Thanks to everyone involved in the Melange of the Mountains!

We had a great time competing at the Melange of the Mountains yesterday. Waynesville has some great restaurants and we were lucky to come away with 7 awards in 8 categories. We took 3 first place awards, 3 second place awards and the overall culinary excellence award for the most points awarded in the competition. We could not have been so successful without our friends and farmers. Thanks & special recognition go to:

Jackie Blevins. We collaborated on the first place dessert: Bacon, Breakfast Stout & Chocolate Cheesecake/Maple Whip/Bacon Brittle.

Farmer Damon @ Akashi Greens who has a local greenhouse in which he grows many fantastic vegetables. The arugula, heirloom lettuces and cavolo nero came from him.

Steven & Becca @ Balsam Gardens raised the duroc pigs we butchered a few weeks ago from which we made the bacon, pork chops and pork belly, pork broth, collards and more.

Sunburst Trout, it makes my job easy to have product like yours right around the corner.

Chris Allen, our longest term employee has been with us since demolition and has foraged ramps for me two of the past three years for Melange. We would not be where we are today if not for all your contributions.

Sean Whelan, my Chef de Cuisine who puts it on the line every day without hesitation and makes a great bacon brittle.

Alex Theodore & Dustin Shriver my sous chefs, without your dedication and skill we would not be receiving this recognition.

All the rest of the FLPH front and back of house staff. You are what makes us special and we truly appreciate you all.

Laurel Ridge Country Club & Haywood County Chamber of Commerce, thanks to everyone who worked so hard to put on this great event!

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About Chef Kaighn

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Executive Chef Kaighn Raymond has over 16 years of experience with the last 13 in the Atlanta fine dining scene. Coming to Atlanta directly from the Culinary Institute of America, Kaighn had already reached sous chef level at a beloved Connecticut bistro recognized by the New York Times and still flourishing today. Chef Kaighn worked his way through CIA gaining exposure to the industry in multiple capacities including catering with Market Basket, and on the line at popular restaurants in New York like The Riverview in near bye Cold Springs. Upon graduation from CIA with Dean's List Honors and a high pass on his 5th term practical Kaighn was recruited to the 5th group in Atlanta. Chef Kaighn has diverse skills and as a highly celebrated Chef, he has worked at several of the cities most notable establishments, including Brasserie le Coze, Alon’s, Atlantic Seafood Company, Horseradish Grill, Food 101, La Tavola, The River Room, The Vinings Inn, Pastis and The French American Brasserie. When Chef Kaighn was ready to return to Sous Chef level, he chose to join the slow food movement with the opening of Food 101 and after a year with Chef Scott Crawford moved over to the widely acclaimed Horseradish Grill at Chastain where he was exposed to locally focused traditional and modern southern cuisine. Chosen as Chef de Cuisine for the new location in Alpharetta, he opened to high reviews and strong sales. Following 9/11 and a downturn in the economy, Chef Kaighn spent the next year re-exploring his early love of French cuisine, temporarily elevating the cuisine at Pastis in Roswell. When the opportunity arose to work at the beloved Atlanta Patisserie, Alon's, writing the recipes for the grand opening of the prepared foods department, Kaighn jumped at the chance to do new things and spent the next few months doing recipe R&D, making fresh pastas, refreshing his pastry skills and then opening the deli. After experiencing the pace of in a gourmet deli bakery & patisserie, Kaighn longed for a return to the pressure and creativity he loved in restaurant kitchens. Returning to restaurants as the Executive Chef at Brasserie Le Coze, his flawless integration of creative, unpretentious cuisine coupled with inspired presentations re-elevated the reputation of the restaurant to one of the hottest in the city. Following three years at the helm, BLC was forced to leave their Lenox location. During construction of their new home downtown Chef Kaighn spent his time fine tuning his skills under world renowned Chef Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin in New York City and running his own catering/consulting firm Essential Flavor LLC. Re-inspired by the New York restaurant scene Chef Kaighn used all his experiences to design a menu concept and create new dishes that earned The French American Brasserie 4 star reviews and international recognition upon opening. After a long career at the top of the Atlanta dining scene, Chef Kaighn has followed his dream to Waynesville, NC where he is opening his first self owned restaurant: Frogs Leap Public House at 44 Church Street.
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