An overactive refrigerator couldn’t cool A-B Tech‘s chances at last month’s American Culinary Federation national student team championship in Orlando, where the school’s team took first place. “It was really intense,” team captain Jason Huang, who reports that the competition got off to a nervous start when team members realized a cooler was starting to freeze their ingredients. “Chamblis’ greens got frozen a little, but we saved them,” said Huang, who rapidly moved the ingredients to a warmer spot. Floor judges were apparently impressed with A-B Tech’s teamwork: “One of the floor judges said we had the best camaraderie of any team,” Huang says.
Don’t worry, the brunch buffet is here to stay. But menu changes are afoot at the Grove Park Inn’s Blue Ridge Dining Room: “We want to give Blue Ridge more personality,” GPI Executive Chef Bobby Hammock explained. “We’re adding some regional dishes and comfort foods. We’re putting meatloaf on the menu.” Befitting the ritzy resort, even the plain-Jane-sounding dishes will have an upscale twist: Pork and beans turns out to be pork shanks in a hearty ragout. Still, Hammock says, “it’s not pretentious. We’re leaning toward indigenous products.” Hammock predicts the menu at the restaurant, which handles about one-third of GPI’s nonbanquet dining, will evolve slowly, with new items being added periodically. Cajun salmon and a fried-green tomato appetizer are among the first new items to debut.
Clingman Avenue Coffee and Catering has long served a great bagel and lox plate—but most Sunday brunchers have never had the chance to try it. That should all change with the introduction of Sunday hours. Starting this month, the cafe at 242 Clingman Ave. will be open on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.