Since leaving Buxton Hall Barbecue, chef Ashley Capps has been playing around

HAPPY DAYS: Pastry chef Ashley Capps has been making time to collaborate with friends and peers since leaving Buxton Hall BBQ at the end of 2019. Photo by Nicole McConville

For the first time in 20 years, chef Ashley Capps has time on her hands. And she is finding it as delicious as the desserts that made her one of Asheville’s best-known pastry chefs through stints early in her career at Chai Pani, then Rhubarb. After nearly five years in the basement pastry kitchen at Buxton Hall Barbecue, where she created the banana pudding pie that lured even nonmeat eaters to the restaurant, Capps sliced about three cases of apples, made a bunch of pie dough and two days before Thanksgiving, hung up her Buxton Hall apron for the last time.

“It was sad, but it felt so natural and right, and it was time to move on,” she says. “I was Buxton Ashley for so long I didn’t know who I was without Buxton. It took me about a month to unravel myself and just be Ashley again.”

She got back into a daily exercise routine, adopted a dog, read books, traveled a bit and spent about two weeks with her family, helping her mom over Christmas. “My family told me they hadn’t seen me for more than two days straight since I was 16 years old. That kind of blew my mind.”

In the new year, the search for what’s next began in earnest, even if she’s still not quite sure exactly what “next” looks like. “I’m looking for buildings,” she says. “I’m looking everywhere and am open to anywhere. I’ve looked in Marshall, Burnsville, Black Mountain, Weaverville, Woodfin and the River Arts District. The rest of the time, I’m being playful, and I love it.”

What playful means to Capps is referencing an informal list of people in Western North Carolina who inspire her and have earned her respect and reaching out to them to collaborate: “Hey, I think you’re awesome, and do you want to do a dinner, teach a class, make something together?”

As Capps’ Instagram followers know, she has been busy with her “free” time. In February alone, she had play dates with Half Moon Market in Black Mountain and All Souls Pizza teaching Austrian strudel making; with Crucible Bar, where she sold frozen cinnamon rolls ready to pop in the oven to sweeten the morning after; and with pastry chef Cynthia Pierce, owner of Café Yuzu, who sells Capps’ savory and sweet tarts, some cakes and little Turkish bagel-style breads called simits.

A meeting with Trade and Lore owner Sarah Winkler led to Saturday morning sales in the Wall Street coffee shop of fresh-baked sourdough bread and jars of sourdough culture from her and her friend former Rhubarb intern Shannon McKinney. “I knew we would sell the bread, but it blew my mind that we were selling out the jars of culture, too. I love that people are taking it home and baking bread,” says Capps.

On Saturday, March 14 — aka Pi Day — she’s teaming with Sweetheart Bakery’s Aimee Mostwill for a two-hour pie workshop at All Souls Pizza. At the same location on Monday, March 16, she, her partner, Travis Schultz, and All Souls chef/owner Brendan Reusing will teach a workshop on how to make three types of soup.

“What I’m doing now is what makes me happy until I find a space,” she says. “I have three different business plans written, so a lot depends on the space I find and where it is. But food will be a big part of it because that’s my world.”

Information and tickets for Capps’ events can be found on her Eventbrite page at avl.mx/6zg.

SHARE

Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

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.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Since leaving Buxton Hall Barbecue, chef Ashley Capps has been playing around

  1. Jay

    this local “celebrity” Chefs craze …. is just so bizarre; I just cant drink the KOOLAID… Id feel like such a TOOL if I bought into the hype… Ive tried them; only to feel completely ripped off for very average food in small portions.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.