What’s cookin’, Asheville? In today’s food-driven local scene, we’re always excited when our restaurants and chefs get the recognition they deserve. Already this year, we’ve had three James Beard Award semifinalists, one local chef honored by The New York Times for revolutionizing food in America, and one ‘cue joint named as best in the state by Southern Living, to name a few.
Today, we’re highlighting some of the incredible female chefs working to make our culinary scene one of the best in the country. These leading ladies work in restaurants and run catering businesses all around town. And they’re not only some of the best women cooking in Asheville – they’re some of the best chefs around, period.
Cheffin’ has been a slow industry to welcome women (fewer than 7% of higher-ranking chefs and restaurant owners were female in 2014), but the times they are-a-changin’, and more women are taking the reins at restaurants across the U.S. as issues like workplace sexual harassment and a lack of family leave time garner national attention – followed by policy changes. DYK: There’s an organization just for women in the food + bev industry, Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, that connects female chefs and restaurant offers and offers support and resources. They even have a podcast.
We asked you to tell us who your favorite female chefs are in Asheville – and where they’re making kitchen magic happen. Here’s what you had to say.
Emily Abernathy | Chupacabra Latin Cafe, 50 N. Merrimon Ave.
Michelle Bailey | Smoky Park Supper Club, 350 Riverside Dr.
“She is creative, hardworking, and a friggin’ amazing chef!” – Leah S.
Erica Beneke | Red Fiddle Vittles | Catering
Hayette Bouras | Vegan Roaming (Catering) + West Village Market, 771 Haywood Rd.
Follow her on Instagram at @veganroaming.
Rosetta Buan | Rosetta’s Kitchen, 116 N. Lexington Ave.
One of the OG leading ladies of the Asheville food scene.
Katie Button | Cúrate, 13 Biltmore Ave. + Button & Co. Bagels, 32 S. Lexington Ave.
“🙌 You know our favorite 😉” – @curatetapasbar
Ashley Capps | Buxton Hall BBQ, 32 Banks Ave.
Silver Cousler | Gan Shan West, 285 Haywood Rd.
Note: Silver identifies as non-binary (pronouns they/them).
Susannah Gebhart + Maia Surdam | OWL Bakery, 295 Haywood Rd.
“The entire female-led team at OWL Bakery, honestly!” – @jamesonhughes
Heather Gressett | Corner Kitchen, 3 Boston Way + Chestnut, 48 Biltmore Ave.
“Heather Gressert, pastry chef for Corner Kitchen AND Chestnut...she kills it” – @thecatherinecampbell
Renee Hill | Posana | 1 Biltmore Ave.
“Not only is she the mastermind behind the amazing desserts at Posana (a s’mores torte? Come on.) she’s also the genius who finds ways to make everything completely gluten-free and DELICIOUS. Who doesn’t love a chemistry-obsessed, gluten-free pastry chef?” – @shan.mcgram
Tara Jensen | Smoke Signals Bakery, 590 Barnard Rd., Marshall
Protip: Tara’s baking classes sell out fast, so sign up early. Her cookbook, A Baker’s Year, is a #MustRead – even if you don’t cook.
Corey Marino | Catering by Corey | Catering
“Corey is a force!” – @sandhillkitchen
Rachel Miriam | The Barksdale, 42 Banks Ave. + chef for hire
One of the masterminds behind The Barksdale’s creative hot dog menu.
Hanan Shabazz | Benne on Eagle, 35 Eagle St. + Green Opportunities’ Kitchen Ready Program, 133 Livingston St.
Check out this profile of Hanan Shabazz in the Mountain Xpress.
Ashleigh Shanti | Benne on Eagle, 35 Eagle St.
“Badass head chef at Benne on Eagle” – @madsrich
Shorty (Erica Glaubitze) | Bun Intended | various locations
“I’ve truly never 👀 someone work harder than Shorty on Bun Intended – brings spice to AVL.” - @kylerobertjames
Aileen Tan | Wild Ginger Noodle Bar, 1950 Hendersonville Rd.
Jamie Wade | Sand Hill Kitchen, 491 Sardis Rd.
Chef Jamie took home first prize in the 2018 Battle of the Burger.
Hollie West | Sweet Monkey Cafe + Bakery, 133 S. Main St. 105, Marshall
Jill Wasilewski | Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen, 1854 Brevard Rd.
Do you want to shout out a female chef we left off the list? Let us know here by adding your comment.👇