Christine Sykes Lowe
Christine Sykes Lowe is the Managing Partner of Farmer and Chef South, LLC and founder of T3 Creative Group, a marketing and PR collective with a niche focus on Culinary, Travel and Tourism. With over 18 years combined experience in strategic agency-based marketing, public and community relations, special events, television/film design and production, her work has included everything from national brands to single entrepreneur restaurants and chefs, with the only personal requirement, maintaining the integrity of the brand while having a little fun in the process. A unique blend of Lebanese-American, Italian and Irish, her childhood was spent surrounded by kibbeh, tabbouleh, hearty stews and homemade ragus. She believes authentic and nutritious food is the ultimate expression of love, and carries that through to her family of two growing boys and fly-fishing crazy husband at their home in Asheville, NC. See also: www.t3creativegroup.com.
Debby Maugans is a partner in Farmer and Chef South, LLC and the author of Small-Batch Baking, published by Workman Publishing in Jan. 2005, and Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers, Thomas Dunne Books in Feb. 2011. Maugans developed the recipes for Fannie Flagg’s best-selling Whistle Stop Café Cookbook. She wrote a popular weekly food column for Alabama’s largest circulated newspaper, The Birmingham News, for seven years. She writes and styles food for print, web and video production and teaches cooking classes in Asheville. For more background information, go to: www.small-batchbaking.com.
Kirstin Moburg directs and produces culinary television. She has worked on hundreds of hours of programming for Food Network and PBS, most recently the series Chopped on Food Network. Kirstin buys groceries like some women buy shoes, and is currently the culinary director for her family of 5 in Asheville, NC.
Maggie Cramer is an Asheville-based freelance writer, editor, and communications specialist. She spent the last almost four years hearing and telling the stories of WNC’s industrious, innovative, and intrepid farmers and local food business owners as Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s communications manager—and she’s excited to continue telling these stories and remain a local food supporter. Her nearly 10-year communications career has always had a food and nutrition focus, in roles such as managing editor of a holistic health and natural foods magazine and newsletter ghostwriter for a well-known dietitian.
Mary Beth Shaddix
Mary Beth Shaddix feeds her growing curiosity in her colorful kitchen garden and wholesale nursery. After 10 years working in the marketing and research departments at Cooking Light and leading a talented crew at Cottage Living and Coastal Living magazines, Mary Beth traded in her business suits for rubber boots. With a desire to connect her career’s focus of food and publishing to the great outdoors, she turned back to her roots. Digging in spade first, she began learning the breadth of gardening at a local retail nursery and becoming certified with the Master Gardeners Association. Little did she know, the manager who curiously eyed her resumé at the garden center would soon be her husband. They now grow together at their wholesale nursery and farm, Maple Valley Nursery, near Birmingham, Alabama. Her work can be seen regularly in Cooking Light, featuring the kitchen garden, on national retailer sites, and in regional magazines. Her first book, The Cooking Light Pick Fresh Cookbook, launched nationwide April 2013. She is also the founder/owner of A New Leaf Consulting, helping national consumer brands and media companies tell their stories.
Sara March Barber
Sara March Barber, or “Marchie” as known to pals, is a passionate foodie, home chef and caterer. Owner of The Barbershop – She has spent the last 24 years traveling and producing TV commercials. Her work has included many national brands as well as some smaller localized brands. When not producing she is cooking. As owner of Dig In Catering — she has catered parties from 10 to 350. She has even been known to cater on set as she knows what fuels hard working crews. When asked what is her favorite restaurant, it’s always, “my house”.’ Barber says, “As I am writing this – I am laughing as I am also messaging a friend on Facebook to find out where she got her tenderloin biscuits this morning, researching Cuban recipes for dinner tonight, emailing my cousin about Christmas Family lunch menu, preparing to make the marinara sauce for another family Christmas get-together, starting peanut butter dog biscuits this afternoon for friends, thinking about homemade peppermint egg nog for neighborhood festivities tomorrow night, planning New Years Day meal with a Russian twist, and all the while – eating garlic bread and spaghetti at 10am in bed. That’s me guys.” -Marchie
Chef Mike Moore
After years of culinary training in San Francisco and Asheville, NC, in 2010 Mike launched a charity driven group of local chefs and friends which became the Blind Pig Supper Club. Three years, 74 dinners and thousands of dishes later The Blind Pig has become a (nationally) notable organization that inspires creativity among its chefs and a boundless dinner experience for its guests all the while raising thousands of dollars in proceeds for local and very important charity organizations. Blind Pig has been featured on the Food Networks ‘Rebel Eats’ with the Next Food Network Star and chef/owner of Do or Dine NYC Justin Werner as well as the Canadian Travel Channels ‘Illegal Eater’ with host Steven Page formerly of The Barenaked Ladies.In March of 2013, Mike and partner Jason Caughman formerly of Pisgah Brewing Company as well as chef and owner Adam Bannasch of Zambra conceived Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder- a brick & mortar restaurant concept which is seated in the deep and complex history of Southern cuisine with similar spirit, boundless creativity and passion for the art of cooking. In December 2013, Mike was inducted as a StarChefs Rising Star in Charleston, South Carolina as a recipient and winner for the Carolina’s with the prestigious Community Chef Award elected among only three other top chefs in the nation since 2007. Mike leads the restaurant at Seven Sows in its vision and concept and works as chef de cuisine very closely with his equally important head chef Caitlin Mcmillan in creating a unique menu that associates traditional Southern foodways with creative, refined and modern touches and techniques as well as harboring a comfortable, friendly and memorable dining experience for all its guests.
