KATIE BUTTON | ASHEVILLE, NC
CHEF: CÚRATE TAPAS BAR, BUTTON & CO. BAGELS
Chef Katie Button was born in the South, raised in the North, and educated in Europe. Now, she has returned to her roots as chef and owner of three unique restaurant concepts in Asheville, North Carolina: Cúrate Tapas Bar and Button & Co. Bagels.
Chef Button pursued science degrees at Cornell and earned her master’s in biomedical engineering in Paris, France. She then changed course and devoted her pursuits to the culinary field, working for José Andrés at his restaurants in the United States and then for Ferran Adrià at the world-renowned elBulli in Spain.
After meeting her husband Félix Meana, Chef Button moved to Asheville and created Katie Button Restaurants – formerly, Heirloom Hospitality Group – with Meana and her parents in 2011. Together, they opened Cúrate in 2011. The classic Spanish tapas restaurant received instant attention and accolades, from mentions in The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times to local awards and press. Katie Button and team has since opened two more restaurants, Nightbell in 2014 and Button & Co. Bagels in 2018, both in downtown Asheville.
Chef Button was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Rising Star Chef award in 2012 & 2013, a nominee in 2014, semi-finalist for Best Chefs in America in 2015 and a nominee for Best Chefs Southeast 2018 and 2019. Chef Button was one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs of 2015 and hosted an international television series, The Best Chefs in the World. Chef Button is a member of Williams-Sonoma’s 2017 Chefs’ Collective.
Button remains dedicated to causes beyond solely culinary pursuits. Her dedication to an eco-friendly approach to restaurant ownership was lauded by Grist.org, and all three restaurants are living wage certified and work with local companies and organizations to recycle, compost, and reduce food waste and environmental impact. Among other charitable events, Chef Button cooked for a Human Rights Campaign fundraiser in Washington, D.C., a Chef Action Network summit in Asheville, and works locally with Chefs at Welcome Table and Green Opportunities’ Kitchen Ready Program. She has also attended the James Beard Foundation Boot Camp for Policy and Change, an educational program with Chefs Action Network for select chefs from across the country.
Chef Button published her first cookbook in October 2016. The book, Cúrate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen, celebrates the broad appeal of Spanish cooking and shows readers how to recreate and adapt classic dishes in the home kitchen using seasonal local ingredients.