The Asheville Wine & Food Festival … Presenting the 2017 Chef Highlight Series

Expansion of this year’s Asheville Wine & Food Festival brings with it the introduction of the Chef Highlight Series.  Formerly a competition, the Chef Highlight Series showcases the efforts of our very talented regional chefs.  Join us in experiencing delectable fare prepared by the best chefs in the area!

The Grand Tasting on August 18 & 19 will introduce guests to eight of the most honorable, as they give demonstrations of their renown gourmet dishes.  In lieu of a challenge, this event is designed to give interaction and learning with eight highlighted chefs and four demonstrations daily throughout the festival.  Among the chefs preparing their own recipes to be shared in sample form with visitors will be President of the Western North Carolina Culinary Association, Don Paleno; Duane Fernandes of Isa’s Bistro; Matthew Miner of Jargon, one of the city’s newest restaurants; and Kyle Allen of the fresh all-new Mountain Madre restaurant located downtown.  Keep up this season as these gourmet cooks provide tips and information straight from their kitchens and careers.

After these two dates in August and the Chefs Highlight Series, visit SWEET & SAVORY which will elevate the spirit and broaden the palate of those attending the event.

Find out why the Travel Channel calls Asheville number one on their list of “New Top Cities for Wine in the United States”, and Southern Living has listed Asheville among the “tastiest towns in the South”.  To complement the dishes our esteemed chefs will prepare, the French Broad Vignerons will bring you the best non-commercial and commercial wines from Western North Carolina, North Carolina, the United States and international wineries entered in the annual Asheville International Wine Competition.

Don’t want to wait to meet the chefs?  Enjoy interaction all summer long, as the Chefs Highlight Series gives you opportunities to encounter the talent through Downtown After Five, Carolina Kitchen, and sponsored features through social media. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & more to see more from all your favorite presenters of the festival.

Enjoy the festivities on Friday 12-5, and Saturday 11-4 in Pack Square, then enjoy “Sweet & Savory” at the Renaissance Ballrooms and Atrium from 4-7 PM.  Purchase your ticket for each day or the full weekend. Visit for tickets and information on all the events and participants…and Savor the Mountains Like Never Before!

Don Paleno of The Colorful Palate:

With over 20 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Chef Don Paleno continues to educate and push himself to be the best chef that he can be. As a prominent member of the industry, he also serves as the president of the Western North Carolina Culinary Association.  ACF is the premier professional association for culinarians in the region.  With over 20 years of experience spanning from Naples FL to the Asheville area, he demonstrates a flair for the eclectic appreciation of flavor.

Duane Fernandes of Isa’s Bistro:

Educated at Johnson & Wales University and then the Culinary Institute of Charleston SC, Fernandes spent much of his early career polishing his abilities in the celebrated kitchens of Charleston’s four-diamond ‘Peninsula Grill’ and the five-diamond Jefferson Hotel in Richmond VA, then to the kitchen of Thomas Keller’s iconic three-star ‘Per Se’ in New York.  Leading the culinary team at ‘Isa’s Bistro’ after ‘Horizons’ restaurant at the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, Chef Fernandes all-new ‘Hemingway’s Cuba’ will feature small and large plate Cuban inspired dishes.  He will introduce a delectable alternative to everyday cuisine at this year’s festival.

Matthew Miner of Jargon:

Chef for one of the city’s newest restaurants, Jargon, Chef Matthew Miner is no stranger to competition cooking.  This year, as part of the Chef Highlight Series, he will provide a sample of all he’s capable of.  Chef Matthew offers more than 20 years’ experience in the culinary arts.  He remains current with new trends, farm to table, local sustainability, and is versed in many cuisines.  By way of California, his creative tastes are sure to delight in every dish prepared.

Kyle Allen of Mountain Madre Kitchen & Agave Bar:

Chef Kyle Allen introduces a fresh all-new menu to Mountain Madre restaurant located in downtown Asheville.  Chef Kyle is a graduate of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, and originally from Illinois, cooking since he started crafting pizzas as a teenager.  He will bring his talent for presentation of new ideas on the plate at this year’s festival.  If you missed him as our first highlighted chef in the May Downtown After Five, be sure to follow all summer and find out why locals know a good thing when they taste it!

Ranked as one of the new top cities for wine in 2017, this summer Asheville will offer a culinary weekend of food, drink, and fun.  The Asheville Wine & Food Festival will be outside at Pack Square Park, in the center of downtown and just steps from all the vibrant shops, restaurants, and South Slope breweries.  Join us on Friday August 18 & Saturday August 19, 2017 for two solid days of culinary adventure, and savor the mountains like never before!  Tickets and information: