Small bites: Do-nut Thro-down at The Asheville Masonic Temple

SUGAR RUSH: Asheville Food Fan Stu Helm will host the 2019 Do-nut Thro-down and Bake Sale at the Asheville Masonic Temple on Wednesday, April 24, 1:30-3:30 p.m. Photo by Thomas Calder

Stu Helm is no Mason, but lately the Asheville Food Fan has spent plenty of time at the Asheville Masonic Temple. Since January, he’s hosted a series of on-site food-related competitions, which double as fundraisers for the restoration of the temple’s historical hand-painted theater backdrops. To date, the events have raised $1,200. By year’s end, Helm hopes to secure between $5,000 and $8,000 for the project.

On Wednesday, April 24, the local food connoisseur is back at it with his latest culinary contest, the 2019 Asheville Do-nut Thro-down and Bake Sale. The free afternoon event, notes Helm, is co-produced by Shay Brown Events and is co-sponsored by Takeout Central, Dig Local Asheville, WPVM 103.7 and Farm to Home Milk.

Competing local eateries include Geraldine’s Bakery, Hemingway’s Cuba, The Underground Cafe with DoughP Doughnuts and Vortex Doughnuts, as well as Hendough Chicken & Donuts of Hendersonville and Mr. Bob’s Donuts of Marion. Conspicuously missing from the list, notes Helm, is Hole Doughnuts. The shop’s unique, made-to-order approach prevented the local business from participating in the competition. “Hole is a complicated beast and kind of a unicorn,” Helm explains.

On the day of the event, competitors will submit two doughnuts — a classic and a specialty — for evaluation by a three-judge panel that includes Buxton Hall Barbecue’s head pastry chef, Ashley Capps, Mission Hospital nurse Stephanie Grant and Officer Joe Silberman of the Asheville Police Department. “High-stress jobs require doughnuts,” Helm says, explaining the diverse backgrounds and levels of expertise that each judge brings.

Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase the remaining five dozen doughnuts that competitors are required to bring. All proceeds from the bake sale portion of the event will benefit the Masonic Temple’s theater backdrops.

“It’s not a huge festival,” Helm emphasizes. “There is going to be a limited number of doughnuts, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.”

The 2019 Asheville Do-nut Thro-down and Bake Sale runs 1:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, at the Asheville Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway. For more, visit

Taste of Black Asheville

On Saturday, April 20, the YMI Cultural Center will host the Taste of Black Asheville as part of YMI’s 365 Days of Black History initiative. The dinner will feature dishes prepared by Robyn Harris, founder and CEO of GirlGoCook LLC, as well as Sonjia Brewton, owner of Sonjia B’s Catering. Menu highlights include shrimp and grits, chicken bog, potato soup, bread pudding and Key lime pie. Tickets are $75 per person or $350 for a table of six.

The dinner runs 6-9 p.m. Saturday, April 20, at the YMI Cultural Center, 39 S. Market St. To purchase tickets, visit

Cupcake and beer pairing

Spring has arrived, and to celebrate, Catawba Brewing Co. and Three Eggs Cakery of Asheville are teaming up for a four-course spring-themed beer and cupcake pairing. Pairings include: Pilsner and shortcake with strawberry whipped topping; Rising Sun and a lavender lemon cake with cream cheese buttercream; Tropical Milkshake IPA and a classic vanilla cake with a creamsicle buttercream; and Brown Bear Ale paired with mocha cake with a salted caramel buttercream topped with an almond brittle. Tickets are $25.

The pairing runs 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, at Catawba Brewing Co., 32 Banks Ave., #105. For tickets, visit

Chef Ramp Dinner returns

Five local chefs will join forces to create a five-course meal for the second consecutive Chef Ramp Dinner on Tuesday, April 23. Participating chefs include Brian Crow of Chestnut, Josh Chapman of Corner Kitchen, Kenneth Blalock of Copper Crown, Duane Fernandes of Hemingway’s Cuba and Ryan Kline of Zambra Tapas Wine & Bar. The menu will feature deviled ramp quail eggs, spring pea and ramp tortellini, crispy smoked frog legs, Cuban-style baby back ribs and braised lamb neck. Each course will be paired with an alcoholic beverage. Tickets are $125 and include food, alcohol, tax and gratuity.

The dinner runs 6-10 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, at Chestnut, 48 Biltmore Ave. To purchase tickets, visit

OWL Bakery announces expansion

Old World Levain Bakery recently announced plans to expand its bread program. The West Asheville bakery will relocate the bread-making portion of its operations to Make Space, a commissary kitchen in Woodfin founded by Charlie Hodge, owner of Sovereign Remedies and Ole Shakey’s Getaway. According to OWL’s website, the expansion will allow the bakery to produce a greater variety of breads. OWL co-owner Susannah Gebhart says no official date has been set for the move, but she hopes to be up and running by early May. Once the new program is operational, loaves from the new production location will arrive each morning and afternoon to the bakery’s West Asheville shop. On April 20, OWL Bakery will also join the North Asheville Tailgate Market as a bread vendor.

OWL Bakery is at 295 Haywood Road. Make Space is at 943 Riverside Drive, Woodfin. For updates on OWL’s expansion, visit

Easter roundup

To celebrate Easter, Roux, 43 Town Square Blvd., will serve a Sunday brunch buffet featuring a mix of locally and regionally sourced goods, including barbecued Scottish salmon, carved-to-order Virginia ham and bananas foster French toast. Cost is $49.95 for adults, $16.95 for children ages 6-12 and free for those younger than 5 ( Biltmore Village Mediterranean restaurant Rezaz will also offer a buffet 11 a.m.-2 p.m. for $32 per person, $14 for children ( Golden Fleece, 111 Grovewood Road, will serve an a la carte brunch menu featuring slow-roasted lamb ( In Sylva, The Cut Cocktail Lounge, 610 W. Main St., plans to host an adult Easter egg hunt, as well as an egg decorating event. The lounge will also offer expanded brunch menu items, along with holiday-themed cocktails ( A similar egg hunt will take place at Milton’s Black Mountain, 308 W. State St. In addition, the restaurant will offer a curated brunch for $39 per person, with dishes including spring pea bisque, whole roasted beef tenderloin, braised leg of lamb and lemon poppyseed cake (

Easter is Sunday, April 21. For specific times and menus, see provided links. 


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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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