Small Bites: Big moves at Biltmore

Estate-driven: Chef William Klein comes to Asheville via Vermont, France, San Francisco and, most recently, Fig in Biltmore Village. Photo courtesy of the Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate is making notable culinary changes. As you may recall, Damien Cavicchi, former chef/owner of Sugo, is now the executive chef at Biltmore, overseeing all of the restaurants there. Also, the estate will be opening the Biltmore Coffee Company at 1 N. Pack Square in the next few months, which will serve a continental-style breakfast as well as lunch.
And the Bistro has recruited Bill Klein, former executive chef of Fig in Biltmore Village. (Fig is alive and well, by the way. You can learn more about the restaurant at

Klein brings an impressive pedigree. A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, Klein spent a year studying and working in France before joining the team that opened Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco. That year, the restaurant won the James Beard Award for “Best New Restaurant in the U.S.” as well as five Mobil stars. Klein also worked with chef Ron Siegel at Masa's. During his tenure there, the restaurant was rated among the top three restaurants in the San Franscisco area. Klein has also helped renowned chef Hugh Acheson prepare a James Beard dinner and appeared in Continental, Nation’s Restaurant News and Outside Magazine.

The Bistro boasts its own produce garden and estate-raised meats, and its focus on seasonally driven French cuisine fits with Klein's style. "It will be very similar to how I operated [at Fig]," Klein says. "I'm just focusing on seasonal ingredients and trying to highlight those when they're at their peak."

Klein now manages a staff twice the size of that as his previous charge, handling approximately 225 covers for dinner — a bit of a change from Fig, which maxes out at 60 seats with the patio open. "With that volume, it allows us to do the things that we want to do," Klein says.

The Bistro is still inaccessible without an admission ticket to the Biltmore Estate, Klein says. A 12-month pass, he points out, is $130, which includes access to the grounds and buildings on the Estate whenever it's open. "Unfortunately not everyone can venture into the Estate to see me,” he acknowledges. “But I’m working hard to provide a quality product here."

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