The second day conference sessions began with a light Continental Breakfast (fresh fruit, granola, yogurt, coffee) at Biltmore’s Lioncrest venue.
“This romantic setting was built in the 1930s as a barn for the estate and was renovated in 2006 into a beautiful event space.”
We met in the second floor Grand Ballroom for a day of panel discussions and roundtables with experts in food photography, pitching articles to publications, and successful food blogging strategies.
Our introduction to “Culinary Biltmore” began with a lovely lunch buffet on the Veranda. Imagine a room full of people who regularly take photos of their meals. The difference here was no one minded. All of the dishes were very good, but the fried chicken was a favorite. Feeling more like a sweet southern social with lots of visiting between the tables, it took determination to wrap up conversations and head back to the Ballroom.
Estate Torn Lettuce
Grilled Watermelon, Toasted Pistachio, Shaved Ricotta Salata
with Blackberry-Ginger Vinaigrette
Cavatappi Pasta Salad
Charred Chives, Fresh Mozzarella, Blistered Heirloom Tomatoes
Pulled Pork with NC Gold BBQ
Sweet Tea Brined Fried Chicken with Pickled Okra
Herb Roasted Potatoes and
Sauteed Green Beans with Crispy Shallots
With Carmel Mousse, Chocolate Sauce,
and Salted Peanuts
White Chocolate Brownies
Dark Chocolate Pudding with Malt Cream
After a short break we were invited to take a Culinary Tour of Biltmore House. My favorite part was the Butler’s Pantry. I have a major weakness for service pieces of all kinds. My least favorite part was that a random couple crashed our private tour, tagging along. That takes nerve, but we just let it go.
What happened next was the day’s Pièce de résistance! Shuttle buses picked us up in front of the house . . .
and dropped us a short walk away from Diana, the semi-permanent tented venue at the top of the hill pictured below. After taking in the sculpture of Diana, the Huntress, and the incredible view of Biltmore House, we stepped into the tent, where an amazing Farm to Table Reception awaited.
We were treated to a “feast for the senses” with a menu inspired by Biltmore’s production garden, their free-range beef and lamb program, the estate’s 94 acre vineyard, Biltmore Winery and locally sourced ingredients. It was incredible! Really incredible!
Chefs and staff from four Biltmore restaurants and Lioncrest & Diana catering were on hand, cooking and plating at tables throughout Diana. Each table held fare from a different eatery. When does that happen??? The chefs were extremely approachable, willing to talk and answer questions while they worked. And of course, there were plenty of photos being taken.
Someone asked, “what’s your favorite Biltmore restaurant/food this evening?” All I could do was stare at them. Thinking for a minute, I named one. After another minute, I named another. Then another. It was impossible to pick one favorite.
CEDRIC’S TAVERN, Chef Mark DeMarco
Summer Vegetable Caponata with Three Graces Goat Cheese
Served inside Miniature Yorkshire Puddings
Braised Biltmore Estate Raised Shortribs
Served over Colcannon Mashed Potatoes, Blistered Tomatoes, Crisp
Garlic and Cedric’s Brown Ale Jus
INN ON BILTMORE, Chef David Tyba
Sweet Potato & Blue Cheese Profiterole, Balsamic
Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Chai Spiced Raspberries
Papri Chat Chick Pea, Serrano, Coconut, Date, Curry
Estate Raised Chicken Galantine, Olive, Bacon, Pistachio, Lemon
Beet Pickled Estate Raised Quale Eggs, Bason Donfit Pearl Onion
BISTRO, Chef Paul Klaassen
Deviled Estate Raised Eggs with Creme Fraiche and
Sunburst Farms Trout Roe
Poached Sunburst Farms Trout Rillettes – Benton’s Bacon, Lusty
Monk Mustard, Grilled Bread
STABLE CAFE, Chef Brian Hough
Pastry Chef Cassi Cardwell
House-Made Cheese & Charcuterie
Peach Brandy, Gooseberryt, Rhubarb Riesling
Cheddar Guanciale Chive, Maple,and Buttermilk
House Artisan Breads & Crackers
LIONCREST & DIANA, Chef Kirk Fiore
Wok Stir Fry
Stir Fry Chicken, Estate-raised Pork, Seasonal Vegetables and Rice
with Chefs Sauces
Served in Chinese Take-Out Boxes
LIONCREST & DIANA, Pastry Chef Susan Parana
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Apple Cider Gelee
Mississippi Mud Cake
Bourbon Marshmallow, Chocolate Caramel Sauce, Salted Pecans
Chef David Ryba leads the Dining Room at the Inn on Biltmore Estate. With full access to the biodiversity of the estate and neighboring farms, David’s vision has been fully realized in the establishment of his Seasonal Farm to Table Menu.
Chef Kirk Fiore leads Biltmore Catering with a passion for seasonal cooking and sourcing the best ingredients. He spent most of his career in Vermont and Upstate New York, where he served as chef of several successful fine-dining and banquet locations, as well as Chef Instructor at the New England Culinary Institute.
Chef Brian Hough and Pastry Chef Cassi Cardwell of Stable Café continue the Biltmore tradition of sustainability with a dedication to sourcing local foods that are naturally and humanely raised. They specialize in house-made items that range from artisanal breads, crackers, cheeses, pickled vegetables, vinegars, mustards and charcuterie that is crafted whole hog utilization.
Chef Paul Klaassen embraces the slow food philosophy at Bistro, preparing classic French and contemporary dishes using only the freshest local and seasonal ingredients. Paul’s open display kitchen at Bistro provides a front row seat to watch as your meal is prepared.
Chef Mark DeMarco is at the helm of Cedric’s Tavern. He cultivates numerous relationships with boutique specialty purveyors of meat and dairy as he updates classic English pub fair with thoughtful twists.
Pastry Chef Susan Parana creates beautiful and tasty desserts at Lioncrest, Biltmore’s event facility that caters to weddings and dinners. Calling her occupation more of a passion than a job, Susan started out cooking but was intrigued by combining decadent ingredients with precision timing that being a pastry chef demands.
Culinary Biltmore Notes:
- Biltmore restaurants serve as training grounds for the next generation of great chefs! Biltmore’s extern program allows budding chefs to rotate through all of the estate’s food venues and pick up unique hands-on experiences. Externs may be working with chefs one day, then in the vineyard with our winemakers the next.
- Biltmore sends its chefs out into the community as part of ASAP’s (Appalachian ustainable Agriculture Project) Growing Minds Farm-to-School Program. Biltmore chefs lead cooking workshops in local classrooms and at area farmers markets using local ingredients as a way to positively impact children’s health and education.
- Every restaurant is child-friendly with specialty menu offerings that go beyond standard kid fare. Even the winery welcomes youngsters with complimentary grape juice and with seasonal Grape Stomps.
- After lunch, the Library Lounge at the Inn on Biltmore Estate serves a traditional British tea with English finger sandwiches, scones, fruit breads, and tea pastries.
- You have to have a Daytime Ticket or Annual Pass to Biltmore Estate to be able to go to any of the Biltmore restaurants.