READY TO COOK: Jaime Hernandez, second from left, owner and chef of Jaime's Creole Brasserie in Brevard, with his crew of sous chefs. From left are Paul Runge, Nick Seale, Alfonso Vazquez and Bruce Lafone. Photo by Kaelee Beeson for Kaelee Denise Photography

Beignets come to Brevard

If a Creole-inspired, French-named restaurant in a small town in Western North Carolina needs something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue for a lasting union, Louisiana-born chef Jaime Hernandez is covering all his bases. Pieces of painter’s tape — something blue — wink from every gleaming surface of Hernandez’s open-concept kitchen at Jaime’s […]

GOOD APPLES: CiderFest organizer Nina Zinn (left) and WNC Green Building Council Executive Director Maggie Leslie at last fall's inaugural festival. Photo courtesy of WNC Green Building Council

CiderFest 2014: Cider industry flourishes in WNC

Nina Zinn, the Western North Carolina Green Building Council’s development and outreach coordinator, is excited about this year’s CiderFest. “Instead of five cider makers, we have 16 this year,” says Zinn, the creative force behind the festival. Last year’s inaugural event, a small-scale benefit that wasn’t expected to sell 100 tickets, wound up attracting 425 […]

COMPETITIVE EDGE: Sheila Tillman, associate dean of hospitality at A-B Tech, says the school's history of participation and success in culinary competitions has boosted Asheville's visibility in the national food scene. Photo by Stewart O'Shields

Asheville’s food pioneers: A-B Tech trains tomorrow’s chefs

A-B Tech’s culinary and hospitality curricula, started in 1968 and accredited by the American Culinary Federation, were the first such programs in North Carolina. Of course, there were far fewer lodging options and high-end food destinations in Asheville back then. But some folks saw the area’s potential and felt that culinary education and tourism were […]

FROM THE HEART: Restaurateur Laurey Masterton (far right in the red hat) was known for both her love of  community and her entrepreneurial savvy. "She was so generous, and yet she was such a sharp businesswoman," remembers her friend Howard Hanger. Mountain Xpress file photo

Asheville’s food pioneers: The legacy of Laurey Masterton

When Laurey Masterton opened her restaurant and catering company storefront, Laurey’s, in 1990, most of Asheville was still degenerate. Barley’s wouldn’t start slinging pizzas until four years later, but Laurey’s sandwich shop paved the way for an entire section of Biltmore Avenue to be revitalized. “Cooking was a big part of their family, and that […]

AIR FORCE: Michel Baudouin was instrumental in organizing local restaurant owners to form Asheville Independent Restaurants. Photos by John Coutlakis

Asheville’s food pioneers: An interview with three of the founders of Asheville Independent Restaurants

One of the most notable aspects of Asheville’s culinary community is its focus on camaraderie rather than competition. Tangible proof of this phenomenon is the success of Asheville Independent Restaurants, an organization formed in 2002 by a group of local chefs and restaurant owners who joined forces to create a united front for the betterment of Asheville’s […]