Small bites: Cooking with Food Waste

WASTE NOT: On Tuesday, Oct. 22, Meredith Leigh will host the latest Living Web Farms class, Cooking with Food Waste. Photo by Erin Adams Photography

What do you do with your stale bread, citrus peels and coffee grounds? In many home kitchens, these items may meet a similar fate: To the trashcan they go. But for Meredith Leigh, director of education and outreach at Living Web Farms, another person’s trash is often her key ingredient.

“Food waste is a huge topic in the culinary scene right now,” she says. “And I have been inspired by chefs that I’ve met who are really taking a crack at using seconds and byproducts to create unique food.”

On Tuesday, Oct. 22, Leigh hopes to inspire others through her latest class, Cooking with Food Waste. The affordably priced workshop (admission is a $10 suggested donation) offers a number of inventive ways to make the most of your fruit cores, cheese rinds and vegetable tops. Banana peel chutney, bread miso and startup vinegars are among the recipes to be shared.

Landfills, Leigh notes, are major contributors to global warming. Organic waste, she adds, often makes up a large portion of the items chucked into these sites, so by limiting food waste, individuals can make a positive impact on the environment.

Folks can also use these items to make some pretty sweet treats. “People are usually surprised by how much use they can get out of things they don’t think of eating,” Leigh observes. “I just want the flavors and ideas to inspire people to be more thrifty.”

Cooking with Food Waste runs 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, at Mills River Educational Farm, 176 Kimzey Road, Mills River. $10 suggested donation. To register, visit

Blue Cheese Festival

The inaugural Blue Cheese Festival happens Saturday, Oct. 19, at The Center for Art & Inspiration in Hendersonville. The event will benefit the WNC Cheese Trail, a local nonprofit that promotes local cheese producers through consumer education and tourism. A free cheese taste-athon will be held featuring English Farmstead, Round Mountain Creamery, Yellow Branch Cheese and Pottery, Three Grace’s Dairy and Blue Ridge Mountain Creamery. Bluesman Mac Arnold and A Plateful O’ Blues will perform at the festival. Tickets are $30 in advance; $35 at the door.

The festival starts at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at The Center for Art & Inspiration, 125 S. Main St., Hendersonville. To purchase tickets, visit

Learn to make pasta

Ciao Asheville, an Italian cultural forum, hosts its first cooking class on Sunday, Oct. 20, led by chef and sommelier Robert Stragiotti. Participants will learn how to make pasta and a simple red sauce from scratch. Tickets are $25 and include all materials, as well as a glass of Italian wine. Seats are limited.

The class runs 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte St. To purchase tickets, visit

Fire ciders

Urban Orchard Cider Co.’s latest sensory analysis course focuses on spicy “fire ciders.” Hot peppers — from deseeded jalapeño to scorpion peppers — are among the featured beverages’ key ingredients. Along with samples, the gathering includes a private tour of Urban Orchard’s new cidermaking facility on the South Slope, as well as a complimentary Urban Orchard branded glass. The course will be led by Gregory Hill, the company’s head cidermaker. Tickets are $25 per person; space is limited.

The class runs 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, at Urban Orchard Cider Co., 24 Buxton Ave. To purchase tickets, visit

Jay Medford purchases Storm Rhum Bar and Bistro

Tom and Whitney Israel recently sold their South Slope restaurant, Storm Rhum Bar & Bistro, to Jay Medford, owner of The Underground Cafe with DoughP Doughnuts. Medford is partnering with his wife, Megan Medford, and in-laws Chuck and Robin Jones in the new business. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City, Medford has replaced Owen McGlynn as Storm Rhum’s executive chef. According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, Medford has already added a few new items to the bistro’s menu, including scallops and beets, cauliflower hash, and shrimp and grits. Medford will continue operating The Underground Cafe with DoughP Doughnuts inside the Jackson Building.

Storm Rhum Bar and Bistro is at 125 S. Lexington Ave., Suite 103. For more, visit

Ingles Kids Pantry

In an effort to address hunger, Ingles Markets recently launched the Ingles Kids Pantry, which aims to provide meals to food-insecure children throughout Buncombe County. Donation boxes are situated at the front of all Buncombe County Ingles Markets. Shoppers are encouraged to purchase nutritious, nonperishable food items for the cause. Financial donations can also be made online.

To learn more and to make a donation, visit

Thanksgiving preorders

Hickory Nut Gap Farm has Thanksgiving turkeys available for preorder. According to the farm’s website, all birds have been raised on the Fairview property and range in size from 12-20 pounds. Price is $6 per pound. Pickup dates are Nov. 23-27. Foothills Meats is also accepting orders for Thanksgiving classics, including granny ham rolls, turkeys, house-made hams and charcuterie boards. Prices vary. Pickup is available in Black Mountain and West Asheville Nov. 25-28.

For more on Hickory Nut Gap Farm’s Thanksgiving turkeys, visit For more on Foothills Meats’ Turkey Day special, visit

NCRLA winners

Congratulations to Asheville’s 2019 N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association Chef Showdown winners. Chef Steven Goff of AUX Bar was named Chef of the Year, Johnny Burritt of Apothecary Beverage Co. was named Mixologist of the Year, and Apothecary Beverage Co. also took home Distillery of the Year.

For a complete list of winners, visit


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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