Twelve years ago, Mary Roberts was living the American dream. She had a well-paying corporate job, a home in the country and a new man in her life. Then, like many Americans in the past decade, she saw that dream life suddenly turned upside-down. Roberts was fortunate to quickly find her feet again, only this time they were planted firmly in the soil … at her Windcrest Farm.
PCG Member Profile
Elizabeth Anne Dover was a student at Davidson College, studying towards becoming a diplomat. Instead, she got Carolina clay on her hands. “I saw this PBS special on vineyards, and that they were the new and coming thing,” she says today. “I like challenges, and it sounded like my sort of lifestyle. I love being outside. I love living with nature.”
To look at the large, beefy hands of cheesemaker Zack Gadberry, you’d never guess them capable of pulling and wrapping the thin, delicate strands of mozzarella to make up a round of burrata. About 400 times every week, Gadberry plunges those hands into near-boiling water to form the popular little cheesy pouches found all over Charlotte. From farmers market stands to local retailers to some of the finest dining in town, Uno Alla Volta cheese has stolen its way onto our plates and into our hearts …
Chef Greg Collier and his food have a lot in common. Both seem straightforward at first glance: breakfast means eggs, grits, potatoes, sausage. Collier, a formidable presence manning the grill in his t-shirt and half apron, means plate after plate of simple, hearty food that won’t break the bank. But in both cases, you’d be missing the point if you looked no further.
Let’s get one thing clear: being a farmer was not Dani Rowland’s dream. She grew up a South Charlotte suburban girl with parents hailing from New York City. Flash forward to March 2016, as the slight, energetic Rowland leaves her last remaining hourly job to devote herself full-time to the success of Rowland’s Row Farm in Cabarrus County.
When Matt Martin arrived in Charlotte in 2013, he had a specific plan in mind. He approached his new job at Fern, Flavors of the Garden as a stepping stone. Two years later, instead of simply adding a vegetarian notch to his chef belt, he has embraced this career path fully, remaining at Fern, now as Executive Chef, at the ripe old age of 25.
PCG Member Caroline Delaney’s slight build and shy smile might lull you into thinking she’s just the office manager at Muddy River Distillery. After all, she was firmly settled into a career as an accountant when husband Rob decided to license his hobby into a legal distillery. “It was going to be his thing,” she recalls. “That’s why we didn’t really talk about it when we got married…and then I got dragged into it.”
Chef Paul Verica frequently sports a Philadelphia Eagles ballcap that proclaims both his origins and one of his non-food obsessions. When it comes to his work, he has a humble streak a mile wide. “It’s the farmers,” he says, when asked what makes the North Carolina Piedmont region worthy of his talents. “Everything we do is first and foremost driven by the ingredients.”
Prepared meals are nothing new. Meal delivery services aren’t that groundbreaking either. But when Amber Lewis launched modPALEO in 2011, she became an inadvertent food business pioneer. “Nobody gave me a book,” she says of her business model …
It’s hard to fit Megan Lambert neatly into a category. Senior Instructor at Johnson & Wales, Pastry Chef, Nutritionist, volunteer, small business owner. Yet these titles all emerged from an early drive to share good, healthy food.