Asheville, NC – The 13th Asheville Artisan Bread Bakers’ Festival celebrating local farmers, millers and bakers – the first of its kind in the Southeast — will feature the talents of four highly-respected bakers in the United States today: Jim Lahey, Peter Reinhart, Lionel Vatinet, and Tara Jensen. This two-day event is an opportunity for bread enthusiasts and professional bakers to break bread together, to improve their baking skills, share ideas, and network within the artisan bread community.
On Saturday, May 6 from 10am to 2pm, over 15 local artisan bakeries will be sampling and selling their breads at the Magnolia Building on Asheville’s A-B Tech campus; hands-on workshops and lectures by the featured guest artisan bakers will take place from 10am to 4pm at the same location. In addition, two special workshops are scheduled: an on-site visit to the Carolina Ground Mill and a presentation by Stephanie Swane, managing editor for Modernist Cuisine. Tickets are required for all workshops and can be purchased at the festival website.
Saturday evening, the public part of the festival will conclude with a catered dinner with the bakers. The dinner brings together farmers, millers, bakers, and bread enthusiasts for an evening of bread talk and networking. The $50 ticket for the dinner and drinks can be purchased at the festival web site.
On May 7, a six-hour “Master Class” for professional bakers will offer intensive instruction and discussion with Lahey and Vatinet. Professional bakers can inquire about tickets by emailing [email protected]
See full schedule and event details HERE.
The Asheville Artisan Bread Bakers’ Festival has drawn over 1,500 attendees each year. According to Peter Reinhart, “Asheville and its surrounding area, with a very small population, supports more artisan bakeries than most states so this really is an ideal setting for this festival. The bakeries are small but truly artisan in the purest sense of the word.” Steve Bardwell, one of the festival organizers, adds “Year after year, this festival showcases many of best bread bakers and most innovative ideas in bread today.”
The festival is sponsored by local bakeries, the Bread Bakers Guild of America, Asheville-Buncomb Technical Community College, Lindley Mills (an organic flour mill in Graham, NC), King Arthur Flour, Carolina Ground Flour Mill, Ingles Markets, To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company, Rhubarb / Rhu Bakery, and the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.
Jim Lahey studied sculpture before learning the art of bread baking in Italy. When he returned to New York City in 1994, he opened Sullivan St Bakery in Soho with little more than the wild yeast he hand-cultivated in Italy and a desire to bring the craft of small-batch bread baking to America. In October 2000, Lahey built the Sullivan St Bakery headquarters in Hell’s Kitchen, where he has become renowned not just for his bread, but for his Roman-style pizza, rustic Italian pastries and cookies.In 2009, he opened the doors to Co., his first pizza restaurant. Lahey and his businesses have been featured in Vogue, Bon Appétit and The New York
Times, and he has appeared on the Martha Stewart Show and NBC’s Today show. His innovative no-knead bread recipe that ignited a worldwide home-baking revolution was first published in an article by Mark Bittman in The New York Times in 2006. This article became the basis of Lahey’s first cookbook MY BREAD: THE REVOLUTIONARY NO-WORK, NO-KNEAD METHOD, and MY PIZZA: THE EASY NO-KNEAD WAY TO MAKE SPECTACULAR PIZZA AT HOME. In 2015, Jim was the first recipient of the James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker.
Peter Reinhart, currently chef-on-assignment at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, is the author of ten bread cook books. He is a widely respected teacher, author, and consultant. Among his best-known books are: BREAD REVOLUTION, AMERICAN PIE:
MY SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT PIZZA, THE JOY OF GLUTEN-FREE, SUGAR-FREE BAKING AND THE BREAD BAKER’S
APPRENTICE. Four of his books have been nominated for four James Beard awards, with three of them winning, including the “Book of the Year” in 2002 for THE BREAD BAKER’S APPRENTICE.
Lionel Vatinet, a James Beard Foundation “Outstanding Baker” (2015, 2016) and owner of La Farm Bakery in Cary, NC, is one of America’s most respected experts on artisan bread. He has dedicated his life to sharing his knowledge and demystifying bread baking, as a consultant for renowned bread bakeries worldwide and at his 18 year old bread bakery. Before opening La Farm Bakery – recognized by Saveur Magazine as one of the “20 Great American Bread Bakeries” – Vatinet was the founding instructor at the San Francisco Baking Institute, the first school of its kind in the US. Vatinet’s techniques, breads and book, A PASSION FOR BREAD: LESSONS FROM A MASTER BAKER (Little, Brown & Co.), have been featured in Martha Stewart, Food & Wine and O: Oprah Magazine, among others.
Tara Jensen runs Smoke Signals: an educational baking project located in Marshall, North Carolina. Jensen teaches on a range of topics including naturally leavened bread, wood fired baking and rustic pastries. Drawing on her background as both an artist and a professional baker, Jensen connects workshop participants with practical knowledge married to the tactile joy of food. She recently completed her first book: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A BAKER [Saint Martin Press] to be published early in 2018.