Welcome to EAT THIS CITY , your tour of the best restaurants in one of our favorite cities, as chosen by a world-class chef, celebrity, or local hero.
This week, we’re headed back to the Carolinas. South Carolina was so cool last week, that we just jumped one state up to lovely Asheville, North Carolina for this week’s entry. Called the Land of Sky, this city between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains is progressive, creative, and features some of the best food in the country.
Who better to introduce us to the best cuisine the city has to offer than Katie Button (@chefkatiebutton), a Southern chef who developed her craft working in the kitchens of Ferran Adrià and José Andrés? These days, Button can be found operating as the executive chef and co-owner of Cúrate Bar de Tapas and Nightbell in Asheville. Since opening, she’s received recognition across the globe — including the extreme honor of multiple James Beard nominations. In fact, she was a semi-finalist in both 2012 and 2013 for Rising Star Chef of the Year and a semi-finalist for the Best Chef in America in 2015. And, Food & Wine introduced her as one of their picks for Best New Chef in 2015.
Button’s skills also drew the attention of Williams Sonoma, who invited her to join their Chefs’ Collective, a culinary advisory board made up of innovators in the field. Last year, her first cookbook, Cúrate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen, hit the shelves. It’s filled with recipes for home cooks that celebrates her love of Spain and Southern heritage.
Fun Fact: Chef Button was in Paris studying for a Ph.D. in chemical engineering when her cooking hobby blossomed into a full-blown passion. She literally dropped out of school and got a waitressing job in D.C., opting to work her way up through the kitchen. Part of the reason she is such a kick ass culinarian is that she applies that scientific mind to her work, creating mouth-watering, eye pleasing dishes. For real, just check this one out.
We can’t think of a better Asheville representative than Katie Button to give us a tour of the finest eats in the city.