Rebecca Bull Reed
A sought after speaker and educator, Rebecca Reed is an award-winning garden designer who has traveled the South for over 14 years producing, styling, and writing garden stories for Southern Living magazine. Born in South Carolina, she has gardened professionally in the South and the Pacific Northwest (Seattle). When Rebecca’s not peering over garden walls in search of a great story, she can be found in her own Asheville, North Carolina, garden, pushing plant labels to their limits. She holds a BS and MS in Horticulture from Clemson University, and serves on the Society Board for the North Carolina Arboretum, and as a garden mentor for the Garden Club of South Carolina, Inc.
Mary Rich Hill
Mary Rich has spent her career creating relationships and unique event experiences. At Schramsberg Vineyards, in the Napa Valley, Mary specialized in special events and marketing. She enjoyed entertaining clients at the vineyard and conducted wine education seminars and tastings around the country. Her passion for people, new experiences and a well made cocktail brought her to Asheville Distilling Company where she created promotional event opportunities, created media presence through social media and secured media coverage in high profile magazines, including Martha Stewart Living and Food and Wine Magazine. Mary saw the emergence of the craft cocktail market and the idea for her company, Spirit Savvy, bloomed. Spirit Savvy creates signature events celebrating the craft cocktail.She considers herself a Craft Cocktail enthusiast and feels grateful to have made this her ‘day job’.
Chef William S Dissen
From his upbringings in the hills & mountains of Appalachia, Chef William Dissen always has been in touch with the outdoors & nature. Spending time on his Grandparents’ farm – watching his Grandmother cook bountiful meals straight from the garden to the kitchen table – has been a major influence on his style of cooking, as well as his beliefs in sustainable seafood, agriculture & local cuisine.
At his restaurant, The Market Place, in Asheville, NC, Chef William Dissen works with a network of local farms, artisan producers, & sustainable fishermen to produce flavorful, fresh food for his patrons.
Honored as a Rising Star Chef in 2013 by Star Chefs Magazine, Chef Dissen was also named “40 Chefs under 40” for his innovative approach to sustainable cuisine, & was awarded the “Seafood Watch Ambassador” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in 2011 and was honored as a member of their Blue Ribbon Task Force for his use of sustainable seafood. William has also hosted the national Outstanding in the Field farm dinner for the past 4 consecutive years, and was chosen as a “Green Chef of the Year” by Fortune Magazine in 2012 & 2013 for their Fortune Brainstorm Green event. Dissen was recently a member of the prestigious James Beard Chef’s Boot Camp in 2013.
In 2002, Emily Jackson founded the ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) Growing Minds Farm to School program. In Western North Carolina and the Southern Appalachians, Emily and the Growing Minds team provide Farm to School support and resources to preschools and K-12 systems.
Emily is a former K-6 teacher and lives on a farm in beautiful Marshall, North Carolina with her husband, 2 chickens, 3 cats, and one dog. She loves to garden, cook, and is particularly ga-ga for children’s literature.
Chef Peter Pollay
Chef Peter Pollay graduated from Arizona State University as a Political Science major, but his true passion ignited in the kitchen where he cooked for all of his college roommates. Eager to incorporate his passion for food into his future, Peter was advised by family friend and well-known Chicago restaurateur Larry Levy to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Upon his acceptance to the CIA, Peter took on an externship to gain commercial kitchen experience where he was immediately recognized by the restaurant’s executive chef. Within six months, Peter was asked to join the executive chef in a move to Levy’s upscale dining establishments at Comiskey Park, home to the White Sox, which catered exclusively to the park’s 5,000 skybox patrons.
His big break came when he got the chance to work again alongside Wolfgang Puck to open Spago, Chicago. Here Peter went from having every single dish of his risotto tasted every night for four months “until he got it right” to Kitchen Manager and Executive Sous Chef overseeing ten million in annual sales, buying food direct from across the world, managing 110 kitchen employees, and assisting in the opening of more Wolfgang Puck Chicago enterprises.
After taking a break from the industry for a couple of years to travel the world and soak up worldly cuisine, Peter and his wife, Martha, moved to Asheville and opened Posana Café, Asheville’s only 100-percent certified gluten-free restaurant. Peter believes that the key to creating dishes that are good for the body and soul is to make food from “scratch and feature all natural and locally sourced ingredients.” Peter Pollay is acting President of Board of Asheville Independent Restaurant Association (airasheville.org) and is happy to call the foodie town in the mountains of NC, home.
Before launching into a career in freelance communications and social media, Sherida spent more than 10 years refining her craft at Biltmore and the Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau.
While at Biltmore, she worked on various campaigns for Biltmore, Biltmore For Your Home, Biltmore Wines, and the Inn on Biltmore Estate. She also served as writer, editor, and coordinator for the annual magazine for Biltmore Passholders.
At the Convention & Visitors Bureau, she managed social media campaigns on Facebook,Twitter, and YouTube; built relationships with bloggers; wrote blog content for the Asheville blog; and oversaw Google Adword campaigns.
Prior to joining the T3 Creative Group, her passion for building community and promoting local businesses led her to work on various freelance projects with Biltmore, Gaia Herbs, the Weaverville Art Safari, Ariel Art Gallery, and Asheville Downtown Gallery Association.