Chow Chow, the Asheville culinary event series, is back for its third year, with a series of 24 fun and engaging summer events, during three weekends, June 23-26, Aug. 4-7 and Sept. 8-11.

Grab a seat at the table and share a wide variety of culinary treats and educational experiences. Chow Chow is a celebration of Southern Appalachian chefs, farmers, craft beverage producers, artists and culinary makers — all presented with a deeper meaning.

“We have a rich cultural history in this region and we acknowledge the responsibility of a culinary series to honor the community and celebrate justly,” said Chow Chow executive director Rebecca Lynch. “Through thoughtful and intentional programming, Chow Chow is much more than a beautiful meal — Chow Chow brings food for thought, the events engage with conversations on issues such as food justice and food insecurity, racial justice, climate change, resilient agriculture and health and wellness.”

At Chow Chow events, food professionals often get the chance to interact with others in the industry, producing a dynamic range of ideas and tasty collaborations.

“Chow Chow is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with chefs in the Southeast and provide a one-of-a kind dining experience in an intimate setting,” said Malcom McMillan, participating chef in the June 25 Food as Medicine dinner.

The genesis of Chow Chow

Chow Chow started with a bang in 2019, showcasing the food experiences of Appalachia, culminating in a grand tasting at Pack Square Park — only to pause in 2020, as most events were forced to cancel, due to the pandemic. It reemerged in 2021, as a mix of in-person signature events and corresponding virtual series of classes, demos and workshops.

While the current format differs from the original 2019 Chow Chow, the event continues to celebrate Southern Appalachian, while highlighting big conversations that impact the food industry — food justice, racial justice and climate change.

“We believe that food is universal, and that there is power in gathering people together around a table for the exchange of knowledge and dialogue,” Lynch said. “We’re excited to be on a journey to create a new model for a more relevant, intentional and equitable culinary event series, and provide avenues for our community to come together.”

“When I imagine a warm welcome from friends, I think of Chow Chow,” said Meg Chamberlain, president of Fermenti, who will speak at the Food as Medicine dinner June 25. “Chow Chow creates dynamic environments where our entire community is given direct access to incredibly talented visionaries in our food scene. It’s almost like a living foodie/art installation.”

Chow Chow artfully showcases the diversity and community in the Asheville area.

“Through Chow Chow, I’m able to add a little drop of my Puerto Rican culture and upbringing with my frozen treats,” said Neomi Negron, chef at Buggy Pops, who is participating in the Entrepreneurs of Color event June 25.

The tasty events include flights and bites tastings, multi-course dinners, beverage seminars, workshops and cultural explorations aimed to widen culinary horizons. Enjoy a free family-friendly Sunday Supper Series (donations welcome to honor the meal’s makers). There is also a free family friendly movie night, showing Ratatouille, by Disney-Pixar.

“My mouth is already watering in anticipation of three weekends of delicious eats and drinks, but I am most looking forward to gathering together in community, to laugh and be joyful, and to also listen and learn from the voices in our communities working to make all our lives better,” Lynch said.

Sampling of events

Enjoy the collaboration of chefs, restaurateurs, farmers and makers to delight the community with a wide-ranging offering of summer events. Learn cooking from scraps, the culture of corn, how to make tamales, easy pie baking and how to make tasty craft cocktails without alcoholic spirits.

“I like the idea of Chow Chow, bringing together a diverse group of people who all simply enjoy food both, eating and preparing,” said Nakisha Marvels, chef at Cream Works, participant in the opening party June 23. “As for me, feeding people is my expression of love and caring.”

• Chow Chow Opening Party — 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, June 23, at Atelier Maison, 121 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville. Featured restaurants: Posana, The Odditorium, Salsa’s Mexican Caribbean/Modesto Trattoria/Café Bomba, Cream Works, Feta Flav, Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ, Red Fiddle Vittles, The Lobster Trap, Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola Resort, Chestnut, Storm Rhum Bar, Stay Glazed Donuts, Gourmet Foods International and Nine Mile.

• Appalachian Homemade Wines Seminar — 9-11 a.m. Saturday, June 25, at Botanist & Barrel, 32 Broadway St., Asheville. Lyndon Smith and Amie Fields present crafting homemade wines, using ingredients from inspiring mountain landscapes. Drink it in, literally.

• Food as Medicine — 6-9 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at Devil’s Foot Beverage, 131 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville. Seated dinner with cocktails, then five-course meal prepared by six chefs, paired with craft beverages.

“I embrace a lot of the homesteading techniques used in Appalachian cuisine, including pickling, fermenting, curing and dehydrating,” said chef McMillan. “These techniques bring out flavors in proteins, vegetables and fruits that can’t be achieved through traditional cooking, plus they add nutritional value.”

• Appalachian Pride Brunch — 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Sunday, June 26, at Smoky Park Supper Club, 350 Riverside Dr., Asheville. Seated brunch with cocktails, then a four-course meal with paired beverages.

• Around the Campfire — 5:30–8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, at WNC Farmers Market, 570 Brevard Road, Asheville. Flights and bites cocktail-style event with seven chefs creating three small dishes each; craft beverage makers.

• Sowing Seeds of Equity — 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at Hickory Nut Gap Farm, 57 Sugar Hollow Road, Fairview. Seated dinner with cocktails, then five-course meal paired with beverages. Six chefs and five craft beverage makers featured.

• Dynamic Women —5:30-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, at Smoky Park Supper Club, 350 Riverside Dr., Asheville. Cocktail-style flights and bites event with seven notable area female chefs, preparing three small dishes each; craft beverage makers, too.

Tickets

Tickets are on sale now. Individual event tickets range from free to $150. Weekend passes for each of the three months are available. Weekend passholders receive priority access at check-in and a VIP swag bag.

Note: Chow Chow 2022 events are 21 and older, unless noted as family friendly. The Sunday Supper Series of events are family friendly, with children welcome (tickets are required for all attendees, including children).

For the full 2022 schedule and tickets, visit www.exploreasheville.com/chow-chow-culinary-festival/2022-schedule/.

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