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"And it makes sense that I own those stories and control my own narrative," she said. Benne on Eagle is a great addition to downtown Asheville restaurants. Chef de cuisine of Asheville’s Benne on Eagle, Ashleigh Shanti, has left the restaurant to pursue her own dining establishments. She's working on cooking demos and busily recording recipes. Ashleigh Shanti: [00:03:20] I am Ashleigh Shanti, the chef de cuisine at Benne on Eagle, and today we are making red wine braised oxtails with pink eyed peas and buttered rice. Ashleigh Shanti at home in Asheville with her vizsla, Roux. Chef de cuisine of Asheville’s Benne on Eagle, Ashleigh Shanti, has left the restaurant to pursue her own dining establishments. ASHEVILLE - When Ashleigh Shanti became the first chef de cuisine at Benne on Eagle, she signed her name on the kitchen wall before the metal fireproofing panels … "I'm taking a pause to recharge and make sure the next move I make benefits the community, whether that's the restaurant staff or the marginalized community in Asheville," she said. Shanti specializes in African American foodways, including Black Appalachian food. The rate of restaurant ownership in the Black community is low, Shanti pointed out then. Lunsford is a former professional line cook and one-time restaurant owner. She also taught fermentation classes at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans and has a deep knowledge of the craft. But this year has been a time of reflection for many, Shanti said. Food personality Carla Hall meets Ashleigh Shanti, the new chef de cuisine of Benne on Eagle in Asheville. Rising Star Chef Ashleigh Shanti Exits Benne on Eagle Chef de cuisine of Asheville’s Benne on Eagle, Ashleigh Shanti, has left the restaurant to pursue her own dining establishments. Reflecting on her time at Benne, Shanti said she was thankful to be able to tell her own story, too. Ashleigh Shanti grew up in the South and started cooking early, taking her first kitchen job at 16. And it’s the mantra of Benne on Eagle, a new restaurant dedicated to exploring the nuances of soul food through Appalachian ingredients in Asheville, North Carolina. A press release came in on Friday to announce that Malcolm McMillian is the new chef de cuisine, and the Asheville Citizen Times confirmed that Shanti had stepped down to create a restaurant group based in Asheville. I'm not the Pioneer Woman, and this is not Oklahoma. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, analyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. Four are large black and white photographs of African-American women who owned restaurants nearby hung over a banquette. Ashleigh Shanti and John Fleer. If you can’t find oxtail, Ashleigh suggests substituting chuck roast cut into 1¼-inch pieces. While Shanti brought Appalachian and West African touches to the kitchen, they will likely not disappear from the menu at Benne on Eagle, as she moves on to build her own food empire. Shanti has stepped down to focus on plans to open multiple local restaurants 5454 This ethos informs everything we do here at Benne on Eagle, from the décor to the art to the menu and our kitchen staff, which is comprised of many family members of people who ran thriving businesses on The Block in the 1960s and 1970s. "It will take a lot, but I'm up for the task. Chef John Fleer and his firebrand chef de cuisine Ashleigh Shanti have devised a menu that draws on black Appalachian cooking, blending in West African tradition. Ashleigh Shanti and David Taylor from Benne on Eagle read some of their worst restaurant reviews. Meanwhile, while he's sad to see Shanti go, Fleer is excited to introduce chef McMillian to Asheville. There's so much more we should feel tasked with. Article by Debra Freeman with photography by Fitz Lead photo: Chef Ashleigh Shanti seated in Benne on Eagle Five pieces of art hang on the walls in Benne on Eagle, a restaurant inside the Foundry Hotel in Asheville, North Carolina. Heirloom Collard Project It was at Benne on Eagle that Shanti met Chris Smith, author of James Beard Foundation Award-winning book The Whole Okra: … Oxtail is something that I grew up making. Malcolm McMillian, new chef de cuisine at Benne on Eagle, takes over from Ashleigh Shanti, New chef de cuisine makes mark at Benne on Eagle, new John Fleer restaurant in Asheville, Eagle Street Juneteenth celebration honors holiday, supports Black community, Asheville chef Hanan Shabazz honored for work preserving foodways, feeding community, Planting seeds of revolution: Asheville chefs, farmers unite behind accessible fresh food, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Chef de cuisine of Asheville’s Benne on Eagle, Ashleigh Shanti, has left the restaurant to pursue her own dining establishments. ", She acknowledged achieving her goals would require an enormous effort. "With some of those reflections, I got a bird's eye view of my future trajectory and what that looks like," she said. Chef de cuisine of Asheville’s Benne on Eagle, Ashleigh Shanti, has left the restaurant to pursue her own dining establishments. Instead of sitting inside Benne’s low-lit, elegantly spare dining room, Shanti She tells the Times that she wants to create a company that will empower workers in the food and beverage business. Mackensy Lunsford has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years, and has been a staff writer for the Asheville Citizen Times since 2012. But she has an explorer’s soul, and over the past decade her cooking career has taken her around the world. She hopes to provide more opportunities for employment where workers feel empowered. Read more: Subscribe to the Citizen Times here. The day I was scheduled to interview Shanti was the day Benne on Eagle decided to close its doors to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While at Benne on Eagle, Shanti was nominated as James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef and was named an Eater 2019 Young Gun. Malcolm McMillian, new chef de cuisine at Benne on Eagle, takes over from Ashleigh Shanti McMillian joined Benne in summer as sous chef under Ashleigh Shanti. Benne seeds are richer tasting than sesame but can be tricky to source. Shanti's credits include Minibar, José Andrés's vaunted D.C. restaurant, a stage at Blue Hill at Stone Barns under chef Dan Barber and Culinary Assistant for Chef & the Farmer co-owner Vivian Howard. McMillian, the new chef de cuisine at Benne on Eagle, joined the team in the summer as sous chef under Ashleigh Shanti. "We need to dig deeper and realize that yes, restaurants need to be saved, but work also needs to be done (to save) the people who do the work and put in the sweat equity," she said. He said encouraging Black restaurant ownership has been on his mind since the restaurant was in its planning stages, stationed as it is in a formerly thriving Black business district. More: Planting seeds of revolution: Asheville chefs, farmers unite behind accessible fresh food, "I was kind of at a lull in my career," she said, then 28. As hleigh Shanti grew up in a secluded house surrounded by acres of woods near Virginia Beach. Benne on Eagle is located on Eagle Street in Asheville’s historic neighborhood called The Block. Since joining Benne, Shanti was nominated for a James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef. A press release came in on Friday to announce that Malcolm McMillian is the new chef de cuisine, and the Asheville Citizen Times confirmed that Shanti had stepped down to create a restaurant group based in Asheville. In Asheville, N.C., Ashleigh Shanti, who was named to the James Beard shortlist for her work as chef de cuisine at Benne on Eagle, says she doesn ’ t … , overseeing multiple venues Hanan Shabazz honored for work preserving foodways, including Black Appalachian food she the! 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