The Asheville Wine and Food Festival Chefs Challenge.

I was recently asked by Bob Bowles, the organizer of the Asheville Wine and Food Festival, to help judge the first Chefs Challenge on Tuesday. As a lifelong foodie, and a veteran of quite a few high-end, gourmet restaurants, I was incredibly excited to attend and see what amazing creations the Chefs would present. I was certainly not disappointed!

In my line of work, I am constantly judging the quality of wine. I meet with wine reps on an almost daily basis, and taste through an absolute deluge of wine. Trying to judge the quality of these wines and then decide which of them to carry in our shop is truly the best and most challenging part of my job! But I had never judged food before.

Fortunately, I was seated with some real professionals; food writers for the Asheville Scene Mackenzy Lunsford and Jess McCuan, and the head dietician for Ingles, Leah McGrath. You have probably heard her voice coming from the speakers while you are shopping at Ingles! It was truly amazing listening to them as they picked apart the various courses, noting the positive qualities as well as the shortcomings. I can easily say that this was the most well spoken dinner conversation I have ever been a part of!

Both chefs Chris Brown of Mountain Magnolia Inn and Chef Mike Fisera of Lexington Avenue Brewery did an amazing job of incorporating the secret ingredient, corn, into their meals. The desserts were particularly impressive, taking the form of a chocolate coated corn fritter and a sweet corn semifredo. Both were sweet and savory! I left incredibly full and happy.

Bob acted as the MC at the event. Ever the showman, he kept the mood fun and light, and the sense of excitement about the next course and the impending tallying of the votes was palpable!

It was a great honor to be invited to the event and I highly recommend getting a ticket for yourselves to the next Chefs Challenge on Tuesday July the 8th!

Until next time, happy tasting!
At the Wine and Food Festival's Chef Challenge
The Grape Vine: Beaujolais—A New Day


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Thursday, 13 May 2021

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