About Chow Chow

Festival Overview

In early Appalachia, chow chow, a crunchy pickled relish traditionally put up each summer, brought welcome sunshine to dinner plates during cold months. The condiment added color, brightness, nourishment, and a bright piquant zest that transformed the seemingly ordinary. By fermenting the garden’s final summer harvests, chow chow was a creative way to harness the earth’s resources in a jar for future culinary inspiration. Its ingredients were determined by the creative maker filling each crock, no two chow chow recipes quite the same.  

Chow Chow: An Asheville Culinary Event, presented by Kimpton Hotel Arras, celebrates the area’s unique community of makers, each adding singular ingredients to the city’s recipe for culinary identity. From nationally recognized chefs to multi-generational farmers to millers, bakers, potters, weavers, and brewers, Chow Chow shines a light on the ancient creative spirit of the region that continues to make the Blue Ridge Mountains a delicious place to taste, to see, to explore and to experience through immersive culinary experiences.

Discover the alluring alchemy of mountain traditions, heirloom ingredients, and urban energy that inspire the James Beard-nominated chefs, sustainable farmers, innovative brewers, artisans, and foragers who commune at Asheville’s collaborative table.

Much like its namesake condiment, this unique festival is far greater than the sum of its parts.

Board of Directors

As a 501(C3) non-profit, Chow Chow Asheville is founded by a group of community-committed volunteers who believe in the unique connections between makers of all kinds—particularly as they gather in celebration of our creative food culture in Southern Appalachia. Learn more about the vision behind Chow Chow. 


President: Katie Button, Co-Founder, CEO, Katie Button Restaurants

Vice President: Jael Rattigan, Co-Founder, CEO, French Broad Chocolate

Treasurer: Jean-Paul Lausell, COO, Hickory Nut Gap Meats

Secretary: Jessica Reiser, Co-Founder, CEO, Burial Beer Co., Forestry Camp Bar and Restaurant

John Fleer, Chef, Owner, Rhubarb, The Rhu, Benne on Eagle

Aaron Grier, Owner, Gaining Ground Farm

Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani Chef, Chief Chaiwalla, Chai Pani Restaurant Group

Meredith Leigh, Author and Consultant

Kyle Pederson, Marketing Director, Wicked Weed Brewing

Peter Pollay, Co-Founder, Executive Chef, Mandara Hospitality Group

Vanessa Salomo, Co-Owner, Business Development, Corner Kitchen, Chestnut 

Dodie Stephens, Director of Communications, Explore Asheville

Mike Tiano, Co-Owner, Haw River Wine Man

Marilyn Zapf, Assistant Director and Curator, Center for Craft

Festival Staff

Rebecca Lynch, Executive Director, rlynch@chowchowasheville.com
Shay Brown (Shay Brown Events Management), Festival Director, shay@chowchowasheville.com

2020 Team 

Culinary Manager

Beverage Manager

Pickled in the Park Manager

Market Manager

Seminar Coordinator

Volunteer Coordinator

Media/Marketing Intern

Event Intern


Latest & Greatest

2019 Schedule

Over 20 immersive signature events are featured throughout the weekend! Tours, dinners, parties, foraging and more await.


Plan Your Trip

This inspired, friendly and free-spirited food scene tucked in the mountains of Appalachia has been called “Foodtopia,” but the locals just call it home. Plan your trip now.

Start Planning


Access to affordable and healthy food and reducing food waste are important initiatives of the signature event’s charitable giving goals. 

Learn More