What’s new in food: Building brotherhood for Black Asheville

BUILDING BROTHERHOOD: The YMI Cultural Center's Brother's Brunch event series promotes Black excellence through good food and quality networking opportunities. Photo courtesy of the YMI Cultural Center

YMI Cultural Center continues its 129-year tradition of forging new cultural, educational, social and business opportunities for Asheville’s Black community with its latest Brother’s Brunch on Saturday, Aug. 6, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The monthly free gathering, which debuted in June, takes place the first Saturday of every month and is intended for men of color of all ages.

“The purpose of Brother’s Brunch is to provide an opportunity for male individuals to bond, fellowship and network,” says Justin Blackburn, peer support specialist at YMI Cultural Center. “The impact of having a strong network of professional and supportive men in my life has propelled me tremendously into becoming the man I am today.”

Each monthly brunch is catered by a rotating list of local chefs and restaurants that sponsor the events and provide complimentary meals.

“The food is obviously a large aspect of Brother’s Brunch because our fellowship takes place around the table,” says Blackburn.

Joe Scully, chef and co-owner of Chestnut and Corner Kitchen, catered the first two Brother’s Brunches and was instrumental in setting the precedent for what Blackburn and YMI hope will become a long-running event and a new pillar of the local Black community.

“I became friendly with Justin Blackburn through my interest and involvement with the YMI Cultural Center,” says Scully. “I have always loved the YMI; as a matter of fact, my wife and I held our wedding reception in the auditorium there. We hope to bring a sense of fellowship and unity and break down barriers through the Brother’s Brunch.”

Del Vecchios, the latest local sponsor, is set to provide lasagna, salad and sides for attendees of the Aug. 6 event. Tony Franco and Matthew Macon of Food Experience will take over meal responsibilities for the next event.

Due to renovations closing the main YMI offices, The Foundry Hotel has stepped up to host these monthly events until the center reopens.

“My hope is that not only will men that attend be able to find a place in someone else’s support system, but that the younger attendees will see men interacting on a level they may not normally see,” says Blackburn.

A similar program accommodating Black women of all ages is currently in development with a tentative start date set for Oct. 26.

There is no registration required to attend Brother’s Brunch. The Foundry Hotel is at 51 S. Market St. Visit avl.mx/9gc for more information.

Chow Chow events fill weekend

A series of culturally immersive and culinary events will take place Thursday, Aug. 4- Sunday, Aug. 7, during the second weekend of the 2022 Summer of Chow Chow.

On Saturday, Aug. 6, event sponsors Burial Beer Co. and the WNC Farmers Market will host Nourishing Community at the WNC Farmers Market. The gathering will feature seven chefs creating three small dishes each and seven craft beverage makers pouring drink samples to accompany each dish. Six speakers from local gardens and markets will discuss the importance of ethical agriculture and food justice throughout the service, which runs 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tickets are $60 per person.

Also on Saturday, Aug. 6, is the Sowing Seeds of Equity seated dinner 6-9 p.m. at the WNC Farmers Market. Farmers of color will be celebrated and engaged in conversation throughout a five-course meal paired with beverages featuring six local chefs and five craft beverage makers. A cocktail hour will follow the meal. Tickets are $150 per person.

Chef Steven Goff (Tastee Diner) and mixologist Chris Faber (The Times Bar) will co-host a Cooking with Scraps Seminar at the Asheville Masonic Temple on Sunday, Aug. 7, 9-11 a.m. Kitchen resourcefulness meets environmental sustainability in an event exploring Southern Appalachian food ingenuity. Tickets run $25 per person.

From cuisine to fuel and everything in between, corn represents one of the most diverse and commonly used food products across cultures and time periods. A robust series of speakers and chefs will address the diversity of this humble maize during Corn: A Cross-Cultural Celebration, a four-course brunch with paired beverages on Sunday, Aug. 7, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., at Highland Brewing Co. Tickets cost $125 per person.

WNC Farmers Market is at 570 Brevard Road. The Asheville Masonic Temple is at 80 Broadway. Highland Brewing Co. is at 12 Old Charlotte Highway, No. 200. For a complete list of events, visit avl.mx/6gm

Peru in the spotlight

Citizen Vinyl is set to welcome Peruvian artist, stage designer and chef Caro Gutiérrez Paz of Ayni 51 Peruvian Food as part of its Turntable Suppers series. The dinner series melding food and vinyl takes place Monday, Aug. 8, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

“Peruvian culture is a mix of life and of culture,” says Paz. “My family is diverse. They taught me how to cook and that food is a part of my history. We’ll have Andean cuisine, jungle food and coastal dishes.”

