Remarkable tenacity: Kay West shares her top stories of 2020

Kay West; photo by Thomas Calder

Though writing content for the Food section of Xpress morphed rapidly when COVID-19 closed restaurants and bars and decimated the vast network of businesses that support them, there have been plenty of compelling stories tell: People came together to help one another and the community, reinvented themselves and even launched new businesses and restaurants.

Following is one story about four women and their businesses that was written before we fully knew what was about to hit us, and four other articles reflect this unprecedented year in local culinary news. The state of Western North Carolina’s food scene today is not as I might have envisioned it 10 months ago, but it’s all the more remarkable for its incredible tenacity, positivity and generosity.



Jamie Wade; photo by Cindy Kunst



Pioneering spirit: Women create their own opportunities in Asheville’s restaurant industry

Resourcefulness, hard work and tenacity have proven to be indispensable ingredients for success among many of Asheville’s leading women restaurateurs.






Gloria Sundquist, left, and Norwood Schoenke; photo courtesy of Beacon of Hope



Banking on the community: WNC food banks meet challenges with deep reserves of local support

The impacts of COVID-19 on demand, supply and distribution for local hunger relief organizations were immediate and profound, thrusting MANNA FoodBank and its smaller partner agencies into a triage response.











J Chong; photo by Danielle Wheeler




Lights, camera, cook! Asheville chefs turn their home kitchens into virtual cooking classes

When restaurant dining rooms closed, some local chefs found new and personal ways to share their love of cooking.











Sujitra Chubthaisong (aka Chef May); photo courtesy of Thai Pearl




Open-minded: Newly opened and nearly opened restaurants took a COVID punch in March 

Restaurants that were set to debut or relaunch during the state’s pandemic dining room shutdown have found creative ways to persevere.










Sunny Point Cafe’s new patio; photo by Photo by Alice Oglesby



Plan-to-table: Restaurants convert parking lots, sidewalks and streets to open-air dining rooms

With permission from the city, businesses with private parking lots can now convert 50% of their parking area to dining. To expand onto public sidewalks, businesses must be able to maintain 6 feet of clear space for diners and pedestrians.


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About Kay West
Kay West was a freelance journalist in Nashville for more than 30 years, contributing writer for the Nashville Scene, StyleBlueprint Nashville, Nashville correspondent for People magazine, author of five books and mother of two happily launched grown-up kids. To kick off 2019 she put Tennessee in her rear view mirror, drove into the mountains of WNC, settled in West Asheville and appreciates that writing offers the opportunity to explore and learn her new home. She looks forward to hiking trails, biking greenways, canoeing rivers, sampling local beer and cheering the Asheville Tourists.

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