Derek Herre was one of our very first friends we made in Asheville. We met him one night while out at dinner at John Fleer’s The Rhubarb, a farm-to-table restaurant located in Pack’s Square of Downtown Asheville. It didn’t take long for us to realize that Derek had a unique story to tell.

In this episode, we chat with Derek on how and why he moved to Asheville (spoiler: he’s lived in one of the coldest, largest states in America) and how he worked his way up to becoming Chef de Cuisine at one of the city’s top restaurants.

Here’s What You’ll Learn

  • How Derek went from working as a “swamper” (aka dishwasher) to becoming head chef
  • Derek’s top-secret Asheville restaurants, eateries, and more (trust us: he knows the inside scoop)
  • His recommended cooking tools, books, and advice for aspiring chefs
  • Derek’s thoughts on making money and quality of life in the restaurant industry

We hope you enjoy this conversation with Derek!

Show Notes

Follow Derek on Instagram

The Rhubarb: Website, Facebook, Instagram

Retro Fit Asheville (Derek’s 90’s clothing pop-up store): Facebook and Instagram – An online job posting board featuring work in really cool places (this is how Derek found a job in Alaska).

Derek’s favorite places to eat in Asheville:

  • Cucina24 for elevated Italian and authentic Neapolitan pizza
  • Burger Gang Pop-up at Broadways (Sunday’s only) and Shakey’s (Tuesdays) for burgers
  • Over Easy Cafè for breakfast
  • Taqueria Muñoz for authentic tacos
  • A Taste of El Salvador for authentic pupusa

Derek’s Recommended Cooking Tools:

  • Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller – Recommended cookbook for learning the basics
  • Metal Monkey Knives – An Australian-based knife maker, Tobi Bockholt makes every knife by hand and can design it to the customers’ specification (for example, Derek has a customized hybrid butcher’s knife).
  • For those who are just starting out with cooking, Derek recommends picking up some affordable Kiwi Chef’s Knives, along with a high-quality knife sharpener.

And the shampoo that Derek swears by (don’t ask…): MoNat – Derek says it makes his hair incredibly smooth and soft.

Music by Commonwealth Choir

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Making It in Asheville is a podcast where we go behind the scenes with artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs in Asheville. We learn about what they’re making and how they’re making it in Asheville.

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