NATE ALLEN 2011 WNC Best Chef and Winner of Cooking Light's Small-Town Chef Award, a graduate of Johnson & Wales in Providence, and nominee for the Rising Star Chef Award from Food & Wine Magazine, Nate has just opened Spoon Bar in addition to his flagship Knife & Fork in Spruce Pine, NC.

PETER AFFATATO Chef owner of Nona Mia in West Asheville, Peter previously helped develop Savoy and 28806. His passion is the Italian-American cuisine of grandmothers.

Executive chef at Asheville’s Mission Hospital, Chris holds the unique position of creating people’s first and last meals on earth.

A lauded biologist holding a doctorate in environmental engineering and specializing in aquatic ecology and field history, Mark’s contagious love of wild food brings a special dimension to the table.

CHRIS BROWN Executive chef at Mountain Magnolia Inn in Hot Springs, Chris is a master of the farm to table  concept.

Chef owner of Cucina 24, Brian is one of Asheville’s greatest. Quite and soft-spoken, his might is in the dishes he sets before you, where every flavor is beautifully thought out and executed.

Chef/owner of Strada in downtown Asheville as well as co-owner of next-door Social Lounge & Tapas, Anthony is a mover and shaker of AIR (Asheville Independent Restaurants Association).

MARY COLLINS-SHEPARD. A culinary expert and Techniques Class instructor for Williams-Sonoma, Mary enjoys not only creating and sharing fresh, healthy dishes but teaching others to do so as well, feeding both passions simultaneously.

JOHN FLEER Chef owner of Rhubarb in Asheville, Canyon Kitchen in Cashiers, and former long-time chef at Blackberry Farm, John brings both elegance and eloquence to the table.

MICHAEL GENTRY Ten year owner and operator of a catering company in Charleston, SC, and exhibitor at the Organic Growers’ School, Michael offers year-round weekly cooking classes (Everyone Cooks) on the Warren Wilson campus.

EBERHARD HEIDE Long a veteran of the wine business, Eberhard, originally from Germany, opened his own thriving store, The Asheville Wine Market, in 1993. His expert pairing of each ingredient with a complementary bottle turns an ordinary dish into a divine experience.

BILL KLEIN  Currently serving as executive sous-chef at The Cliffs at Walnut Cove, Bill has worked as a progégé of Madeline Kamman, as well as in such noted French establishments as L’Hotel de Lion d’Or in Romorantin, Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier, and Michelin 3 star Le Beurhiesel in Strasbourg. He has recently been at the helm of Fig, Bistro at Biltmore and Grassy Creek Inn.

HEATHER MASTERTON Vermont native and sister to one of Asheville’s long-time food gurus, Laurey Masterton, Heather is versed in both music and culinary arts. She celebrates the ether with recipes from Laurey’s recent book extolling the virtues of honey.

Blogger, author of Small Batch Baking and Beyond the Bowl: A Cereal Lover’s Ultimate Cookbook, Debby has over 25 years of food-writing experience.  You will be charmed by her lively manner and put at ease by her simplicity.

MATT McCOMISH A certified Cicerone, Matt currently teaches a class in Craft Beverage Continuing Education at -B Tech, including the basics of brewing and the ever-growing science of beeronomics.

Epicure of the obscure, a Princeton graduate with a degree in Deep Ecology, and author of Wild Mushrooms: A Taste of Enchantment, Alan has been featured in The New Yorker, Country Living, PBS Folkways, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, and Voice of America, urging the masses to sample rather than trample the toadstools. 

STEVE PIGNIATELLO “Burgundy is a way of life”, says Steve, who has devoted much of the past 28 years to the world-famous wine region of Burgundy. A member of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin as well as Vice Conseiller Gastronomique for the Chaine des Rotisseurs, Steve has been honored as the Burgundy authority at the annual Food and Wine Classic at the Cloister on Sea Island, GA, as well as at the annual Wine and Food Festival at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in Asheville.

JASON ROY In the culinary field for 17 years, Jason attended the Art Institute of Atlanta, graduated with honors, and ran several kitchens in Colorado before moving to Asheville. He currently orchestrates Biscuithead as well as keeping his hand in the Lexington Avenue Brewery.

JOE SCULLY Chef owner of Corner Kitchen and Chestnut and graduate of the CIA, Joe has been in the culinary business since 1977, including stints at the CIA’s Escoffier Room and the United Nations.

A resident of the French hexagon for twenty years, Susi studied at the Cordon Bleu and with several of France’s top chefs, and holds a diploma in gastronomy from the Université de Reims as well as the Certified Specialist of Wine designation from the Society of Wine Educators. Founder and director of the SSCA, she is passionate about taste and how it extends from our palate into our daily lives.

CARY SHACKELFORD Executive chef at Deerfield Retirement Community, Cary trained in France, Germany and Italy, and has been highlighted on Good Morning America and in the New York Times. He combines quality ingredients and basic cooking techniques to bring wonder to the plate.

DENNY TRANTHAM Former long-time executive Chef at Asheville’s Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, Denny is currently the spokesperson for Southern Foods. He holds the accolade of Best Chef of the Year (2013) from the North Carolina American Culinary Foundation.

MARC WILLIAMS  An ethnobotanist who has studied the people-plant connection intensively while employing botanicals for food, medicine, and beauty, Marc has  worked at a multitude of restaurants and farms, and has traveled extensively throughout 23 countries and 50 states. His greatest hope is that his teachings may help improve our current challenging global ecological situation.