Small Bites: Feasting for FEAST

LET'S EAT: This year's Feasting for FEAST will include food from 20 local establishments, including Cucina 24, French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Gypsie Queen Cuisine, West End Bakery and more. Photo from a past event by Jessica Merchant

“If I could sit in a corner and watch the whole event take place, that’s what I would do,” says Kate Justen, co-founder of FEAST, the nonprofit that provides cooking and gardening classes in 11 Buncombe Country schools. “I think it’s great to watch adults really excited about food. They’re like little kids going from restaurant to restaurant.”

In its sixth year, Feasting for FEAST is the organization’s major fundraiser. This year’s event will bring together 20 local restaurants, serving food in the ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel. Curate, Sunny Point Café and The Junction are among the businesses offering up plates. All proceeds benefit FEAST. Justen notes that last year’s gathering contributed a third of the organization’s overall yearly budget.

Betsy Puckett, known for her LaZoom character “Augusta Wind,” is joining the celebration as this year’s celebrity bartender. Decked out in a “sexy broccoli” outfit, Puckett will provide guests with their choice of beverages from Biltmore Estate Winery, Bhramari Brewhouse, Hi-Wire Brewing and Noble Cider.

Live music will be performed by local band House Hunters, and raffle baskets and a silent auction are also part of the evening’s festivities.

“I really want people to have a good time and a full belly,” Justen says. “And I hope they … [see] that our whole point is just to get people eating more fruits and vegetables — that you don’t have to do crazy fad diets to be healthier. Sometimes it’s as simple as adding broccoli to your plate and finding a way that you like to eat it.”

Feasting for FEAST runs 6:30-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, in the ballroom of the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, 31 Woodfin St. Tickets are $50 in adance, $60 the day of the event. VIP tickets cost $100 and include early entry and exclusive samples. For details on FEAST, visit For tickets, visit

Fight the Flood: A benefit concert for Southern Louisiana

The Salvage Station will host Fight the Flood, a concert organized by local resident April Franck to help raise funds for those impacted by the recent flood in southern Louisiana. In a press release, Franck (who grew up outside of Baton Rouge) says, “I suffered great loss as a result of Hurricane Katrina and can relate to the challenges that flood victims face. I am lucky to have a wonderful group of family and friends here in Asheville, some from south Louisiana themselves, who are committed to helping me give back to my hometown in its time of need.” Andrew Long will provide the gathering with Creole cuisine, including cochon de lait po’boys, shrimp remoulade po’boys, fried dirty rice with crawfish étouffée and, possibly, crawfish beignets with pimento jam. Formerly of Baton Rouge, Long now owns and operates Over Yonder, a restaurant specializing in Southern cooking in Valle Crucis near Blowing Rock. The Cam Shack Band, Junto and Empire Strikes Brass will all perform at the event.

Fight the Flood takes place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at Salvage Station, 468 Riverside Drive. All proceeds will benefit “Together Baton Rouge: A coalition dedicated to recovery and relief in Southern Louisiana.” Food dishes will range from $6-$9. For more information on how to help, visit For more information on the event, visit

Asheville Greek Festival

Celebrating its 30th year, the Asheville Greek Festival will offer Greek food, music and dance Friday-Sunday, Sept. 23-25. Menu items include lamb shanks, pastichio, spanakoptia, gyro and souvlaki, along with an assortment of Greek pastries. Atlanta band Nick Demos and the Greek Islanders will offer live musical performances throughout the weekend, and cooking demonstrations will also be scheduled. Tours of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church will be available to those interested in its history and practices.

The Asheville Greek Festival is Friday-Sunday, Sept. 23-25, at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 227 Cumberland Ave. Friday and Saturday it runs 11 a.m-9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Food prices range from $1-$17. For more information visit

Sierra Nevada at The Market Place restaurant

The Market Place restaurant will host Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. for a Beers & Bites small-plates pairing event on Wednesday, Sept. 28. At the drop-in bar party, guests can choose from four small-plate and craft beer pairing options with seasonal dishes prepared by chef William Dissen. Look for items including Brasstown Beef brisket, fire-roasted bratwurst, spinach and feta fritters and heirloom farro salad. Molly Parti will provide live music.

Sierra Nevada Beers & Bites takes place 5:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at The Market Place, 20 Wall St. Each pairing costs $10, with 10 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. For more information, visit

City of Asheville develops Restaurant Startup Guide

In an effort to help aspiring entrepreneurs navigate the ins and outs of opening a restaurant, the city of Asheville’s Development Services Department recently created a Restaurant Startup Guide. The trifold brochure provides information about the process, including an overview of required permits and inspections.

For an online version of the guide, 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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