2015 brings a New Culinary Experience to Asheville

AMUSE & ESSENCE - the newest artisan experience in Asheville.  Distilleries, Mixologists & Chefs! The chefs are bringing their best culinary talents and the mixologists are presenting their best creativity. You judge the best chef and best mixologist. The top chefs move on to the GRAND TASTING at the US Cellular Center and the top mixologists get to expand their performance at ELIXIR at the MHCC Event Center!


Why ESSENCE? Essence of Food and Drink can be found in the fusion of flavours making each dish and cocktail unique. Fresh local ingredients presented for your enjoyment. This second round of Mixologists, Chefs, and Distilleries will bring together a new group of talent with the final opportunity for you to pick your favorites to appear at ELIXIR and Asheville's Scene Chefs Challenge at the GRAND TASTING.


June 26 from 6:00 - 8:00 PM at the MHCC Event Center and Presented by


Meet the Chefs & Mixologists





What is AMUSE? AMUSE is culinary artistry and showmanship preselected by the chef and mixologists, intensified by the competition among competitors and emphasizing smaller, more intensely flavored courses. “The amuse-bouche is the best way for a great chef to express his or her big ideas in small bites”


What happened at AMUSE? One Hundred & Fifty smiling enthusiast relished creative cocktails, sips from distilleries, and culinary delights from the first round of competitors. Congratulations to Chef Hollie West of Sweet Monkey Restaurant and Bakery and Chef Steven Goff  who will move on to compete at the Asheville's Scene Chefs Challenge at the GRAND TASTING and to Noah Hermanson, Justin Feraby, and Spencer Schultz of Rhubarb Asheville who will appear at ELIXIR.


May 1 from 6:00 - 8:00 PM at the MHCC Event Center  and Presented by


Click here for Information about the Chefs, Mixologists & Distilleries


AMUSE Mixologists

Sunny Point Cafe - Noah Hermanson (see Noah compete again at ELIXIR on August 20)
Pulp - Justin Ferraby (see Justin compete again at ELIXIR on August 20)
Harrah's Cherokee Casino - Amanda McDougal
Rhubarb - Spencer Schultz (see Spenser compete again at ELIXIR on August 20)
WXYZ LOUNGE - Jeff Daniels & Max Vega
Rosetta's Kitchen
Social Lounge



Edison-Omni Grove Park Inn -  Chef Jake Schmidt
Harrah's Cherokee Casino - Chef Jeremy Smith
Chef Steve Goff (see Chef Goff compete again at Asheville Scene Chefs Challenge on August 22)
Sweet Monkey - Chef Hollie West (see Chef West compete again at Asheville Scene Chefs Challenge on August 22)
Mission Hospital - Chef Dustin Huisenga
Strada Italiano


AMUSE Distilleries

Asheville Distillery -Troy and Sons
Blue Ridge Distilling

Muddy River Distillery
Covington Spirits
Southern Artisan Spirits

TOPO Distillery


2014 - A Competition of Culinary Panache


The Asheville Scene Chefs Competition rounded out the day with four top chefs from Asheville, Raleigh, and Charleston vying for the 2014 Title win -- with Chef Ulfet Ozyabasligil Ralph of the Blöm Supper Club in Charleston, SC and Asheville, NC taking the top honor!

The Asheville Scene Chefs Challenge pits the region’s top chefs against each other in an Iron Chef-style battle. The best part is, you get to dine at each weekly competition and help decide who competes in the final competition at the festival! Competing chefs offer up delicious creations prepared around a secret ingredient. In this finale challenge, the votes from a panel of professional chefs, food writers, and culinary experts determine the festival's winner while you cheer them on and enjoy all the food and drink from the 125+ exhibitors, all for one ticket price!.


WHEN IT'S TOO HOT IN THE KITCHEN, IT'S STILL HARD TO STOP A TRANE. To see see each Chef's biography go to Meet the Chefs


Culinary Guide each night is Susi Gott Séguret, CCP, CSW of the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts . Susi is a Certified Culinary Professional and Certified Specialist of Wine, hails from the depths of Appalachia in Madison County North Carolina, but honed her culinary skills in France, where she resided for over 20 years, earning a diploma in Gastronomy and Taste from the Cordon Bleu and the Université de Reims. Editor of 10 cookbooks and contributor to many publications.


Chef Referee each night is Chef Daniel Wright. He is the WINNER of the 2013 Best Chef at the Asheville Wine & Food Festival! As a precursor to winning the WNC chefs challenge, "I appeared on an episode of Chuck's Eat The Street that was featured on the cooking channel where we focused primarily on our famous cathead biscuits which brought people from all over to get a taste of biscuit perfection. After that I did compete in the WNC chefs challenge taking home the gold in all 4 rounds as the unofficial under dog and claiming top chef of Western North Carolina."


The fun started on July 1, 2014 at Pack's Tavern Century Room in downtown Asheville and continues every Tuesday evening through August 12 until the final battle of the top 4 chefs during the Grand Tasting at the Asheville Wine & Food Festival on Saturday, August 23, 2014.  Join our email list so you can reserve your tickets for the 2015 weekly challenge, support your chefs and be a judge!


What was 2014 like? Want find out more? Click here!


To read the blogs and see the highlights go to Blogs and Photo Gallery


2014 Chefs - Thank you Chefs for the "Best Food Ever!!!"


Chef Chris Brown of Mountain Magnolia Inn in Hot Springs NC

Chef Mike Fisera of Lexington Avenue Brewery (LAB) in Asheville

Chef Ulfet Ozyabasligil Ralph of the Culinary Vegetable Institute at Chef’s Garden in Charleston SC and Asheville

Chef Daniel Kaufmann of Magnolia Ray in Asheville

Chef Ryan Kline of Buffalo Nickel in Asheville

Chef Regan Stachler of Little Hen in Apex, NC

Chef Michael Kramer at Table 301 in Greenville SC

Chef Joe Mitchell of Chestnut Asheville 

Chef Steven Goff of King James Public House in Asheville

Chef Leisa Payne of Thirsty Monk in Asheville

Chef Jeremy Smith of Selu GardenCafe Harrah's Cherokee  Casino

Chef Edwin Bloodworth of Lex 18 Supperclub and Moonshine Bar in Asheville

Chef Brian Ross of DOUGH Asheville

Chef Eden Roorda of Hotel Indigo Asheville