We are really on a roll now with this Cooking with Asheville book project. We started by watching students at AB Tech's well regarded culinary program - they were making the perfect bagels, important even, apparently, for southern bakers. I've known of a few graduates from this program who've gone on to esteemed kitchens, so I know they are doing it right. Next we went to one of my old favorites from when I first moved to Asheville - Rezaz - the site of many birthday dinners in our family. The highlight was meeting the new owners, Laura and Brian, who purchased the restaurant a few years ago from Reza, after having both worked in the kitchen for him for quite some time. I loved shooting their portrait, fittingly, in the back of the kitchen. Photo and food stylist Chris Bryant worked his magic with the meatballs that will be featured as their recipe in the book, and took one for the team by eating a spoonful of the chocolate pot de creme to show that it couldn't stand untouched for long.
Another old favorite was visited - Corner Kitchen. I had a photography show there about 5-6 years ago, so I have a fond place in my heart for Rezaz. Interestingly, President Obama and his wife Michelle dined there when they were in Asheville not long after that. Chef Joe Scully and Chef Josh Weeks create some very delicious food there with a southern flair (and get it right - I'm from Atlanta, ya'll, so I know southern food). We shot their colorful beet puree with pistachios recipe that will be in the cookbook. We capped off the week with a visit to Isis in W. Asheville, which I discovered was a real family run business (4 members of the family work there from two generations). I loved seeing that family work together and enjoyed playing "do you know?" with Lil, one of the owners, when I discovered we'd both lived in the same neighborhood in Atlanta - Virginia Highlands. Isis not only has a serious kitchen and bar, but hosts musical acts on two inside stages as well as their outdoor patio - these people are busy.