An Asheville culinary staple, Early Girl Eatery, introduced a new executive chef and two new restaurant openings on the eve of its 20th anniversary. Chef Hassan Aberchah brings an international culinary perspective to the farm-to-table restaurant.
Chef Aberchah has a degree in Culinary and Management from Institut Superieur d’Hôtellerie et de Restauration Chrifia Marrakech, Marrakech, Morocco. He currently lives in the Charlotte area with his spouse. Prior to his recent work as an executive chef, he worked at Google and Cisco where he managed the daily production, preparation and presentation of food. He later served as an executive chef for Capital One where he developed a delivered family meal program. In 2016, he founded a private chef company where he works with high profile clients to design and prepare meals. He also created curriculums and taught cooking classes in a variety of cuisines including Moroccan, French, Italian and Spanish.
Classically trained in the cuisine of Morocco, Italy, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, Chef Aberchah has little experience in Southern cuisine. This will not stop him from elevating Early Girl, assures owner Jesson Gil, who was impressed by the chef’s passion and background.
“I interviewed a lot of people from Las Vegas to here,” Gil said to the Asheville Citizen-Times. “There are a lot of chefs who are ‘rip the bag open and pour it into a fryer’ kind of persons and they’re executive chefs.”
Rather, Gil says Chef Aberchah had the same fresh-food philosophy as Early Girl. Chef Aberchah is upholding traditional Southern dishes on the menu but plans to incorporate his own flair, including a wide range of international flavors. His rotating menu includes weekly cocktail, entree and dessert specials. Chef Aberchah’s past rotating dishes include Black Lentils Panzanella Salad, Brined-deep Fried Cornish Hen, Roasted Tofu and Ratatouille Bowl and Cast Iron Pumpkin Spice Cornbread. Drink specials include a Pear Martini and a Maple Old Fashioned. Early Girl serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day with specials changing every two weeks.
Two new locations are opening in the next year in Charlotte and South Asheville. The 1515 South Tryon St, Charlotte location is slated to open in winter 2021 while the South Asheville location will open at an unspecified time at 1378 Hendersonville Rd Suite A, located next to The Fresh Market. The South Asheville location has an enclosed patio.
Early Girl Eatery strives to incorporate fresh, local ingredients to construct delicious dishes from scratch since it opened 20 years ago at 8 Wall St. in Downtown Asheville. Since then, the eatery expanded to a second location in West Asheville at 444 Haywood Road.
“Since 2001 we’ve been combining the best local ingredients to create delicious farm to table food. Thank you for allowing us to serve you for 20 years,” says Early Girl Eatery on their website. “More than Made from Scratch® guides us in every food decision. Sure we make all our food in house, but we go a step further to source the highest quality ingredients. Our recipes reflect our belief that by making Local, Organic, Seasonal, or fresh ingredients our first choice whenever possible that we are serving the absolute best food to our guests”
Their farm-to-table brand celebrates foods made with local ingredients to support the local economy. Currently, the two Asheville locations source 32 local farmers and vendors. Early Girl aims to raise the number of local vendors to 100 with the opening of the two new locations.
“Small farms protect and enrich our culinary and agricultural heritage, sowing heirloom seeds and raising heritage breeds that enliven our tables with the same food traditions that nourished our parents, grandparents, and generations before,” their website says.
Early Girl Eatery is open from 8 am to 8 pm at all locations for dine-in, carry out and delivery. To view the menu and order takeout, go to earlygirleatery.com.