SMALL BITES: Asheville Independent Restaurants names new executive board

FRESH AIR: Peter Pollay takes the reins as 2014 president of Asheville Independent Restaurants executive board. Courtesy of Posana Café
FRESH AIR: Peter Pollay takes the reins as 2014 president of Asheville Independent Restaurants executive board. Courtesy of Posana Café

Asheville Independent Restaurants recently named its new executive board for 2014, tapping Posana Café co-owner and Executive Chef Peter Pollay as president. Chosen as president-elect at the end of 2012, Pollay replaces outgoing president Sherrye Coggiola of The Cantina.

AIR's membership is composed of more than 90 independent restaurants, and its 2014 board represents a cross section of Asheville's eclectic food scene. Posana Café, located downtown, focuses on gluten-free fare, while other eateries represented on the board offer barbecue, fried chicken and seafood.

Other new new executive board members are: Kim Murray, co-owner of The Lobster Trap, vice president; Jeff Miller, owner of Luella's Barbecue, secretary; and Rich Cundiff, owner of Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack, treasurer.

According to AIR Executive Director Jane Anderson, the new board reflects the wide range of businesses the group represents. “AIR has doubled its membership in the last two years,” she says, “and it really needed to create a board that represents the diversity of this huge organization. … The nominating committee worked to come up with a board that I believe really does that.”

Anderson says Pollay, who had worked with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck before opening Posana five years ago, has been a huge asset to AIR because of his leadership in the areas of sustainability and green business practices. The Green Restaurant Association named Posana North Carolina's first Certified Green Restaurant in 2011. From there, Pollay spearheaded the effort that helped Asheville win the honor of being named the first Green Dining Destination in the United States by the organization.

Pollay says he plans to maintain his local focus during his yearlong term. “We're really excited as a whole organization to become as sustainable as possible. We have an industry that uses up a lot of natural resources,” he says. “We're trying to do anything we can to lessen our carbon footprint.”

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