Trail and Cape Fear River Watch.
Chef Dorian is originally from Canton, OH and currently lives in Cartersville, Ga with her husband and two children. Chef Dorian is the 5th of 10 children from James Hunter and the late Phyllis Hunter. Chef Dorian’s love for food started at an early age. Chef Dorian grew up watching her mom cooking and her dad baking in the kitchen. Cooking alongside her mother
helped to grow her passion for food. Chef Dorian went on to obtain her Associates Degree of Science and her Le Courdon Bleu certification in Culinary Arts from McIntosh College in Dover, New Hampshire.
Chef Dorian was named MasterChef season 10 winner, the biggest season ever. Chef Dorian is the first African-American female winner in the show’s history. Chef Dorian is also the oldest contestant to win MasterChef. Chef Dorian specializes in elevating southern food without losing that traditional southern taste.
A native of Norlina, NC, Gerald is known for featuring producers across the state in innovative ways through food. He is an executive pastry chef in Wilmington & a co-chef of “Wa Mi Dounou” with chef Adé Carrena of Raleigh. “Wa Mi Dounou”, explores connections between Beninese food & the Carolinas.
Gwendolyn Dare Hageman founded Darë Vegan Cheese in 2019 after many years as a chef in the Asheville culinary scene. Saddened by the quality of alternative cheeses on the market, and driven to have a pun as her life’s work, Gwendolyn combined her culinary wizardry with her passion to produce food through love to create the best dairy-free cheese locally, and beyond. Pronounced like dairy, tastes like dairy, but there is, in fact, no dairy. With a commitment to culinary craft and high quality ingredients, Darë Vegan Cheese is changing the way people enjoy their favorite food. We’ve made cheese better, it’s nuts.
JAMES JOE LEWIS- HEAD CHEF, 12 BONES SMOKEHOUSE ASHEVILLE, NC
Joe started in Food & Bev the way a lot of folks do, washing dishes in a restaurant when he was 15. Even though he grew up coming to the area, he officially landed in Asheville in 1997. For those familiar with Asheville in the 90s, after graduating from AB Tech Culinary he worked at Richmond Hill, Biltmore, and Gabriella’s. After several years of work and travel ranging from Florida all the way to Alaska, he came back in 2004 as the head chef of La Caterina. Here he really honed in his passion for the traditional methods of cooking, preserving, and curing meats. In 2008, he and his wife Lindsay started a bistro in Hendersonville called Square One. During that time, Joe helped with a beer dinner at 12 Bones Smokehouse. Shortly after, he sold his restaurant in 2011 and began his journey in BBQ. At 12 Bones he learned the process of smoking and it became a lifelong passion. While he loves all the traditional methods and foods of BBQ, he also loves stretching what that can mean: that could entail smoking a whole pork loin and running a riff on a traditional Cuban sandwich or smoking a whole leg of lamb for Easter dinner. One of his most nuanced dishes was rabbit with dates. He especially enjoys the process of experimenting with the different meats and cuts that go into making sausages. 12 Bones Smokehouse is proud to have Joe Lewis overseeing its culinary traditions, as his passion and experience has allowed the restaurant to maintain its position as a local Asheville staple.
In his most important capacity, Rhubarb’s owner and Chef John Fleer is a husband and a dad to three sons. He is an avid soccer player and fan, so if you cannot find him in the kitchen or with his family, he’s either watching or playing soccer.
A native of Winston-Salem, NC, Fleer was named one of the “Rising Stars of the 21st Century” by the James Beard Foundation and is a five-time finalist, most recently in 2017, for the James Beard “Best Chef in the Southeast” award.
Inspired by the “culture of food” he experienced in Italy while a Religion and Philosophy major at Duke University, John began his culinary career humbly, rolling pasta and baking black tie pie at Aurora Restaurant in Carrboro, as a way to pay for graduate school at UNC. His curiosity piqued, Fleer enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America.
Following a fellowship at one of the CIA’s restaurants and a stint as personal chef to Mary Tyler Moore, Fleer joined Blackberry Farm, where he served as Executive Chef from 1992 until 2007.
CHEF FLEER TRANSFORMS LOCAL INGREDIENTS INTO WORLD-CLASS DISHES.
The unique “foothills cuisine” he helped establish at Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm wandered the line between refined and rugged, fancy and familiar. His cooking focused on interpreting the regional larder through classical and traditional techniques, eventually catapulting the resort to the honor of Relais Gourmand. Under Fleer’s leadership, the Tennessee destination was honored by Zagat Survey in 2003 and 2004 as #1 Small Hotel in America and #2 Hotel Dining in America.
