Foodwire: Changes at the helm of Laughing Seed and Grove Park Inn

Asheville chefs quit

Laughing Seed Café's chef, Sandy Krebs, is leaving the popular vegetarian joint, according to the restaurant's public relations staff. Krebs had been with the restaurant for just more than a year.

Changes to the vegetarian eatery, which is consistently voted Asheville's best in Xpress' Best of WNC poll, will not be radical, according to co-owner Joan Eckert. “The Laughing Seed always hopes to keep improving and keep evolving,” she adds.

Krebs will leave the Laughing Seed for a position in Roanoke, Va. in early November. Chef Kevin Archer of JivamukTea Café in Manhattan will replace her. Archer is a vegan, writer and public speaker. Eckert says that he will bring a vegan perspective to his cooking, but she plans for Laughing Seed to remain a vegetarian restaurant.

Up at The Grove Park Inn, executive chef Denny Trantham has given his notice after almost five years with the resort. K.C. Cronin, director of public relations, says the inn has yet to hire Trantham's replacement. The staff turnover does not signal a major cuisine change at the resort’s eight eateries, she adds.

“I think there's going to be a larger commitment to [local] than ever before,” Cronin says. “We work with 27 farms in North Carolina, and our chefs are planning their recipes based on what's going to be available in the next season.”

Mapping grapes

Herbicides don't always stay where they're sprayed; sometimes, they move in air currents. That's why Chuck Blethen of the Sustainable Appalachian Viticulture Institute in Madison County is creating a map of WNC's vineyards. He attributes the loss of his grape crop this year to spray drift, the wafting herbicide phenomenon, caused by road maintenance.

Blethen already has partnered with French Broad Electric Membership Corporation in an effort to reduce the impact of their herbicide use on grape growers. Using the vineyard map, he hopes the power company and, eventually, county and state governments, will be able to avoid spraying chemicals near grape vines during sensitive times.

To add a vineyard to the map, contact Blethen at chuck@jeweloftheblueridge.com.

Table’s new topper

Jacob Sessoms, chef/owner of Table and Tod’s Tasties, confirmed last week that his new bar will be called The Imperial Life. The lounge will open above Table on Walnut Street. Its name pays homage to the historic building, which was originally occupied by the Imperial Life Insurance Company. An inscription in the decorative molding that crowns the building still bears the original owner’s name.

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