Executive Chef Mike Ferrari has a dual role at The Farm Kitchen in Candler that he relishes. He prepares creative meals and also teaches popular cooking classes.
“They’re sold out pretty quickly,” he says of the classes. “If someone wants to book a private class, we do that as well.”
Working with groups of 12 people, Ferrari focuses on food preparation from a selected region such as France, Spain or Thailand.
“We keep them in one general direction,” rather than mixing regional cuisines, he says.
“My favorite food is Appalachian,” Ferrari notes. “That reflects where we are.”
In his classes, Ferrari also gives advice on pairing wines and beer with foods. Guests who come for meals at The Farm Kitchen also have an opportunity to experience wines and beer that are selected to accompany dishes served to them.
The Farm Kitchen offers meals for groups up to 40 people to ensure quality, Ferrari says. He can create custom menus ranging from wood-fired pizza to four-course meals for a fine-dining experience.
A seasoned chef who has worked at country clubs in North Carolina and Florida and at restaurants in Atlanta, Ferrari says he enjoys incorporating regional influences into traditionally classic dishes.
For Ferrari, cooking is a family tradition that he is continuing in his career.
“My dad was a chef,” he says. “Growing up, I was always around a lot of food.”
After Ferrari attended college, his father helped him find work at a restaurant in Atlanta. Much of his early training involved hands-on experience with classically trained European chefs.
“I kind of fell in love with it,” Ferrari says of his work.
After working in his hometown of Atlanta for a few years, Ferrari decided to move to the mountains of North Carolina where he found seasonal work at country clubs. Within a year, he was promoted to sous chef at the Highlands Country Club while also working at another country club in Florida during the off-season in North Carolina.
After seeing a variety of cooking styles and learning various techniques, Ferrari decided to attend culinary school at Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College in Asheville where he later served as an adjunct instructor.
With more than 15 years of experience, Ferrari came to The Farm in October 2015 to build The Farm Kitchen’s culinary program.
When Ferrari is not working at The Farm Kitchen, he enjoys the local music scene and also travels when he has a chance.
The site of a former working farm, The Farm offers a variety of options to its guests. In addition to a 3,500 square-foot event center with a wrap-around porch that can accommodate groups up to 300 people, The Farm has cabins where guests can spend time with family and friends. Guests also can opt for two-day Culinary Escapes at The Farm, which feature unique lodging, an interactive dinner and cozy gourmet breakfasts with Ferrari. And if guests are seated at the counter in the large, open kitchen, they can watch cooks prepare their food.
“They come in to have breakfast and they come back for dinner,” Ferrari says of the guests. “They sit at the counter, and we talk to them.”
Demonstration cooking is a feature of The Farm Kitchen where farm-to-table ingredients including fresh herbs are used to prepare foods.
The Farm is at 215 Justice Rd., Candler. For more information, visit the website at https://thefarmevents.com or call 828-667-0666.