Radio Cherry Bombe: Food For Thought

Asheville, North Carolina

AC Hotel, Vespa Room
Saturday, September 14th
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Please note: Location change

The event will now take place in the Vespa Room of the AC Hotel.

On Saturday, September 14, join the Bombesquad at the AC Hotel for the Asheville stop on our "Food for Thought" Radio Cherry Bombe Tour. We'll be talking to Chef Katie Button, Vivian Howard of A Chef’s Life and Chef & The Farmer, Jael Rattigan of French Broad Chocolate, Ashleigh Shanti of Benne on Eagle, Cheetie Kumar of Garland, and writer Cynthia Greenlee about their journeys through food. This panel will be recorded for a future episode of Radio Cherry Bombe.

The event venue is ADA accessible. If you will need assistance on the day of the event, please email us in advance at





Katie Button

Chef Katie Button is a Southern chef with a scientific mind who honed her craft in the kitchens of some of the world’s best chefs, most notably Ferran Adrià and José Andrés. She is now the executive chef and co-owner of Cúrate Bar de Tapas and Appalachian-inspired bagel shop Button & Co. Bagels in Asheville, North Carolina, and has earned numerous accolades, including Cúrate’s recognition as one of Food & Wine’s 40 Most Important Restaurants of the Past 40 Years, three James Beard Award nominations and a place among Food & Wine's 2015 Best New Chefs. She is also a member of the Williams Sonoma Chefs’ Collective, a culinary advisory board made up of innovators in the culinary landscape. In October 2016, she released her first cookbook, Cúrate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen, offering up recipes for home cooks that celebrate her love of Spain and Southern heritage. Katie has an exciting year ahead, hosting debut Asheville culinary festival “Chow Chow” and continuing to lead culinary trips to Spain and Portugal with her husband and business partner, Felix Meana.


Vivian Howard

Vivian Howard is an author, chef, restaurant owner, storyteller, and host of the PBS show, "A Chef’s Life." Her New York Times bestseller, "Deep Run Roots: Stories & Recipes from My Corner of the South," is a landmark work of American food writing, as much a storybook as it is a cookbook, imparting the true tale of Eastern North Carolina food. 

Vivian and her restaurants — Chef & the Farmer, Boiler Room Oyster Bar and Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria — have racked up numerous accolades, including her selection as a five-time James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast.  This year she launched her newest concept, Handy & Hot, an online limited-release bakeshop. 

"A Chef's Life,"  the five-season documentary television series celebrating Eastern North Carolina food traditions, has taken home a Daytime Emmy, Peabody award, and James Beard award for Outstanding Personality/Host. The series is segueing into a new series, “South by Somewhere," which will tell stories of the American South in the context of global food traditions.


Jael Rattigan

Jael Rattigan, co-founder and CEO of French Broad Chocolate in Asheville, believes in using business as a force for good. What started in 2006 as a mom & pop farmers' market stand has grown to 90+ employees and includes a Chocolate Lounge & Boutique, an experiential Chocolate Factory & Cafe, and handcrafted Ice Creamery & Cafe. Her chocolates have been recognized in many national and international awards, and she was the recipient of the WomanUp "Best in Business" award in 2016. Her two sons, Sam and Max, eat chocolate for breakfast every day.


Ashleigh Shanti

Ashleigh Shanti is Chef de Cuisine of Benne on Eagle in Asheville, NC.  Working closely with five-time James Beard Award finalist Chef John Fleer, Ashleigh pays homage to the rich African-American culinary traditions that once thrived in The Block–the neighborhood surrounding the restaurant–as well as honoring her own history as a Southern, African-American female.  

While each of her kitchen experiences—including culinary school at Baltimore International College, a stage at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a culinary assistant position with Chef & the Farmer co-owner Vivian Howard—helped hone her technical expertise, Ashleigh struggled to find a cuisine that resonated with her on a personal level. It was this longing that beckoned Ashleigh to Asheville in Fall 2018 to help Chef Fleer open Benne on Eagle. Here, Ashleigh has found her culinary identity in a kitchen where the food is both meaningful to her and honors her heritage. She is proud to help Chef Fleer build Benne on Eagle’s culinary program from the ground up by following the theme of Sankofa, “go back and get it,” in the Twi language: progressing forward and integrating new food techniques and methods, while looking back to history to reclaim lost and forgotten traditions.  


Dr. Cynthia Greenlee

Dr. Cynthia R. Greenlee is a journalist, writer, editor and historian based in Durham, North Carolina. She is rooted in mountains of Western North Carolina, with her father's family hailing from the Swannanoa Valley just east of Asheville.

She earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a history doctorate at Duke University. As an African Africanist and Southern historian, she writes about topics such as food, race, history, and abortion politics. She will soon be coming on board as deputy editor at the Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA), and her writing about food has appeared in Bon Appetit, SFA's Gravy, Vice Munchies, and the Washington Post. Her other work has been featured in publications as diverse as American Prospect, Bitch, Elle, Essence, Longreads, Narratively, 100 Days in Appalachia, Rewire.News, Salon, Scalawag, and YES! magazine. She is not a natural cook, but she is a *very* skilled eater and an extreme stone-fruit enthusiast. Follow her @CynthiaGreenlee on Twitter or see her website,


Cheetie Kumar

Cheetie Kumar is the Chef/Owner of Garland, Neptunes Parlour, and Kings in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Cheetie is a self-taught cook who studied recipes while pursuing a career as a guitarist in The Cherry Valence and, more recently, Birds of Avalon, alongside her husband and business partner, Paul Siler. Time on tour and as the owner of the music venue Kings and adjoining cocktail bar, Neptunes Parlour, taught her the value of the independent, artistic spirit that is the backbone of the downtown Raleigh community which she considers home.

Cheetie has embraced North Carolina’s culture of readily available renowned agriculture, and incorporated these seasonally evolving foods to fit her multi-cultural menus at Garland. Cheetie’s cooking is created in a refined and thoughtful way, filled with imagination and rebellion. It is unassumingly delicious. Her food may seem “foreign” but is rather an interpretation of local ingredients made through the eyes of someone who grew up in India, New York City, and the South. 

Cheetie was a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Southeast” in 2017, 2018 and 2019. 

Thank you to Kerrygold for supporting our tour!