Western North Carolina is an established tourist destination with ski slopes, hiking trails, scenic drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway, national and state parks, and numerous other recreational offerings. The region is also a popular real-estate mecca for retirees and vacation home buyers. These factors, combined with the local food movement that has grown up around the cultural communities in Asheville, Boone, and Blowing Rock, are a welcoming environment for fine dining and an irresistible attraction for a number of remarkable chefs.
Chefs of the Mountains: Restaurants and Recipes from Western North Carolina provides a guide to finding these culinary gems, plus the tools to re-create favorite dining experiences in the home. In Chefs of the Mountains, restaurant reviewer and food critic John Batchelor profiles close to 40 well-established and up-and-coming chefs from the region. Drawing from personal interviews, Batchelor reveals each chef's cooking philosophy, influences, and personality. Each profile also includes: a description of the restaurant, its ambience, and sample menu items; color photographs of the chefs, restaurants, and food; and recipes from each chefsuch as Fried Green Tomatoes, Chocolate Steak, Prosciutto-Stuffed Pork Chop, Grilled Bison, Cornmeal-Crusted Trout, Jicama-Crusted Mahi-Mahi, Shrimp and Grits, Blueberry Semi Freddo, and Avocado-Jalapeno Ice Creamformatted and tested for home cooks.
In addition, sidebars throughout the book offer information about farms (mostly organic) that sell vegetables and meats to the public as well as to restaurants, unique producers from the region (including two 10-year-old boys who have been completely running their own egg production and sales facility since ages 7 and 8), and stories of a number of people who gave up successful careers in order to return to the land.
Batchelor has written about restaurants and travel since 1981. He is the restaurant reviewer for the Greensboro News & Record and formerly for the Winston-Salem Journal. He has also been an educator and a consultant with the Center for Data Driven Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.