Good food isn’t all Mike Moore has been cooking up in the kitchens of Seven Sows Bourbon and Larder, and the Blind Pig supper club. Underbelly, a food and Southern-culture quarterly magazine he and his team have been publishing, just won some high praise: The second installment of the journal, “Soul & Comfort,” was awarded top honors in the Food Journals category at the 2013 Midwest Publishing Awards Show held in Chicago on Oct. 10. Out of 87 entries, Underbelly was selected not just for its content and composition, but also for its production.
The journal features works by local writers like Knife & Fork chef Nate Allen, who shares stories about community farmers and homegrown food. Anne-Fitten Glenn, author of Asheville Beer, discusses the growing popularity of using grits in brewing. Among others, Susannah Patty of the Appalachian Food Storybank tells the enriching tale of soul food in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. In addition to rich journalism, the magazine sports edgy and progressive design and content, which seems to have caught the eye of the judges in Illinois.
When asked if he plans to continue the endeavor, Moore seems undecided. “When we chose to do Underbelly, it was way before we decided to open Seven Sows, way before any kind of restaurant was even in my mind.” He explains, “We were going to develop Underbelly and a catering company, and that was going to be our two concentrations. But with the restaurant starting, it has been an incredible chore to do everything.”
But despite the difficulties and an already full plate, Moore hasn’t ruled out future publications. “We’re on the fence with whether or not we’re going to do it again next year, but with this award, the recognition kind of makes it seem worthwhile. It really makes all the work seem worth it.”
The third installment of Underbelly will hit shelves, exclusively in Asheville, soon. It will focus on the modernization in the food and beverage industry and will feature interviews with Sean Brock of Husk in Charleston as well as Asheville’s own William Dissen of The Market Place on a visit to his alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America. The issue will be available at Bruisin’ Ales, Downtown Books & News, Hops & Vines, Levi’s Pantry, Over Easy Cafe and Seven Sows. — Jonathan Ammons
— Jonathan Ammons is an Asheville native.