Garden and Gun magazine published a list of fifty amazing reasons to love the culture in the Southern states. In Asheville, we have it all – a combination of great food, music, art and scenery, fusing old-world Southern tradition with innovation and sustainability.
At #3, the magazine says, “Our chefs are more than just chefs.” They cite the work of John Currence, “the man who turned Oxford, Mississippi, into a dining destination. In addition to speaking out against discrimination and raising money for the University of Mississippi’s children’s hospital, Currence, who eschews the term activist, was recently appointed to the board of the Human Rights Campaign. ‘As chefs, we have a responsibility to do more than just make delicious food,’ he says. ‘We can be a part of creating something better than all of us.’”
Chef Katie Button also fits that category, as she has remained dedicated to causes beyond solely culinary pursuits. Her dedication to eco-friendly approach to restaurant ownership was recently lauded by Grist.org, and both her restaurants, Cúrate and Nightbell, are living wage certified and work with local companies and organizations to recycle, compost, and reduce food waste and environmental impact. Chef Button cooked at this year’s Human Rights Campaign fundraiser in Washington, D.C., a Chef Action Network summit in Asheville, and works locally with Chefs at Welcome Table and Green Opportunities’ Kitchen Ready Program. She is currently attending the James Beard Foundation Boot Camp for Policy and Change, an educational program with Chef Action Network for select chefs across the country.
At #4, Garden and Gun mentions “Henri Matisse’s great-grandson is a proud North Carolina potter,” but we know him as Alex from East Fork Pottery.
“Sure, the Tar Heel potter Alex Matisse has a famous last name, but the younger artist’s ability to render lumps of North Carolina clay into gallery-worthy pitchers, plates, and vases speaks for itself. Although a native New Englander, Matisse opened East Fork pottery in Marshall in 2010 and considers Appalachia his creative home. ‘There is this world of pottery, a little clan, that exists here more so than anywhere else in the United States,’ he says.”
He and his team at East Fork also make incredible functional pottery. We’re honored to feature their work at Cúrate by utilizing their bowls for service. The handmade pottery is a perfect vessel for Chef Button’s tapas. Stay tuned to our blog for more information about their partnership with Cúrate.
The Garden and Gun article lists many more amazing qualities of the South today, including great hospitality, quail, fragrant roses and cheese biscuits. Read them all here.