Walnut Cove Realty Discovery partners – Fork Lore and Biltmore Park Hilton

Fork Lore: Storied Food and Spirits is an independent restaurant at Biltmore Park Town Square. The name offers a nod to what’s found within. Dishes with a past, stories to be told, memories to be rekindled. “Made from scratch cuisine sourced from local purveyors”, the menu is grounded by some deep Southern roots.

Executive Chef Chris Heath arrived at Fork Lore in 2020 from the Key Biscayne Ritz Carlton. Perhaps new to Asheville but not Western North Carolina, Chris grew up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Mount Airy. You know, North Carolina’s Mayberry where Andy, Opie and Aunt Bee lived. As we were talking about his culinary career, a mischievous sparkle rose in his eyes as he started talking about his BLT bologna sandwich. When my face apparently revealed distaste at the memory of my school lunch standard, he chuckled “I’m not talking about that bologna!”  A true Chef’s spirit can’t be quelled when the subject of food is on the table, but bologna? Really?

I didn’t know there was more than one, I’m thinking as Chef describes the process of creating his signature meat. “It begins with lean pork and beef.” “And,” I ask? His blue eyes twinkle, but no secrets are revealed.

We circle back to things which influenced his palate and he takes me to his Grandmother’s garden. All varieties of vegetables and just picked tomatoes with a perfect dollop of Duke’s. Homemade meatloaf and collard greens. Drop biscuits with soft, sweetened butter.

Chef Chris likes the history of a dish and spends time reading old country cookbooks, gifts from friends and family. Rummage Sale specials with hundred-year-old recipes, his collection counts more than 2000, beginning with his grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s well-worn copies. These days, he loves elevating spices and finding new applications of simple foods. Tastes you will remember and want to enjoy again and again.

While we sat, Chef shared many stories about dishes inspired by ebbing cultural tides. Places where close friends circle up to share the day’s events over a favorite burger. Exploring cuisine in Thailand where a village elephant beat him in a game of darts!

“I immersed myself in the culture of The Ritz hospitality. Learning to anticipate a customer’s wishes and responding to a diner’s specific food requirements” makes the experience all the more personal. Chef Chris loves to share his passion for food, and the stories behind each dish come from his heart. It’s his desire to hear your stories while you share his table.

I asked how a Miami chef found this Biltmore Farms Hotel position, and he replied, “Asheville by choice”. Last year, he and his family were visiting friends and camping in the area. Sitting beside the fire, they were talking about the temperate seasons, the amazing views, untold numbers of hiking trails to explore. As the sun set, he and Amanda decided they had to raise their children in these mountains, with these people.  Not long ago my ten-year-old daughter asked me, ”Daddy, do you know everybody here? You talk to them like they’re already your friend.” I told her, it’s the way I was brought up. Interestingly, now that I’ve moved back to the Blue Ridge mountains, I’ve yet to meet anyone who isn’t happy to be here. We get lots of regulars at the Hilton, and when they sit at my table I get to say, “Welcome Home”.

EXPERIENCE MATTERS: Chef Chris previously served four years as the Executive Chef at Key Biscayne Ritz Carlton and as the Ritz Carlton Executive Sous Chef. His experience includes time as a Restaurant Chef for Gaby’s by the Lake at the Ritz Carlton-Reynolds, Lake Oconee. Chef Chris created a signature chicken sandwich which remains on a national restaurant menu. Having studied at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Chef Chris has been honored with the Award of Culinary Excellence from Marriott International.

AUTHOR: Rebecca Tucker is a Sales Support Specialist for Walnut Cove Realty | Beverly-Hanks REALTORS ®. Walnut Cove Realty’s Luxury Property executives regularly host visiting prospects considering the Asheville area. Partnering with the Biltmore Park Hilton allows our guests an elevated experience. “This city is known as a foodtopia, and I can attest, there are dishes unique to Fork Lore which will bring you back for a second serving.” ~ Rebecca

You can reach Rebecca Tucker toll free at Walnut Cove Realty | Beverly-Hanks REALTORS ®. Call 888-247-3466 if you would like to learn more about Asheville real estate, Walnut Cove and worthy meals.