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Cheese Pleaseeee!

The WNC Cheese Trail & The Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest

Announce this Year’s Winner of the Cheese Tease Chef Competition

Staff Report

Asheville NC – The Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest, a celebration of all things cheese, returned to the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina on Sunday, April 28, 2019, at Highland Brewing. Once again we hosted our chef competition that included award-winning chefs from five area businesses that are members of WNC Cheese Trail: Albemarle Inn – Defending her People’s Choice Award 2018, Chestnut – Defending their Food Critic Award 2018, Early Girl Eatery, Laughing Seed Café, and Rhubarb

This year’s winner actually took first place in the People’s Choice Award and the Food Critic Award.  The winning chef is Brian Crow from Chestnut Restaurant with an appetizer that highlighted Three Graces Diary Ramp Chevre placed on a rhubarb chip, with local strawberry and micro basil.

Chef Crow was assisted by line cook Erin Duncan and they along with their fellow competitors displayed their appetizer that had to meet these requirements: an appetizer that had to include cheese in its recipe, a creative, edible way to get the appetizer to one’s mouth, and an herb and/or a sweet flavor.

People’s Choice voting was conducted by 100 tasters who dropped their vote into a voting box after tasting all five Cheese Tease creations.

The Food Critic voting was a blind tasting based on a point system with three judges from our local food community who were sequestered during their voting.  We share our thanks for judging this year’s competition with Stephan Pruitt from DIG Local, Mackensy Lunsford from Asheville Citizen Times and on-air personality Kipper Schauer.

Food Critic judge comments ranged from – “The competitor nailed the challenge by creating a tantalizing cheese forward amuse bouche”. “Popped with flavor.” “Fantastic presentation.” 

Chef Crow shared his reflections, “We had a lot of fun competing at the festival and I definitely strengthened my connection with Western North Carolina cheese makers. We love supporting local at Chestnut, so this was a perfect event that supports our core values.” 

For five consecutive years the WNC Cheese Trail has hosted the Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest which draws over 1200 attendees, 20+ cheese makers, and numerous artisan producers from across the region. The festival also offers fun workshops, demonstrations and pairings all geared to deepen one’s love and appreciation of quality cheese. 

For more information visit the WNC Cheese Trail website www.wnccheesetrail.org or the Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest website www.mountaincheesefest.com.

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