Chef Katie Button draws her inspiration from an unconventional path that began in a science laboratory and led her to the kitchen. Now, as executive chef for Cúrate bar de tapas and its around-the-corner nightclub neighbor, Nightbell in Asheville, North Carolina, she inspires others to take the road less traveled.
After earning a BioMaster’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from L’Ecole Centrale in Paris and before entering a Neurosciences PhD program, she took a detour. That path included jobs in José Andrés’ restaurants in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, CA; work with Chef Johnny Iuzzini at Jean Georges in New York; and ultimately a seven-month internship in the kitchen of elBulli, Ferran Adrià’s world-renowned Spanish restaurant. It is this unique world view that infuses Chef Button’s creations at Cúrate, where her work has earned national acclaim for its Spanish authenticity and creativity, and at Nightbell, which opened in February 2014 featuring a menu of innovative American bar cuisine complimented by choice selections of cocktails, wine, beer and spirits.
Chef Button has been named a James Beard Rising Star Chef Semi-Finalist for three consecutive years (2012-2014). Her creations have been featured in national publications such as The New York Times, Southern Living, and Food & Wine. With all of this to her credit, it is no surprise that Chef Button is working on her first cookbook. The book, which is scheduled for publication in 2015, celebrates the broad appeal of Spanish cooking and shows readers how to re-create and adapt classic dishes in the home kitchen using seasonal local ingredients.
Chef Button continues her culinary education taking a few weeks each year to travel, learn and seek inspiration from world renowned chefs. Her most recent trip included a visit to Copenhagen’s Noma, ranked the number one restaurant in the world for three-consecutive years. In addition to furthering her own education, she has served as a culinary demonstrator to The French Culinary Institute and Johnson & Wales University, receiving that institution’s Distinguished Visiting Chef Award in 2012. In 2013, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs presented her with the Golden Whisk Award for her excellence in the kitchen and inspiration to the culinary world.
Content provided courtesy of Heirloom Hospitality Group.