Introducing Asheville’s new culinary festival

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Get ready Asheville – a new culinary festival is coming to town. Chow Chow: An Asheville Culinary Event, presented by the Asheville Culinary Festival, will be full of immersive culinary experiences as well as a place of diversity and community. (Not your average wine + food fest – which is mostly just wine).

Spearheaded by Chef Katie Button of Cúrate, Chai Pani owner Meherwan Irani, French Broad Chocolate Lounge’s Jael Rattigan + a  board of local culinary experts, the goal is to have guests experience food from an educational, historic + cultural perspective. Charleston Wine + Food Festival founder Angel Postell will be the event director and Asheville Event Co.’s Melissa Porter will be the on-the-ground manager.

Here’s what we know:

📅: Sept. 12–15, 2019, with a major event on Saturday + culinary experiences throughout the weekend.

📍: “Wheel and spoke model” – The main event will be at Pack Square with demos and dinners scattered throughout the city.

💸: Prices aren’t known, but we’re told there will be lots of volunteer options + inclusive pricing. Plus, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority pledged $75,000 toward the event, made possible by tourism tax.

🗣️:  And, since this festival is still brewing in a pot of creativity, those on the board want to hear the community’s ideas + suggestions. Let us know what your theme and demo ideas are here. (More on that below).

Learn about potential festival experiences (can you say chocolate flight night?), how to become a sponsor, get info about being involved, and submit your ideas.

As of now, the culinary festival is scheduled for Sept. 12–15, 2019 at Pack Square. This festival is not intended to replace the current Asheville Wine & Food Festival, but is meant to be an entirely different festival.

Ideas we heard from an Asheville Independent Restaurant meeting from the organizers include:

  • A grand tasting tent + makers’ market
  • A chef demo stage
  • Educational experiences such as watching a demo of clay cups by East Fork Pottery and using them for cocktails
  • A chocolate flight night with French Broad Chocolates
  • A farmer’s feast in the field with Gaining Ground Farm
  • History of Native American influence on food products

Why September? It aligns with Explore Asheville’s annual fall media outreach, it’s during a favorable agricultural season, and September is hunger awareness month. 🌽

These charitable causes all line up with the festival’s mission: “To celebrate Asheville’s creative table through meaningful events, immersive experiences and charitable programs that connect people to the many hands, makers and diverse culinary collaborator who nourish, nurture and create our vibrant corner of Appalachia.” 👏

What’s behind the name? Chow Chow is a popular southern Appalachian pickled relish used as a condiment on many dishes, and it roots the festival in Appalachian tradition. 

Since this festival is still brewing in a pot of creativity, those on the board are open to the community’s ideas + suggestions on programming + participation.

Here’s how to submit your suggestions + how to be involved:

Have an idea for a theme or for a booth/activity you’d like to see at the event?

Click on this survey to submit your idea(s) by November 30.

Want to get involved?

Submit general involvement interests here by November 30.

Interested in becoming a sponsor?

Email Angel Postell at [email protected]

Bonus: Tickets should go on sale in March 2019.

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty excited about this new festival. Food and wine festivals are always fun, but this one takes the excitement + appreciation of food to a whole new level.🙌

What do you want to see, taste + hear? Submit your answers here.

Cheers, Asheville.

–Audra