Greetings Eaters, as many of you know there are now 1-2-3-4-5-6 Asheville James Beard nominated chefs now, which is pretty impressive considering we live in a city of less than 90,000 folks. Cucina 24 chef and owner Brian Canipelli joined the Asheville James Beard club this year, joining Katie Button, John Fleer, Meherwan Irani, Elliot Moss and Jacob Sessoms as nominees for Best Chef in the Southeast by the prestigious foundation. We here at Eating Asheville are proud to say that we work with all six of these great chefs and that they are a huge part of what makes us a success. We are happy to announce that as of now, our Friday High Roller food tour now features FOUR Asheville James Beard chefs all in one afternoon!
We’ve been scouring the internets on our computers, and we think entirely unofficially that there is no other food tour in the country that can boast such a claim. In light of this tour and these local accomplishers, we figured we’d give you a rundown of the Asheville James Beard chefs featured on the Friday tour, in alphabetical order.
Asheville James Beard Chefs on Friday High Roller Tour
Katie and her husband Felix Meana met while working for Jose Andres in Washington, D. C. and moved on to working at El Bulli in Spain together before deciding on Asheville to open Cúrate six years ago, bringing their experiences working for some of the best Spanish chefs in the world to the Land of the Sky. Two years ago Katie and Felix put their sights on American cuisine, opening Nightbell, and after being named a Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Foundation, Katie received her nomination as Best Chef Southeast in 2015. Visit either of these spots for an experience of spot on technique and attention to detail on every plate and in every glass.
Brian Canipelli, Cucina 24
Brian grew up in Atlanta and attended Johnson & Wales in Charleston before settling in Asheville and heading up the kitchens at the legendary Savoy and Rezaz before opening his own joint. Cucina 24 has been rolling for eight years now, consistently creating super fresh, eye-opening Italian dishes with simple yet original combinations of prime local ingredients.
John Fleer, Rhubarb and The Rhu Café
John probably takes the title as the highest profile chef in Asheville, sporting four James Beard nominations including being a Best Chef Southeast finalist in 2015. The accolades are rightfully deserved as Fleer is one of the founders of the whole farm to table culture, seeking small farms to represent at the Inn at Blackberry Farms back in the 90s. John was integral in putting nationally known producers Alan Benton, Cruze Dairy Farms and Sunburst Trout Farms on the map, and he continues to represent small scale local agriculture in every possible way at his restaurants.
Jacob grew up in Nashville before attending Warren Wilson College locally where he met his wife Alicia. The couple moved to New York after graduating where Jacob attended the French Culinary Institute and worked in the city for several years. The Sessoms opened Table 11 years ago, unifying their perspective on agriculture gained from Warren Wilson with the skilled technique learned in NYC. You’ll experience this ethos at all three of their concepts.
Right now our Friday High Roller Tours visit an amazing lineup of Asheville’s best restaurants including Cucina 24, Table, Rhu Café and Nightbell. If you want to experience as much of Asheville in 2.5 hours as you possibly can, this is the way to do it.