By Jessica Isaacs | [email protected]
Photos by Ken Ketchie.
Local diners enjoyed some interesting flavors from across the globe last week when two world-renowned chefs made an appearance at one of the High Country’s favorite establishments.
Husband-and-wife team of celebrity chefs Sidney and Alison Bond traveled all the way from their cooking school on the river Creuse in France, Le Calabash Petit concervatoire de la cuisine, to spend three days in the kitchen with chef/owners Ken and Wendy Gordon at the Gamekeeper Restaurant and Bar.
Sidney, a native of Zululand, South Africa, and Alison, a distinguished European pastry chef, enjoyed a long weekend in our mountains Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 18-20.
Their cooking school in France is known as a true “international culinary adventure.” It sits in a farmhouse kitchen in the country’s Loire Valley region, which is home to many wonderful producers that make the area “a chef’s dream.”
“What we like most of all is the fresh produce. There are amazing cheese producers in the area and very good wine,” Sidney said. “The produce is so good and everything is seasonal. You put on the plate what you find at the market.
“The French are by no means the best chefs in the world anymore, but the people are still very careful about what they eat and very knowledgeable about what they eat. That’s something we try to share with everybody all over the globe.”
In fact, the same level of attention to fresh, healthy foods that they love about their hometown is also what they’ve come to love about the High Country, and about the Gamekeeper.
“In the two days that we’ve been in North Carolina, we have liked what we have seen. We’ve been to other parts of the state, and Alison and I were just saying that being here we’ve noticed a lot of farm produce — that’s really great,” said Sidney. “It’s nice to see people like Ken and Wendy focusing on fresh and organic produce. That must be part of why they seem to be so busy.
“People want to know what they’re eating and they want to trust the chefs. They want to trust the people they’re eating with, and I think both Ken and Wendy have hit the nail on the head.”
Sidney and Alison Bond
Sidney and Alison Bond have turned their love for kitchen into a lifelong passion and career they can share together. Through their cooking school in France and its second location in Cape Town, South Africa, the two enjoy teaching and befriending professional chefs and cooking enthusiasts from across the globe, many of them hailing from the southeastern United States.
“If you enjoy food, it’s always great to go and experience other cultures,” Sidney said. “I think people should be more open to traveling and enjoying different cultures.”
While in town, the Bonds shared some of their favorite South African dishes with diners at the Gamekeeper. They mingled with many guests, worked alongside Ken and Wendy in the kitchen and gave the following advice for aspiring chefs:
“Hard work. You need hard work and passion. Cooking is not about only knowledge, but it’s more about what comes from the heart — you must enjoy it,” said Sidney. “If you don’t enjoy it, then give it up. We thoroughly enjoy what we do and we love it.
“We probably love it more now than we’ve ever loved it. We get to share our passion with everybody and we get to meet new people from all the corners of the world.”
The duo said they loved spending time in the High Country.
“The people are so real and this is how I imagine America to be,” Sidney said. “We’ve been to other parts of the U.S. and we would rather be here.”
Check out this story on the Bonds for more information or call 828-963-7400 to reach the Gamekeeper.