Demystifying Local

Charlotte has a diverse and growing food scene with a strong current of local flavors begin shown and celebrated. But access to local for those that don’t have an established network can be elusive. With so much local products to take advantage of, how do you reach the producers. Here from this diverse panel of local food supporters and hear their solutions from access to price point. Together they will demystify the system of local food in the Piedmont.


Kristin Wile
Editor – Charlotte Magazine

Kristen Wile is the editor of Charlotte magazine. She took the position of editor in 2017 after nearly three years as the publication’s senior editor, covering the city’s restaurants and turning the magazine into an indispensable and respected resource for diners.



Matthew Krenz
Executive Chef – The Asbury at The Dunhill Hotel

During summers with his grandparents in Georgia, Matthew Krenz spent days pickling, canning, and preserving vegetables and fruits. These memories would later reinforce his commitment to local food communities built around farmers and artisan suppliers. After training at CPCC, Matt set his sights on fine dining and making local economies stronger through food and farming. Today, he serves as Executive Chef at The Asbury and as Culinary Director for The Dunhill Hotel in Uptown Charlotte, N.C. Chef Matthew’s blend of Southern and Modern dishes receive accolades from guests and food critics alike. An advocate for sustainability and responsible sourcing, Krenz raises cattle in his spare time. His family owns Krenz Ranch, a boutique beef operation in New Salem, N.C. This same ranch supplies all of the beef served at The Asbury.

Alyssa Wilen
Executive Chef / Owner – Chef Alyssa’a Kitchen

A native Charlottean, Alyssa Wilen has been involved with cooking nearly their entire life. A 2005 graduate of the Art Institute of Charlotte, her professional career has taken her to Italy and several restaurants in Charlotte that range from upscale restaurants, a country club, and to small intimate dining. In 2013, she opened Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen in South End. Focusing on healthy, local, and sustainable ingredients Alyssa teaches hands-on cooking classes covering a variety of cuisines and ability levels. She hosts interactive kids culinary camps during the summer and throughout the school year. Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen was named Best Cooking Class by Charlotte Magazine in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and Best Cooking Camp. Top 9 in the United States by In 2017 The Mecklenburg Times named her one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte.

Wild Turkey Farms Farmer/Owner Lee Menius ... and friend.
Lee Menius
Farmer/Owner – Wild Turkey Farms | Carolina Craft Butchery

Lee Menius is the owner of Wild Turkey Farms in China Grove and Carolina Craft Butchery in Davidson. He has been direct marketing meats for 20 years through farm sales, farmers markets, restaurants, and retail shops. Lee has served as a consultant to many small farms and businesses in the meat industry helping them implement production and marketing techniques to develop a successful business.

Jesse Leadbetter
Owner – Freshlist

Jesse Leadbetter founded Freshlist in 2013 with the mission of cultivating a better food system in Charlotte and beyond. After spending countless hours working with farmers and chefs to gain a better understanding of the challenges they face, he and his business partners began developing technology, infrastructure, and systems to streamline the process of getting local ingredients into restaurants. In 2018, he plans to launch a local food home delivery service in Charlotte and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Micheal Spencer
Chef de Cuisine – Fork

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