THE LINEUP: From left, A-B Tech students Alex Harris, Caroline Williams, Kristina Costa, Ruth Solis, Jay O'Hannon (rear) and Daniel Radle took top honors in the recent Hot Food Team Culinary Competition. Photo courtesy of A-B Tech

A-B Tech wins statewide competition

Five A-B Tech students recently snagged first place and a gold medal during the statewide Hot Food Team Culinary Competition, earning them a trip to the American Culinary Federation’s Regional Competition.

Team captain Alex Harris, Caroline Williams, Ruth Solis and Daniel Radle will move on to compete April 26-29 in Charleston, S.C., at the ACF’s Southeast Regional conference. Team manager Kristina Costa, alternate Jay O’Hannon, and coach Chef Eric Backer round out the group. Participating students are enrolled in either the Culinary Arts or the Baking and Pastry Arts programs at A-B Tech. In the competition, student teams first demonstrate butchery and knife skills, then prepare a four-course signature meal.

Their opponents should be concerned: Seven times in the last 11 years of the national competition, A-B Tech teams have been ranked in the top four. Best of luck to our local team!

AIR’s Small-Plate Crawl adds wine

The Asheville Independent Restaurant Association will hold its third annual Small-Plate Crawl Tuesday-Thursday, Feb. 25-27. New this year: Several participating chefs have designed plates specifically to be paired with Biltmore Estate wines. Plate prices are in the $3-$8 range.

This year’s participants include Blue Kudzu Sake, Carmel’s Kitchen & Bar, Creperie Bouchon, French Broad Chocolates, King James Public House, Lexington Avenue Brewery, The Lobster Trap, The Market Place, Sante Wine Bar & Tap Room, Strada Italiano, Thirsty Monk, Wicked Weed Brewing, 32º Ice Bar & Lounge, Pomodoros Cafe South and Sunny Point Café.

Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council open meeting

The Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council will hold a Monday, Feb. 10, “Meeting of the Whole,” a communitywide event for anyone wanting to learn more about the organization’s work and help it set priorities for the coming year. The meeting will take place at UNC – Asheville’s Sherrill Center in the Mountain View Suite. A new-member orientation will be held at 4 p.m. followed by a working meeting 4:30-6:30 p.m. Parking is available at the Sherrill Center. The council will celebrate the progress made across the community over the past year in working toward policies that support a “healthy, food-friendly” Asheville and Buncombe County.

RSVP for the meeting at

Cheese-tasting events

The Cheese Store of Asheville is partnering with experts including cheese makers, butchers, cheese sellers, wine representatives and cultural experts to offer a variety of informative cheese-tasting events over the winter.

February events include: France, 3-5 p.m., Sunday, Feb 9; Spain, 3-5 p.m., Sunday, Feb 16; and Charcuterie and Beer (cheese will also be included), 5:30-7 p.m., Thursday Feb. 20. Tastings are $15 per person. The Cheese Store is inside the Weinhaus at 86 Patton Ave.

484-1586, or visit


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