Chef Jeremy Ashby Ten Months “Inn”

Friends Drift Inn – Real Life A Baby Boomer in Appalachia

Chef Jeremy Ashby in the heirloom vegetable garden Friends Drift Inn

Hanging with Chef Jeremy

Ashby, that’s what I have always called him. I don’t know why, it just seems to fit my own sensibilities. To the world he is Chef Jeremy, the executive chef of Azur Restaurant and Patio in Lexington, Ky and co-host of WLAP’s Sunny Side Up Radio show. He advocates Farmers Markets. He promotes Kentucky Aquaculture. He is the poster boy for local foods, but delights in pairing them with global cuisine.

Chef Jeremy Ashby is my friend. There is something very special about this man with the boyish grin. He makes me laugh. He makes me think. Long conversations have included the trouble with food deserts, the blessings of heirloom vegetables, biotech, and the loathing of waffles. Sometimes we are at odds, sometimes so like minded we finish each other sentences.

Chef Jeremy Ashby cohost of Sunny Side Up Radio

It has been ten months since I met this kid, this thirty-three year old (well almost) who juggles the responsibilities of restaurateur, local food activist, media personality, husband and father. When I turned off the recorder after our first interview, I knew the story was not over.

Chef Ashby's Appetizers Woodford Reserve Bourbon Guest Chef Series

I’ve watched him bounce like Tigger in the Azur kitchen pushing plates through the window with beads of sweat on his brow. I’ve seen him wow audiences with his culinary skills at the Incredible Food Show and at Woodford Reserve’s Chef Series.

I’ve observed him as he walked quietly through my garden, enjoying the mountain solitude. He nods with approval as I show him tomatoes grown from the Pine Mountain Settlement School seed swap we attended back in the spring.

Chef Jeremy Ashby with Bill Best Heirloom Seed Saver

We talk of Bill Best, a champion of heirloom seed saving who’s passionate talk at the Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference rattled the rafters.

Last week, Chef Jeremy came to the big red barn to cook as a guest on Friends Drift Inn cable television show. We giggled and fired up the cast iron skillets. It was not Martha Stewart, but we sure had fun! It does not get much more down home than fried green tomatoes and frog legs. Giggles.

Recipes from Episode 5 Friends Drift Inn on Pike TV

I wrote a story about his visit for our local paper. You can read it here. As I view the finished video roll, it hits me, how far both of us have come in the last ten months. I do not even know if I would still be writing, still be blogging, still be doing anything beyond the edges of my garden if it were not for Chef Jeremy Ashby’s encouragement.

Joyce Pinson Friends Drift Inn and Chef Jeremy Ashby of Azur Restaurant and Patio

We have not solved the world’s problems yet, but we are working on it.

The story of Chef Jeremy Ashby is still being written. Stick around for the next chapter.

Click for The YouTube Version of the July 2012 Episode of Friends Drift Inn with Chef Jeremy Ashby. If you are local, catch Friends Drift Inn with me, Joyce Pinson, on Channel 99 Pike TV.

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About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.