Taste of Asheville: Part 1

May 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm 1 comment

When NFCA first hired me back in 2008, my work revolved around the support and development of 3 major activities:

Now, for someone who had zero experience in the restaurant and foodservice industry, being responsible for the administration and national launch of this major NFCA program was an overwhelming prospect.

Fortunately, as a key member of the GREAT Kitchens team, I had the opportunity to represent NFCA at so many key industry conferences, presentations and events. Listening and networking with chefs, restaurateurs, and foodservice professionals across the country helped me overcome my steep learning curve and gain valuable insight into the industry. I learned so much in those first 2 years that eventually I became an instructor, and was able to conduct GREAT training presentations all on my own, something I found to be surprisingly fun and gratifying!

These days, while my work with GREAT mainly centers around PR, communications, and industry conference/presentation preparation – every now and then I get the opportunity to ‘pinch hit’ for Beckee as a guest instructor on the educational side.

Asheville, NC- Picturesque, isn't it?

So, it was a delightful surprise when, earlier this month, Beckee asked me to fill in for her in Asheville, NC, where the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association (AIR) had recruited 25 members to undergo GREAT Training!

While I had never been before, I was already aware of Asheville’s incredible reputation, particularly as a vacation destination. And boy, the city did not disappoint!

From the breathtaking scenery, fantastic food (which I’ll cover in a later post) and friendly people – I can’t say enough about my WONDERFUL visit. I can’t WAIT to go back.  My only regret was not being able to stay for the Asheville gluten-free fair hosted by Ingles and their passionate dietitian, Leah McGrath.

Asheville, NC definitely has my vote for next year’s top Celiac Aware Cities, that’s for sure!

I don’t need to go into too much detail about how necessary proper training is within the foodservice industry, and the importance of GREAT Kitchens in educating and raising awareness. Most of you already know!

My Hotel: The Grove Park Inn

I was particularly moved by Savvy Celiac’s recent feature on GREAT, and touched by author Amy Leger’s encouraging words about the program and its mission.  Click here to read her review of GREAT and why restaurant education is so critical for our community.

With that said, AIR and its members are committed to providing celiacs with safe and delicious cuisine and making Asheville a gluten-free destination for celiacs across the country.  And now, with 25 GREAT Trained kitchens, I encourage EVERYONE to visit Asheville and support this wonderful, caring and unbelievably TASTY group of establishments.

To check out the FULL List of GREAT Trained Restaurants I trained in Asheville, NC – Visit Did You Hear? on CeliacCentral.org.

You can also go to AshevilleNow.com to learn more about my new favorite city.

Stay tuned for my next post on the fabulous gluten-free cuisine I experienced on my trip!

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A Blogger A Day: Be Free For Me A Blogger A Day: Simply Sugar & Gluten Free

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Beckee Moreland  |  May 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Way to go, Whit! Thanks for doing such a GREAT job. I can’t wait to head to Asheville to experience the fruits of GREAT Kitchens training first hand. It looks beautiful! Had I not been on my own fabulous vacation destination in Hawaii, I would have relished this incredible experience. I think it’s such a brilliant way for local restaurant associations to provide value to their members. Gluten-free training for all! Who benefit most? Those with celiac disease and their families, of course. Now they don’t have to search out one or two locations in Asheville to have a positive gluten-free dining experience. Kudos AIR and NFCA!

    Reply

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