In May of 2009, John took his first step back across the Blue Ridge from Tennessee, to open Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley in Cashiers, NC where his food was enhanced by one of the most beautiful restaurant settings in the country. Fleer left Canyon Kitchen in the summer of 2015 to devote his time to Rhubarb.
Rhubarb is the next step in Fleer’s journey; he brings the relaxed atmosphere of his previous pastoral posts to bustling Pack Square, broadening his approach with a freestyle American cuisine well suited for its location at Asheville’s vibrant crossroad. In late 2015, Fleer added a private event space to the Rhubarb family, providing an opportunity to host workshops, cooking classes, and private events. Shortly thereafter, The Rhu opened its doors, as Rhubarb’s companion bakery, cafe, and pantry.
Chef Fleer is actively engaged in creating community, both in Asheville and, more broadly, in the Southeast. He served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Southern Foodways Alliance from 2003 until 2009. Fleer serves on the Advisory Board for Chefs at Downtown Welcome Table, works with the City of Asheville on downtown development initiatives, and is a proud member of Asheville/Buncombe Adult Soccer Association’s Club Watershed.
Vivian is named after Josiah’s grandmother who was a driving force in his culinary upbringing as she hosted grand dinner parties in a Julia Child-like fashion during his childhood in Georgia. He is a self trained chef who has built his career working in the industry since he was 15. After moving to Asheville from the Chicago food scene, Josiah and his wife opened Salt & Smoke, a permanent food truck at Burial Brewing that aimed to get his culinary style out there—albeit on paper plates! After two years of garnering a great reputation he was able to open Vivian in the River Arts District wear he focuses on American food that embraces old work European traditions. His food is clean, with limited elements to a plate, but with each one promising big, robust flavors. The menu changes frequently as we shift seasonally based on what our incredible farmers have to offer!
Chef Katie Button is a TV host on Magnolia Network, and co-founder of Asheville, North Carolina’s beloved Cúrate, a JBF Award-winning collection of restaurants with an online marketplace and wine club, and culinary journeys that create exceptional and experiential access to Spanish culture.
Chef Katie lives in Asheville, NC with her husband, Kirk, kids Will and Lidia, and dogs, Pearl and Zeke. She has a passion for eating, cooking, and living clean. She loves finding new ways to make the healthiest food approachable, delicious, and satisfying.
She found her passion for cooking early in life, and attended The New England Culinary Institute of Vermont. She has worked in restaurants, café’s, grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and has extensive catering experience, including opening and co-owning Sugarsnap, LLC, in Burlington, VT.
For more than a decade Locals Seafood has built relationships with our state’s fishing community, oyster farmers and seafood suppliers. Locals delivers seafood direct to customers through retail markets, area restaurants, grocery stores, nationwide shipping, and more.
Martinez (he/him) was born in Santa Catarina Loxicha, Oaxaca, Mexico, in a small Zapotec pueblo. Based in Asheville, NC, Luis is combining his love for cooking with his passion for social justice. He is dedicated to working alongside indigenous communities in overcoming and flourishing, despite difficult economic challenges and dangerous political encounters. By combining his experience in community-building with his experience as a chef, he is leveraging a deep commitment to the roots of Mexican cuisine with the promotion of Oaxacan gastronomy.
Chef Malcolm graduated from Johnson & Wales in 2009 and made his way to NYC where he cut his teeth at various steakhouses, Minetta Tavern, STK and Unle Jacks Steakhouse. He also worked with Chef Dani Garcia at Manzanilla, Chef Danny Bowen at Mission Chinese Food and Chef Clause Meyer at Agern.
He left NYC in 2018 and moved upstate NY to the Catskills where he lived on a farm and work with his mentor Aksel Theikhul at The Debruce Inn. While there he was promoted to Chef De Cuisine and executed tasting menus.
At the onset of the pandemic he made the decision to move back to North Carolina and landed in Asheville where he was the Chef De Cuisine at Benne On Eagle working under James Beard winning chef John Fleer.
Chef Malcolm has since moved to Charlotte to be closer to his son. Chef Malcolm is currently working with Tonidandel-Brown Restaurant Group on their upcoming project Leluia Hall.
