chef-name: Katie Button

In 2007, Button, a Cornell University graduate with a master’s degree from L’Ecole Centrale in Paris, France, was about to start a prestigious PhD program in Neuroscience. Instead she left her previous career in pursuit of passion, life, and happiness. She sought out a job at a restaurant called Cafe Atlantico/Minibar in Washington DC one of José Andrés’ amazing restaurants. Button describes it as fate that brought her to the doorstep of a José Andrés restaurant. It was there that she fell in love with restaurants, food, cooking, and Félix Meana, a service manager from elBulli, Ferran Adrià´s famous restaurant in Spain.

After some time working with Johnny Iuzzini at Jean Georges in New York and then at the Bazaar by José Andrés in Los Angeles, she finally made it. With only a couple of years professional cooking experience, Katie entered a 7 month stage at the best restaurant in the world. That experience changed her life. In January 2010, immediately after finishing her internship at elBulli, she moved to Asheville, North Carolina to focus all of her attention on opening her own restaurant with her husband Félix, her mother Elizabeth Button, and father Ted Button. They have since developed the parent company Heirloom Hospitality Group and opened their first restaurant, Cúrate, a bar de tapas A second concept, Nightbell, is scheduled to open December 2013.

Since the opening of Cúrate in March 2011 Chef Button has been featured in numerous national publications such as: Southern Living, Food & Wine, Food Arts, Martha Stewart Living, Robb Report, Departures, and The Local Palate. GQ Magazine, March 2013 namedCúrate one of the “Twelve Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2013”.

Button has been chosen as a 2012 & 2013 James Beard Rising Star Chef Semi-Finalist, nominated for Food and Wine magazine’s People’s Choice Best New Chef 2012 & 2013, and won the Robb Report Culinary Master Competition where she presented a dinner to 50 judges, besting the four other chefs nominated by Eric Ripert, Masa Takayama, Charlie Palmer and Michael Mina. In January 2013 she was bestowed the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Golden Whisk Award, recognizing excellence in the kitchen and honoring a woman whose passion and excellence as a chef or cook serves as a role model for others.