Records representing artists from the Peruvian coast, the Andean mountains and even a few of Paz’s favorite local artists will provide the soundtrack for the night.

“There’s nothing better than creating culture in new spaces through new forms,” says Paz.

Citizen Vinyl is at 14 O. Henry Ave. Tickets cost $65 per person. Visit avl.mx/btm to reserve your spot and for additional information.

New Origin Brewing turns 1

One of Asheville’s newest breweries, New Origin, celebrates its first anniversary with a party commemorating the milestone on Saturday, Aug. 6, noon-10 p.m.

A special barrel-aged stout and a New England IPA, brewed in collaboration with Charlotte’s Heist Brewery, will be released for the event. The Garage BBQ food truck plans to be on-site, serving smoked meats topped with scratch sauces, while supplies last. Local band Iggy Radio kicks the party up a notch starting at 6 p.m.

The brewery will also unveil special edition anniversary T-shirts and pour celebratory seltzer slushies throughout the event.

New Origin Brewing is at 131 Thompson St. Visit avl.mx/btn for additional information.

Pass it on

BeLoved Asheville has announced an innovative new initiative designed to preserve cultural traditions through fresh healthy food.

Dubbed La Cocina de Mama/Mama’s Kitchen food truck, the local nonprofit plans to accommodate communities of color with a series of education classes, kid-friendly chef kits and opportunities to pass down traditions and techniques to the next generation of culinary creators.

Donations are currently being gathered ahead of the Aug. 22 deadline to help fund the project, with a goal of $6,000 set by the organization.

“We are so excited to announce this new innovative solution to preserving cultural traditions through fresh healthy food,” says BeLoved Asheville in a press release announcing the project. “Mama’s Kitchen gives mothers, aunts, sisters and grandmothers a chance to keep their cultural traditions alive.”

Visit avl.mx/btl for more information and to donate.

The future of Foothills Meats

From a small farm to a retail butcher shop to a multifaceted food service and hospitality company, Foothills Meats has continuously evolved its concept since its inception in 2002.

“We’re so grateful to be looking back on 20 years in local food and farming,” says owner Casey McKissick in a press release announcing the company’s anniversary. “Every year we’ve stuck with our core mission of providing ‘Honest Meat,’ and the local community has supported us at every step.”

In celebration of its 20th year in business, Foothills is looking to return to its roots with a new concept and a new iteration of its Black Mountain Butcher Bar.

The brand-new concept comes by way of Foothills Grange, an expansive outdoor space suited to accommodate 250 people named in honor of the Grange Movement — a culturally significant period in American agriculture history when the first progressive farming movement was established.

“We wanted to create a unique spot that brings all types of people together and celebrates our collective agriculture heritage,” McKissick says in the same press release. “By day, it will be a family-friendly place. By night, it might get a little more honky-tonk.”

When Foothills Grange opens later this month, the flagship Foothills Butcher Bar at 107 Black Mountain Ave. will close temporarily before reopening in the fall as a dinner-service-only restaurant specializing in dry-aged steaks and boasting a revitalized bar.

Foothills Grange will be at 120 Broadway Ave., Black Mountain. Visit avl.mx/6n3 for additional information.

Poetic provisions

Like haikus? Here’s one for you:

New Ukiah lunch?
Fridays: noon to 4 p.m.
Try the pork belly.

The above poem was inspired by Ukiah Japanese Smokehouse’s recent announcement of a new Haiku Lunch Menu, promising a delicious, cost-friendly lunch to downtown diners each Friday.

Miso soup, a seasonal salad, a wood-fired chicken, the aforementioned pork belly, mushroom skewers and ramen are among the menu options.

Ukiah’s full selection of appetizers, entrees, desserts and cocktails will remain available during the new Friday lunch period, and this haiku menu can be enjoyed across the restaurant’s bar, indoor and outdoor terrace dining locations.

Ukiah is at 121 Biltmore Ave. Visit avl.mx/9kg for additional information.

Cause for shell-ebration

Jettie Rae’s Oyster House recently commemorated its two-year anniversary with the launch of a new seasonal menu just in time for summer.

“Launching a coastal-inspired seafood restaurant in the mountains — in the middle of a pandemic, no less — was an idea just crazy enough to work, as evidenced by Jettie Rae’s many loyal customers and glowing reviews,” says Emma Waugh, account coordinator for CBPR, a firm representing the restaurant.

Fresh local produce complements even fresher seafood in a number of seasonally inspired items. Low country shrimp salad, crab ricotta tomato toast and Nantucket scallops served with a pecan-tomato sauce and zucchini ribbons are among the featured items.

Jettie Rae’s Oyster House is at 143 Charlotte St. Visit avl.mx/bef for more information.


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