The inaugural NC Folk A’Fare is sponsored by:
Charles Aris, Inc. and Womble Bond Dickinson.
The NC Folk A’Fare is an exciting new culinary event that celebrates the tantalizing global cuisines created by chefs in the Greensboro community. On Wednesday, September 4th, we will convene over 15 restaurants from Greensboro’s diverse community to raise funds for the NC Folk Festival by presenting signature dishes and showcasing our city’s rich and diverse dining scene. This is an exclusive chance to experience great eats, meet the chefs contributing to our culinary landscape, and support North Carolina’s fastest growing, most culturally dynamic Festival, all under one tent!
· Ticket sales benefit the NC Folk Festival.
· The NC Folk A’Fare will take place on Wednesday, September 4th from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. under the Festival’s Lawn Stage at 240 Commerce Place in downtown Greensboro.
· Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at Eventbrite.
Limited tickets are available.
Act now to reserve your spot at the inaugural year of this special culinary event!
In most cultures, love is shown through food. For Jaryan Hammood, owner of Babylon Restaurant, bringing the same joy in eating to his customers that he experiences, is his first priority.
Jaryan savors the memories of trips back to Iraq where he is welcomed home with tables laden with platters piled high with roasted lamb on beds of scented rice, the butterflied, grilled fish seasoned with tamarind and turmeric that is the national dish of Iraq, and heaps of meat-stuffed vegetables called dolmas, all dishes showcasing a cuisine that dates back 10,000 years. The joy in communing over good food and conversation is universal – and it is this feeling that Jaryan most desires to serve up.
Babylon’s menu features both Iraqi and Yemeni favorites, but they are also happy to cook up special requests for anyone nostalgic for a taste of home.
Koshary, an Egyptian & Middle Eastern catering company, is run by husband and wife, Sam and Samah Helmi. Spending her childhood in Egypt, then moving to Kuwait for her father’s work, Samah made friends with (and delighted in exploring the cuisines of) numerous groups of people in the bustling international community in Kuwait – citizens from all around the Gulf, Palestinian, Iranian, Indian, and of course Kuwaiti – falling in love with the foods of each their lands.
Widely considered Egypt’s national dish, Koshary, a delicious combination of rice, lentils, chickpeas and pasta, topped with a spiced tomato sauce and caramelized fried onions, embodies the many cultures that have passed through Egypt throughout history. Just like the background of the signature dish that their name is derived from, Samah’s recipes combine her passion for cultural and culinary exploration and 20 years of experience in the kitchen to produce delectable dishes and desserts for everything from family gatherings to corporate parties.
Chez Genèse has quickly become a Greensboro favorite with their French-inspired menu, delicious in its simple elegance, and their unique business model, focusing on providing work opportunities for intellectually and developmentally challenged people.
Owner Kathryn Hubert is most fulfilled when she sees her staff and guests interacting and enjoying their experience. She strongly believes that good food brings people together and enjoys watching connections occur and barriers come down over a meal.
Kathryn’s favorite comfort food? “Macaroni & Cheese; what’s not to love?”
Pho Hien Vuong, a family-run Vietnamese restaurant, is now in the hands of the next generation, as Trang Trinh and her brother Binh run the day-to-day business. Their mother, who started the restaurant in 1996, still provides the recipes and marinades that attracts new faces and loyal customers year after year. Binh’s wife, My, also hails from a family of Vietnamese restaurateurs, lending even more experience to this new era of the restaurant.
Like so many people already hooked on the Trinh family’s popular Vietnamese noodle soup, Trang’s favorite comfort food is pho. The beef broth is rich in aromatics, traditionally served with slices of slightly rare beef, rice noodles, herbs and wedges of lime. Trang recommends this soothing meal as a cold remedy, for winter and rainy days, and any time you need a little comfort. Decades of tradition and familial love condense into each steaming bowl of this signature soup.
John Horn, owner and chef at Da Reggae Cafe, began his cooking education at home in Jamaica. Despite years of classical culinary school training, his largest influence is still his mother’s cooking. John fondly remembers the Jamaican-style curry chicken of his childhood as he cooks this customer favorite. He delights in sharing the joy this classic Jamaican dish brings to so many. Not one to be idle for long, John’s 17 years in the restaurant profession is serving him well, as his business continues to grow and he works on new ideas of how to bring the flavors and vibes of Jamaica to Greensboro.
John’s favorite meal? Any meal that is done well, in a beautiful setting. He enjoys meals as an entire experience and strives to provide the same for his clientele.
At 17, co-owner of Taaza Bistro, Chellappa Yasin was already interested in cooking. His time in culinary school furthered this passion and locked in his desire to use traditional cooking methods to produce the flavors from his Indian homeland. A restaurant experience that is a playground for all five senses, Taaza Bistro also boasts the only charcoal tandoor ovens around, imparting an extra layer of flavor to their clay oven specials.
Among Yasin’s favorite dishes to cook are dosas (a large savory crepe made from fermented batter), chicken tikka masala (chunks of chicken in a slightly spicy tomato and cream sauce) and biryani (a flavorful mixed rice dish), but when it comes to his favorite comfort food: tacos. Yasin is passionate about the delicious blends of spices and aromatics involved in Indian food, but when it’s time to kick back, he reaches for this popular Mexican street food to satisfy his cravings.
For Reto Biaggi, owner and head chef of Reto’s Kitchen Catering, his passion for cooking began at just 12 years of age. Born in Switzerland, and growing up in France, under the tutelage of both his grandmother and mother, Chef Reto developed a love for both cooking and entertaining. Although Chef Reto brings his Swiss and French upbringing to the table, his globally-inspired menus revolve around the ingredients, the biggest influences in his creations.
