TOP TASTING: Larken Egleston, regional brand ambassador for Rémy Cointreau, will visit Top of the Monk on Wednesday, Nov. 19, to host a showcase of Woodford Reserve's finest bourbons. Photo courtesy of Top of the Monk

Top of the Monk event to spotlight bourbon and the Manhattan

No plans for hump day? How about Whiskey Wednesday at Thirsty Monk? On Wednesday, Nov. 19, the regional brand ambassador for Rémy Cointreau, Larken Egleston, will be making his way to Asheville to host a showcase of Woodford Reserve’s finest bourbons at Top of the Monk, the speakeasy above Thirsty Monk. Woodford, based in Versailles, […]

CHILI CHAMPS: From left to right, 2013 chili champion Jerry Hubbard,   who placed third in this year's Chili and Cornbread Cook-off , is pictured with second-place chili winner Colleen Harris and this year's double winner, Robert Duncan. Photo by Jackie Kitchen

Swannanoa cook-off names chili, cornbread champ

Swannanoa native Robert Duncan nabbed both of the top prizes in Swannanoa United Methodist Church’s second annual Chili and Cornbread  Cook-off on Saturday, Nov. 8, according to a press release from event organizers. Colleen Harris of  Black Mountain won second prize in the chili category and third prize went to Jerry Hubbard  of  Hendersonville, who won last […]

NUTRITION ON WHEELS: Olufemi Lewis at the wheel of the Ujamaa Freedom Market, the rolling produce store she operates with partner Calvin Allen. Ujamaa recently received a grant from Whole Foods Market's Whole Cities Foundation. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Ujamaa Freedom Market wins grant from Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market Asheville announced on Thursday, Nov. 6, that local worker-owned mobile produce vendor Ujamaa Freedom Market was among 12 nonprofit organizations in the Southeast tapped to receive grants from Whole Foods Market’s Whole Cities Foundation. The grants were funded by money raised during the company’s quarterly 5% Day community giving event on Aug. 19. Ujamaa […]

FAMILY-STYLE: Kevin Lee (second from right) runs Happy Jack's with the help of his family, from left, daughter Laura Thorpe, son Michael Lee and wife Betty Lee. Photo by John Coutlakis

Welcome to Happy Jack’s: New Tunnel Road restaurant dishes up solid breakfast options

The bright yellow sign in front of Happy Jack’s bills it as a biscuits-and-gravy joint, but this description doesn’t tell the whole story. While there are definitely both biscuits and gravy worth bragging about at the Tunnel Road breakfast-only restaurant, it seems likely that owner Kevin Lee lavishes just as much attention on Happy Jack’s other offerings. […]

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 […]

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 […]