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Sink your teeth into Relish

By Sherrie Norris (

Article Published: Oct. 27, 2011 | Modified: Nov. 5, 2011
Sink your teeth into Relish

Celebrity chef Jon Ashton will host 'The Relish Cooking Show' Nov. 5 in Boone.
Photo courtesy of Relish Magazine

It’s all about “the love of food,” and nowhere is that more evident than in the High Country, where some of the world’s best cooks live.

On Saturday, Nov. 5, Mountain Times Publications is stirring up the perfect recipe as we bring our hometown cooks together with one of the country’s most esteemed chefs — Jon Ashton — who food critics call “a brilliant culinary expert who breathes life into the kitchen by throwing in a bit of wit with his culinary knowledge.”

Ashton is known for his authentic love of food and his ability to “effortlessly create dishes with heart and soul, while he teaches, entertains and inspires.”

Ashton is described as having a “magnetic charisma” that is loved by his audiences worldwide.

It’s a rare opportunity for Boone to host someone of Ashton’s fame and the first for Boone to be on the map for “The Relish Magazine Cooking Show,” with which Ashton is presently affiliated.

Ashton has not only produced and starred in his own local access TV show in Orlando, Fla., and appeared on the local FOX affiliate in Orlando, he has also been a guest on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and has made regular appearances on “The Today Show.”

He is currently the food correspondent of the nationally syndicated morning show, “The Daily Buzz,” seen on more than 160 stations.

His current role as executive chef for Relish Magazine is bringing him to Boone.

Perhaps you’ve noticed — in the Relish publication distributed by Mountain Times Publications each month — some of Ashton’s simple and seasonal recipes that inspire 62 million readers.

Regardless of the Liverpool, England, native’s current status, it’s the basics that he remembers from his grandmother that make the difference — to share with others.

Although trained as a chef, Ashton doesn’t use fancy food terms — he believes food is food.

“Food is calm like the sound of a mother’s voice,” he said, “and effortless like the silent dialogue between couples in love. It’s as comforting as your favorite pair of faded jeans. Food is expressive like Van Gogh’s masterpieces and unadulterated like a child’s laugh. Fully naked, it is simple, provocative and needs no pretense.”

Ashton believes “cooking is not just about cooking, it’s about living.”

Ashton and his “Recipes for Life” make cooking synonymous with living life well.

A celebrity in his own right, Ashton has also worked with and been inspired by some of the world’s top chefs and cooks, including Rachael Ray, Paula Deen, Emeril Lagasse and Martha Stewart.

He also loves working with kids and is committed to improving the eating habits of young people in America.

As an obese child himself, he fully understands the struggles and challenges of being overweight.
In 2009, Ashton had the opportunity to impact the lives of 50,000 children across the nation. It’s his way of thanking America for opening its doors to him.

As a young British lad, he learned about the joy of cooking through his grandmother’s warm, cottage kitchen, he said, where he was inspired to take home economics in high school.

Despite being taunted, he persevered as he realized cooking was his passion.

Following graduation from St. Helens College in Great Britain, Ashton found his niche in some of the area’s most reputable eateries, which soon led to British cooking shows.

He became an audience favorite, and his reputation flourished into publications from New York to California.

“America was calling, and Jon knew he had to answer,” his publicist said. “So, with $2,000 in his pocket, he left everything he knew and traveled to America, eventually landing in Florida.”

The rest is history and will come to life in Boone on Nov. 5 with an exciting evening that no one with an ounce of culinary interest will want to miss.

The pages of Relish will come alive when Mountain Times Publications presents “The Relish Magazine Cooking Show” from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5 — VIP event at 5:30 p.m. — at Watauga High School, located at 300 Go Pioneers Drive in Boone.

Ashton will conduct the lively, two-hour show that features authentic recipes, useful cooking tips and new ideas for the kitchen. Jimmy Crippen, owner of Crippen’s Country Inn in Blowing Rock, will be the emcee.

The event includes a pre-show expo showcasing products and services presented by local vendors.
Each show attendee will receive a gift bag that includes coupons, special discount offers and “The Relish Magazine Cooking Show” keepsake cookbook.

“Seasons & Celebrations: A Market-Fresh Cookbook for All Occasions” will be available for purchase, featuring recipes and menus from Relish.

“We are thrilled to bring this type of family entertainment to the High Country,” Mountain Times Publications marketing director Charlie Price said. “We’d like to bring more rewarding events into the High Country to add to the extensive schedule of events that already exists.”

Tickets are available at the offices of the The Mountain Times, Watauga Democrat and All About Women magazine in Boone, The Ashe Mountain Times in West Jefferson, The Avery Journal-Times in Newland — and at Crippen’s Country Inn in Blowing Rock and Earth Fare in downtown Boone.

General admission is $11; premiere seating is $18.50; and VIP seating with access to the backstage party is $35.

“We’ve made the ticket prices very affordable,” Price said. “This is the first time that a well-known celebrity chef has come to Boone to present a fun-filled night of professional quality entertainment.”

But on Friday, Oct. 28, the ticket price will be more than affordable. Starting at 8 a.m. Friday, Mountain Times Publications will give away 250 general admission tickets free of charge with no strings attached.

Tickets will be available on a first come, first serve basis at The Mountain Times office, located at 474 Industrial Park Drive in Boone.

“The Relish Cooking Show” takes place Saturday, Nov. 5, from 7 to 9 p.m. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and the backstage party is from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. For more information, call (828) 264-3612.

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