Happiest when he’s cooking, Chef Reto’s 30 years in the kitchen, brings joy and fresh, seasonal flavors to events of all sizes in the Triad.
Toshi Yoshida, owner and chef at Toshi’s Café, vividly recalls his first foray into cooking. Obsessed with learning how to cook his favorite dish, Kara-Age, Japanese-style, lightly-coated and fried chicken chunks, Toshi asked a chef he was working for in Japan to teach him. The first try was a bust, but after many attempts, he mastered it. When he arrived in the US, he was surprised to find Kara-Age was rarely on menus at Japanese restaurants when it was such a popular item in Japan. When opening his own Café, it was obvious that this would be part of his menu, along with a couple of his other favorite comfort foods; udon and ramen noodles. Toshi’s Café also serves up sushi and sandwiches, smoothies and coffee, hoping to turn his favorites into favorites for others too.
When is Toshi happiest at work? When he sees customers return dishes to the counter with a smile on their face.
For Chef Jianjun Li of Hometown Delicious, cooking is in his blood. His grandfather was a renowned chef in China, these culinary skills were passed to Li’s mother, then down to him. Working in hospitality for many years, Li eventually opened his own restaurant in China. Now with 30 years of cooking experience, he brings to Greensboro not only the Henan cuisine of his home province, but also signature dishes of the diverse regions of China, where flavors, featured ingredients and levels of spice change from coast to mountains, colder northern climates to subtropical areas in the south.
Chef Li delights in presenting these flavors from all over China to those who are yearning for a little taste of their own hometown, people that return time and again to savor their favorite dishes, and to those who are experiencing these flavor combinations for the first time.
Family-owned Lao Restaurant & Bar, was a natural venture for owners Vonne Keobouala and her brother Matt Lothakoun to take on. Owners of two Thai restaurants in the area, Lao focuses on the Laotian recipes they grew up on, which are more difficult to find here. Their mother sold food to provide for their upbringing and it’s her recipes and palate that guide the menu of Lao Restaurant & Bar today.
Vonne’s favorite comfort food? Khao Pick Sen, the Laotian take on chicken noodle soup, that bridge between all cultures.
Gabriel Vizcaya, Head Chef and nephew to owners Manuel and Lisa Lopez of Blue Agave Mexican Grill, grew up in Mexico City and spent many hours watching and helping his mother cook traditional Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, chile rellenos, and homemade salsas. When he came to the US in 1997, he went to work in a Mexican restaurant where he began to learn more about cooking in a restaurant setting, continuing to develop his passion and perfecting his skills in Mexican cooking.
Gabriel’s favorite dish to cook? Blue Agave Fajitas, which consist of a chicken breast topped with cheese and bacon, served over fresh sautéed green and red peppers, tomatoes and onions. This colorful dish is served sizzling at the table. Gabriel most enjoys seeing customer reactions when they see the dish. “That makes it all worth it!”
Annah Awartani, the owner and chef behind Zaytoon’s delicious products, does not just care about flavor when it comes to her creations, but also places great emphasis on using local and non-GMO products, as she feels that food should be used to nourish and heal and not be a burden on our environment. Learning to cook from her mother, Annah has taken those recipes and not only embodied the essence of her homeland, Palestine, but in her 19 years in the food business created many of her own, creating a loyal following. Her love and nurturing care of her customers is evident, as she strives to use food as medicine, in both the goods she sells at the Greensboro Downtown Curb Market and Deep Roots Market, and as a health coach.
What’s Annah’s favorite comfort food? Falafel. There are many variations from country to country in the middle east, but for Annah, nothing makes her happier than cooking up and eating a batch of her own falafel recipe.
Margarita Delgado and son Manny have created a little oasis for customers seeking authentic Salvadoran recipes, American soups, sandwiches and smoothies, and the coziness of a neighborhood hang-out.
Margarita grew up cooking with her grandmother, learning from her how authentic Salvadoran food should be prepared, using traditional methods and the best ingredients to make meals from scratch. Grinding corn for masa at a community mill, at an early age, Margarita would request that her grandmother save a small amount of the masa for her to make empanadas to sell in their neighborhood. More than just an entrepreneur though, Margarita is most satisfied when she uses her more than 35 years of experience to make people happy, to heal their ailments and sooth their souls with the love she pours into her cooking.
As the eldest of 7 children, co-owner and Head Chef of Embur Fire Fusion, Jorge Castillo learned how to cook at an early age, often placed in charge of taking care of and cooking for his younger siblings. It was during Chef Jorge’s first job that that his aptitude in the kitchen led to his being sent to culinary school. He delights in bringing notes of his classical training to the traditional Peruvian recipes of his homeland.
What’s Chef Jorge’s favorite time at work? The peaceful time after everyone has left for the day, calm and order has been restored, where he can reflect upon the day’s events and prepare for the next day’s delicious challenges.
George Lopez, owner and chef of Baby Bolo’z, has led a colorful life, always circling back to food as a key to his happiness. A first generation Cuban-American, Lopez’s passion for cooking was ignited by his father, an excellent chef who loved to share his delicious meals with everyone. For Lopez, watching his father create in the kitchen was “like magic”. He was also greatly influenced by his grandmother, and continues her tradition of using only natural ingredients, no salt, time, patience and plenty of love. Growing up in NJ, Lopez’s first job at 14 was working in an Italian deli, where he fell in love with the art of food. Wanting to expand his knowledge and create his own flare cuisine, Lopez worked in restaurants from New Jersey down to Florida, from the East Coast to the West, creating flavor-packed, all-natural meals that earned him recognition among entertainment stars and body builders.
After 40 years, he is still happiest when he’s in the kitchen, creating his own brand of magic. Settled in Greensboro for over 10 years now, he brings his all-natural, salt-free marinades and salsas to the Triad.