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The Gamekeeper Restaurant Hosts New River Organic Growers’ Chef’s Showcase Dinner on Sunday, Nov. 9

Oct. 31, 2014. On Sunday, Nov. 9, New River Organic Growers will host a Chef’s Showcase Dinner starting at 4 p.m. at The Gamekeeper Restaurant in Blowing Rock. The dinner will feature Chefs Ken and Wendy Gordon of The Gamekeeper; Travis Sparks of Artisinal and Seed to Plate Catering; Ed Winebarger of Reed’s Catering and Michael Armes, Sous Chef at Hound Ears Club.

The Chef’s Showcase Dinners are held by New River Organic Growers (NROG) to help highlight the crucial link between farms and restaurants in providing high quality local products. Local products from local farmers will be used in the dishes prepared by the chefs for the showcase dinner that night, including baby carrots, fingerling potatoes and winter squash.


The dinners showcase local foods grown by local farmers and also serves to raise money for the organization.

“This event highlights local foods and highlights what is in season this time of year. The chefs will incorporate these ingredients on the menus. This really serves to raise awareness about local food,” said Sally Thiel of NROG

Each chef will be present to talk about what they have prepared for diners. The dinner will consist of five courses, served by the farmers that grow what is being used to prepare the dishes.

“The farmers serve the dinner, so that is really fun,” Thiel said. “The customers really enjoy the chance to get to meet some of the farmers and the farmers really enjoy seeing their food prepared.”

New River Organic Growers is a farmers’ cooperative in the High Country selling meat, produce, dairy products and eggs that was begun in 1998 to help local farmers transition from growing tobacco to other crops. It has evolved into a large cooperative selling local food to restaurants and retailers throughout the High Country and the Asheville area.

Ken and Wendy Gordon, owner-chefs of the Gamekeeper Restaurant in Blowing Rock will not only host the event at their restaurant, but will also participate in the cooking.

“We have held a lot of fundraising dinners before, but this is the first one that we have hosted for NROG,” said Ken Gordon. “We have always been a long-time supporter of NROG, we were personally standing behind NROG even before there was an official NROG. It is an important thing for the farmers and for the restaurants, so when they asked us to host, we said yes.”

The Gordons will be working alongside the other participating chefs to create a delicious meal.

“We are all working together,” Gordon said. “I claimed the crust for the apple pie, others will be peeling apples, we are all just collaborating on this so it can be the best it can be. We are very excited to see this happen.”

Travis Sparks of Artisanal and Seed to Plate Catering echoed those sentiments.

“We sat down with NROG while we were in the planning process and talked about what foods they would have coming in,” Sparks said. “We saw what looked good and developed a menu around that. We are inspired by what is in season that is coming from our farmers. We are showcasing those ingredients using our own style.”

Sparks also believes that local farmers are a key to a better community.

“We need to know where our food is coming from and stop buying shrink-wrapped food from the grocery store,” Sparks said. “Local farmers keep the economy in the neighborhood and it is great to support local farmers. With local food, your health is better, the economy is better and the community is better.”

For more information about this event, click here.