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What is your favorite part of being a restaurant owner in Asheville?
The Asheville community is unique in that there are so many entrepreneurs and small companies filling in niches. We can get locally made seitan from No Evil Foods, beef and pork from Apple Brandy Farms, milk from local farms through Farm to Home Milk, soda from Waynesville Soda Jerks, even chai concentrate from AppalaChai. All of these products are extremely high quality and reasonably priced because these small family-owned companies are willing to do the work and make the sacrifices to make this whole amazing movement in Asheville possible.
What is the background of your restaurant’s name?
The name Blue Dream stems from our love of the Blue Ridge Mountains and our dream to open a restaurant. The term Blue Dream may have other meanings but we’ll let people figure that out on their own…
What ingredient could you not live without?
The ingredient we use the most of is probably our coconut cream. Since the beginning, the Panang curry has been the most popular so now we use a lot of coconut cream every week. Personally, I couldn’t ever live without garlic. My mom’s family has descendants from Naples, Italy so I was raised in a household where there’s never enough garlic!
What is your favorite dish on your menu?
My favorite dish on our menu is probably the Korma. It has a healthy dose of turmeric and a richness that makes it hard to resist. Even though our menu is fairly simple, I like that there is a diverse range of flavors between our curries. Besides the Korma, I’d have to say our Pho is pretty amazing!
What is your favorite dish from a fellow AIR restaurant’s menu?
One of my favorite restaurants in town is Copper Crown. I’d have to say their crispy brussel sprouts are one of the best things I’ve tried since I’ve been in Asheville.
Why did you choose Asheville to open your restaurant?
Early on, we were weighing our options and thinking about opening a restaurant in my hometown of Atlanta. I had visited Asheville several times and fell in love with the scenery and outdoors opportunities around the city and of course the beer. Once we started coming up to Asheville more often we discovered Mountain BizWorks and all of the incredible small businesses that make Asheville a thriving food town. The fact that people try to work together here and there’s a great deal of inclusivity made the decision easy. In the end, the timing was amazing and we found our space right at the right time. The rest is history…
What is your favorite chef’s tool and why?
The biggest difference in our kitchen from other places I’ve worked in terms of speed and efficiency are the Robot Coupes we use to dice onions or do thin slices for pickles. There is something to be said for hand chopping everything but there is also something to be said for happy, productive employees! I’ve just seen so many restaurants put a huge burden on their employees while paying them very little so it was nice that we were able to invest in some basic technology to make their everyday tasks a little easier. Besides that, a good, sharp knife and some healthy taste buds are close seconds!