Chef Ulfet Ozyabasligil Ralph, from the Culinary Vegetable Institute in  Charleston, SC, wins the Chefs Challenge. (Mountain Xpress / Jesse Farthing)

Taste of success: Regional chefs battle it out at Chefs Challenge

Crowds of people, people and more people — more than 3,000 — made their way to the annual Asheville Wine & Food Festival at the U.S. Cellular Center downtown on Saturday, Aug. 23. At the end of the evening came the highlight of the festival: the final competition in the annual Chefs Challenge, a cooking competition that pits regional chefs against each other in an Iron Chef-style battle.

The Biltmore Estate was one of the local wineries at the Asheville Wine and Food Festival. Photo by Kat McReynolds

Asheville Wine & Food Festival: The Grand Tasting

Hundreds of flavor enthusiasts gathered at the U.S. Cellular Center for four hours of wine, food, competition and camaraderie at Asheville’s sixth annual Wine and Food Festival Grand Tasting event, and only Southern hospitality could explain the extent of heavy pours that sloshed around inside the event’s beautifully branded keepsake cups.

Highland Brewing Co. employee Jay pours his favorite brew, the Gaelic Ale, for attendees of the 2014 Food Blog Forum. Photo by Maria McReynolds

Asheville hosts 120 hungry bloggers

Ashevilleans, more so than residents of many other cities, know where their food is raised, grown or picked and can often participate in the process with little effort. This reverence for cuisine afforded Asheville the honor of hosting Food Blog Forum’s 2014 conference, a three-day networking and educational event for 120 food bloggers from across the nation.

GET FRESH: John Garcia of Lookout Brewing, left, and Van Burnette of the Hop'n Blueberry Farm celebrate the recent hops harvest. Photo by Thom O'Hearn

Beer Scout: Hops to it

  Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries: everyone has their favorite U-pick treat. However, Van Burnette of the Hop’n Blueberry Farm wants folks in the Asheville area to remember there is another crop in season: hops. “Last year we had 6-1/2 feet of rain, it was a bad year for downy mildew, and we had root problems,” says Burnett. […]

FEEDING SUCCESS: Jack's Nut Butters owner Jack Fischer will talk about his business and expansion goals at the Financing Our Foodshed Gathering on Sunday, Aug. 24. Photo by Alicia Funderburk

Local dollars, local food: Slow Money NC hosts Financing Our Foodshed Gathering

Carol Peppe Hewitt is a matchmaker of sorts. As cofounder of the North Carolina chapter of the international nonprofit organization Slow Money and author of Financing Our Foodshed: Growing Local Food With Slow Money, Hewitt’s goal is to help sustainability-minded food entrepreneurs and community members interested in supporting their work meet and — quite possibly — fall in love.

GOING COMMERCIAL: Thomas Mincarelli samlpes a commercial wine during the recent judging for the Asheville Wine and Food Festival. Mincarelli won the Double Blue Ribbon in this year's amateur wine competition. Photo by Alicia Funderburk

Blood of the grape: Asheville Wine & Food Festival spotlights local vintners

Asheville may be Beer City, but that’s not the only libation local residents enjoy. Consider the continuing success of the Asheville Wine & Food Festival. Now in its sixth year, the annual celebration of the region’s winemakers, wine shop owners, chefs and restaurants is expanding its focus on local wines, adding a competition for commercial […]

The Whole Foods mobile kitchen will donate its Aug. 18 sales to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. Photo courtesy of Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market to set up mobile kitchen on Tunnel Road

Upscale grocer Whole Foods has planned a week of mobile kitchen feasts in anticipation of the grand opening at its 4 S. Tunnel Road location. The campaign kicks off with a “community giving day” on Aug. 18, at which nonprofit Brother Wolf Animal Rescue will be the sole beneficiary of all food sales.