Meherwan Irani is a chef and restaurateur changing the perception of Indian food in America through his growing restaurant and spice empire in the South’s most essential culinary cities. He is a leading voice in the industry’s conversation around diversity and cultural exchange. In 2022, Meherwan’s flagship restaurant in Asheville, Chai Pani, was named Outstanding Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. Meherwan was named by TIME Magazine as one of the “31 People Changing The South” and is a five-time James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast.
As Co-Founder, Chef and CEO of Chai Pani Restaurant Group, Meherwan leads a growing team across seven locations: Chai Pani Asheville, Chai Pani Decatur, Botiwalla Atlanta, Botiwalla Charlotte, Buxton Hall Barbecue,and spice brand Spicewalla, which has two outposts in Asheville and Atlanta. The third Botiwalla will open in West Asheville in the summer of 2023.
Meherwan grew up in Ahmednagar, in the midwestern state of Maharashtra in India, and he came to the U.S. at age 20. In 2009, he and his wife and business partner, Molly, introduced Asheville, North Carolina, to the colors, flavors and faces of India with Chai Pani.
For over 15 years, Mike McCarty has masterfully captained The Lobster Trap as Executive Chef. He joined the crew in the earliest days, and took over as Chef not long after. From then to now, Chef Mike and The Lobster Trap have seen a lot of challenges and changes.
From the start, Chef McCarty, along with founding owner Amy Beard, had a clear vision of what The Lobster Trap should be; a meeting place for the flavors of Coastal Maine, combined with Appalachia’s abundance of fresh ingredients. As part of this mission, Mike made sustainability the focus of every dish on his menu.
Making this dream a reality is a truly incredible feat of logistical problem solving. When the doors of the restaurant close for the night, Chef Mike and his team are already working on the menu for the next day.
Owner and chef of Master BBQ AVL. Serves Filipino style BBQ skewers.
Chef Reyaña Radcliff grew up in New Orleans where famously unique cuisine was everywhere. Her Dad and Grandmother both taught her traditional Creole & Cajun dishes, as well as basic cooking methods at an early age. Her Mom opened her eyes to the wonders of well-made everyday comfort foods. By the age of fifteen, Reyaña went to her high school counselor and proclaimed that she wanted to be a chef! Realizing that if she wanted to be the best, she would have to have the best training, education, and experience. So, she decided to attend the best university – Johnson and Wales University, also known as the Harvard of Culinary Arts. After earning an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts, Reyaña went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Food Service Management. During her time in school, she worked at several prominent resorts, and spent a semester catering at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. Once done with school, she stayed in Charlotte, North Carolina working in country clubs at every station, eventually becoming a Hotel Sous Chef, prior to ultimately earning the prestigious title of Executive Chef.
When everything about everyday life on the planet changed in 2020, Reyaña used her fine dining experiences to start her own catering company, Your Braisen Chef, LLC. Like so many others, she made the best of a difficult situation and gained freedom in being able to create her own epicurean triumphs, all while including her daughter Tiarra and teaching her how to become a businesswoman. Today, Chef Reyaña enjoys catering for special occasions, doing culinary demonstrations at industry events, and teaching cooking classes in person and virtually through social media. She has been featured on the podcast Patchwork (Episode 17), Baddies with Business (Episode 88) a guest chef at The BayHaven Food & Wine Festival, Crave Charlotte Food & Wine Festival, a featured Chef at Sliced Cooking Competition as well as the NCRLA 2022 Chef Showdown, and at various teaching arenas. She also acts as a consultant for up-and-coming restaurant groups and manufacturers, and avidly donates food to local charities.
Chef Ricky Moore – the James Beard Foundation winner for “Best Chef Southeast” and self-professed North Carolina seafood evangelist – opened the popular Saltbox Seafood Joint® in 2012 in Durham, North Carolina. Praised by Saveur as “a tiny but mighty seafood shack,” Saltbox Seafood Joint takes inspiration from his native Eastern Carolina coast and its traditional roadside fish shacks. Early in his career, Moore served as a cook in the US Army before attending and graduating from the esteemed Culinary Institute of America. After kitchen stints in some of the world’s most prestigious kitchens from DC to Chicago, Moore competed against Chef Michael Symon on “Iron Chef America.” In Durham, Moore found success with Saltbox Seafood Joint, and debuted the Saltbox Seafood Joint® Cookbook in 2019 – with 60 recipes celebrating his coastal culinary heritage. In 2020, Discover awarded Saltbox Seafood Joint® $25,000 for its #EatItForward campaign for black-owned restaurateurs and MOFAD included it in its Black History Month exhibit, “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table.” Today Moore continues to fulfill his lifelong dream as an entrepreneur, professional, and preserver of North Carolina fisherman and foodways, and is a member of the NC Oyster Trail and on the Advisory Board for the NC Sea Grant.
