Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ninth Annual Asheville Artisan Bread Bakers Festival to be held March 23, 2013

The 9th Asheville Artisan Bread Bakers' Festival will feature the talents of three of the most respected bakers in the United States – Craig Ponsford, Peter Reinhart, and Lionel Vatinet. The March 23, 2013 all-day event begins with a bread tasting and sale at the Magnolia Building on the A-B Tech campus in Asheville, NC from 10am to 2pm.  Hands-on workshops and lectures will take place from 9am to 6pm at the same location.

The theme of this year's festival is “Artisan Bread from Local Grain and Local Flour”; this unique festival, the first of its kind in the southeast, has been overwhelmed with attendees for the past eight years. More than a dozen local artisan bakers will be showing, sampling and selling their bread this year.

According to Peter Reinhart, “Asheville and its surrounding area, with a very small population, supports more artisan bakeries than most states. The bakeries are all small but truly artisan in the purest sense of the word."

Craig Ponsford graduated from the California Culinary Academy with top honors and opened Artisan  Bakers with his family in Sonoma California in 1992. In 1996 his breads won the Gold medal at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie in Paris. He then went on to coach the US Team to victory in 1999. He has coached each U.S. team since and served as U.S. judge at the 2002 and 2005 Coupe du Monde and 2007 Louis LeSaffe Cup held in Argentina. He currently is an instructor at the Culinary Institute of American in St. Helena, California and has his own bakery/innovation center, Ponsford’s Place, in his home town of San Rafael.

Peter Reinhart, currently chef-on-assignment at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, is the author of eight bread cook books, three of which have won the James Beard Award. He is a widely respected teacher, author, and consultant. For a more complete listing of his accomplishments, see

Lionel Vatinet, a French master baker, teacher, baking consultant, author, and owner of La Farm Bakery in Cary, NC is one of America's most respected experts on artisan bread. He has dedicated his life to sharing his knowledge, consulting for bakeries and training bakers worldwide. In 1995, Vatinet was the founding instructor at the San Francisco Baking Institute, the first school of its kind in the US. Vatinet has consulted for many of the most renowned bread brands in America, including La Brea Bread, Acme, Zabar’s and Panera Bread, and in 2012, Saveur magazine recognized La Farm Bakery as one of the “20 Great American Bread Bakeries.”  In November 2013 Vatinet will introduce his first artisan bread book, “A Passion for Bread: Lessons from a Master Baker - Seven Steps to Making Great Bread.”

For bread-enthusiasts who want to improve their baking skills, there will be workshops and lectures at A-B Tech taught by Ponsford, Reinhart, Vatinet, and several local bakers. Tickets are required for all the workshops.The festival is being sponsored by the local bakeries, the Bread Bakers Guild of America, Slow Food Asheville, Lindley Mills (an organic flour mill in Graham, NC), the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, and the A-B Tech Community College.

For more information contact Steve Bardwell at 828 683-2902 or The festival web page is at

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