Chef Q + A with Brian Ross of DOUGH

From February through May, 16 of the area's top chefs competed in the WNC Chefs Challenge. With the field now narrowed down to four, we look forward to seeing these chefs bring the heat as they battle for the title of Best Chef in WNC. Between now and the Festival in August, we will be interviewing the final four as we get ramped up for the semi-finals. 

Chef Brian Ross runs DOUGH, the new chef-driven market and artisan bakery on Merrimon Ave. At DOUGH, Brian shares his passion for food with the Asheville community while debunking the gastro-snobbery associated with chefs and purveyors of fine foods.


AWFF: What's been the most challenging secret ingredient so far?

BR: Beer. One characteristic of beer is its bitterness. Which, for beer is a pleasant bitterness. However, if you try to reduce it or add things to it, that bitterness can become not so pleasant and so it was tricky and difficult to use, but we did our best.


What edge do you have in this competition?

Everything we do is straight ahead classic preparation. We're not flashy or overdone -- we just prepare food well. We're not looking for twists or modern interpretations, just straight ahead good solid food. And I think that comes through.


If you could smuggle in a special ingredient to use of your own, what would it be?

That's an interesting question. There are a couple of things I can think of -- all of them very versatile but sadly underused. When I say that I think of things like fennel, turnips, carrots, and celery. And then there are some funny ingredients that you can do a lot with the sweet and savory like chocolate, cinnamon, and coconut. 


Favorite beer?

Highland Mocha Stout.


Favorite place to eat in Asheville (other than yours, of course)?

Hands-down, CUCINA 24.


Thanks, Chef and best of luck! You can help decide who wins while enjoying a delicious dinner when Brian takes on Chef Anthony Cerrato of Strada on August 21 at Pack's Tavern. Tickets and details available here.