Sam Fore is a Sri Lankan-American chef and recipe developer based in Lexington, Kentucky. Her pop up, Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites, crisscrosses the country to bring her Sri Lanka meets the South dishes to diners far and wide. She started the pop up in 2016, after traditional Sri Lankan brunches in her home outgrew her dining room. Fore’s cooking is a reflection of her Sri Lankan upbringing in the American South; her dishes include her spin on Southern classics as well as new riffs on her family’s time-tested recipes. Her recipes can be found in multiple national publications and across the web — her take on tomato pie graced the cover of Food & Wine in 2019. She was named one of Plate Magazine’s Chefs to Watch (2018), was one of Southern Living’s inaugural Cooks of the Year (2020) and was named one of Taste of the South’s Taste50 (2022). In 2021 she joined the cast of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street, which airs nationally on PBS stations. In 2023, Fore was honored by the James Beard Foundation Awards as a Finalist
Executive Chef Steven Goff is the previous head butcher at Standard Foods in Raleigh, and is the former Executive Chef and Owner of the King James Public House and AUX Bar in Asheville. Steven left home at fifteen, and spent the next eleven years homeless, jumping freight trains across the US and Europe, cooking wherever his travels took him.
After being stranded in Asheville, he got more serious about cooking enrolled in the AB Tech culinary program receiving honorable degrees in both Culinary Arts, and Baking and Pastry. Because of his early life experiences, he is highly dedicated to supporting the local community through his food. He co-directed the popular local fundraising event The Blind Pig Supper Club, and served on the Board of Directors of Asheville Independent Restaurants. Chef Goff’s cuisine has been recognized by Food and Wine Magazine, Bon Appétit, Garden and Gun, and various local publications. In 2019 he was named Chef of the Year by the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. He lives in Asheville with his wonderful wife Samantha, their daughter Emma, and their array of animals.
Sunil is a farmer and chef, growing food in West Asheville and cooking farm fresh food of all styles. He cooks with heart and love and has deep reverence for nourishing, authentic food experiences. Sunil offers catering, pop-up dinners, and private cheffing.
A tour de force and a force for change, Chef Terrell (she/her) has run the gamut from executive chef for the American Le Mans Race Car Series to owning her own restaurants & catering company. She ventures to spread her message and engage others with her own unique story through freelance chef projects and her critically acclaimed ‘The Clarksdale’ pop up dinner series. Chef Terrell’s passion is to nurture and support her peers in crafting a future that both celebrates and facilitates all the unique and talented voices that make up the Asheville culinary scene.
Hailing from rural Southwestern Virginia, Travis Milton spent his childhood in a true Appalachian kitchen, learning the tried and true techniques for shucking beans, preserving and canning, and planting gardens. From his early teens, Milton fostered a deep love for cooking, learning through various restaurant roles from Todd Gray’s Equinox in Washington D.C. to Chris Cosentinos’ Incanto in San Francisco. Milton soon realized the magic he was able to create when marrying the memories of his family’s kitchen with the techniques of his mentors, and embarked on his dream journey of running a genuine Appalachian restaurant. Most recently, Milton opened the Inn at Nicewonder’s signature restaurant, Hickory, in Bristol, Virginia, where he has the stage to further explore, reimagine and elevate Applachian cuisine using approachable ingredients. Milton’s cooking is not replacing original Appalachian techniques, but instead introduces the cuisine in a fresh way that he hopes will build upon the cuisine’s heritage. When not in the kitchen, his favorite place to be is sitting on his front porch in one of his 680 pairs of Nikes kicks, enjoying his whiskey collection and listening to Whitney Houston.
Viv Lee is the owner and chef of Leftie Lee’s, a bakery and sandwich shop in Avondale Estates, GA. Her professional background includes cooking and baking at notable restaurants in NYC, Boston, and Atlanta. Accolades include cooking at the James Beard House in NYC, winning Best Baked Good in Atlanta Pastry Live, and Best Pie at a local farmers market pie contest (Buttermilk Pie with Peaches and Blackberries).