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.

Reports from Tales of the Cocktail: Asheville edged out by Brooklyn, N.Y. in national cocktail competitio­n

On a rainy Friday afternoon in New Orleans, Louisiana, Asheville’s own Nicole Anhalt came in from the downpour to stake her claim in this year’s Sidecar by Merlet Cocktail Competition. Hosted annually at the country’s largest cocktail conference, Tales of the Cocktail, seven bartenders from across the country competed for a trip to the Merlet […]

Reports from Tales of the Cocktail: Asheville bartender competes in national sidecar competitio­n

It is estimated that this year 22,000 of the world’s finest craft cocktail nerds — including a healthy contingent from Asheville’s bar scene — have either flown, driven or just drunkenly appeared in town to learn from the nation’s most knowledgeable mixology minds. Along with seminars, tasting rooms and classes, there are also competitions and awards ceremonies.

No holds barred: Blue Ridge BBQ Festival sees both fierce and friendly competitio­n

By the time we come down from the clouds that cling to the mountains, and pull into Tryon, the rain is hot on our heels on a Friday afternoon. Not good news for the 73 competition barbecue cookers that have come from as far away as Texas and Missouri to try their hand at yet another trophy, this time at the recent Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival.

Post-tablecloth dining at Vue 1913

It is a crystal-clear day when I take my seat in the dining room at Grove Park Inn’s new Vue 1913, a more casual take on farm-to-table dining than the venue’s previous installment, Horizons. I’ve come here for a chef’s tasting, and the fact that the inn even has a chef’s tasting is a good sign that, despite having a burger on the menu, there might be a little more fine dining going on here than meets the eye.

Smoky, smoky mountains: The changing face of North Carolina barbecue

“Write about the succulent glories of Tar Heel barbecue at one’s own peril,” advised Rosemary Roberts of the Greensboro News & Record, adding, “It’s much safer to take on the National Rifle Association.” Barbecue is North Carolina’s love, lust and food of choice. Heck, it might as well be our state religion. And if love, religion and food are the three most common causes of rifts, rivalries and wars, barbecue is also a battleground.

Sovereign Remedies: Charlie Hodge brings his cocktail wizardry down to earth with a farm-to-bar venture

Charlie Hodge is no stranger to the cocktail scene. After helping to open Chestnut and developing its beverage program, he went on to head the bar at Bull & Beggar. His newest venture is a farm-to-bar cocktail joint called Sovereign Remedies, which began demolition last week on its tiny 800-square-foot space at the corner of Walnut and Market streets.