Ashley Christensen and Vivian Howard

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Ashley Christensen and Vivian Howard Join ‘The Chef’s Table’ at Thrive NC

Chef demonstrations led by the James Beard Foundation are free to all Thrive NC Night I & II attendees

RALEIGH, N.C. (February 20, 2018) – Award-winning North Carolina chefs Ashley Christensen and Vivian Howard will host live cooking demonstrations as part of Thrive NC presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC). The demonstrations will highlight The Chef’s Table experience, a collaboration with the James Beard Foundation (JBF) Impact Programs. Thrive NC will be held May 10-11 in downtown Raleigh’s City Market.

“Our community is so fortunate to have talented chefs, with local roots, like Ashley Christensen and Vivian Howard,” said Reagan Greene Pruitt, Vice President, Integrated Marketing & Community Engagement of Blue Cross NC. “We are excited to showcase their talent and personality through The Chef’s Table in partnership with JBF, including the opportunity for all attendees to see them live in action at Thrive NC. Ashley and Vivian’s commitment to improving their industry and our state aligns with Thrive NC’s focus on our community and how we can thrive together.”

The Chef’s Table includes a series of interactive cooking demonstrations aimed to educate and entertain event attendees while providing up close access to acclaimed chefs. Representatives from JBF will moderate each demonstration.

The JBF Impact Programs train and empower chefs across the country to help advocate for solutions to critical food system issues. The JBF Impact Programs promote a sustainable food system that provides nutritious and delicious food for all.

“We are delighted to bring the work of our JBF Impact Programs to Thrive NC, given the event’s focus on celebrating North Carolina’s rich culinary roots while initiating meaningful conversation around statewide food system challenges,” said Kris Moon, Vice President, James Beard Foundation. “The Chef’s Table we are helping to curate will provide attendees a memorable opportunity to enjoy a live cooking demonstration from award-winning chefs like Ashley Christensen and Vivian Howard, while learning about important topics facing the local food system.”

Christensen, the 2014 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: Southeast, will provide the live chef demonstration on Thrive NC Night II (Friday, May 11).

Since making Raleigh her home, Christensen has pursued a sense of community through food, philanthropy and the development of the city’s downtown neighborhood. After working in some of the Triangle’s top kitchens, Christensen opened Poole’s Diner in 2007. Since then she has opened Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chuck’s, Fox Liquor Bar and Death and Taxes in Raleigh. In addition to her James Beard Award in 2014, she was recognized as Eater’s Chef of the Year in 2017. Christensen has also been nominated as a JBF Award Semifinalist for Outstanding Chef (nationwide) in 2018.

Howard, the star of A Chef’s Life on PBS, will lead the live chef demonstration on Thrive NC Night I (Thursday, May 10). She will also participate in the Thrive NC Summit, a day of meaningful conversation where experts in the field will discuss how our communities can impact some of North Carolina’s most pressing food issues. Howard will provide lunch as part of a presentation for attendees. The Summit will also feature support from JBF.

Born to a family of farmers in Deep Run, NC, Howard is a chef, author and award-winning TV personality. Best known for her personality as featured on A Chef’s Life, she opened Chef & the Farmer in 2006. The restaurant, located in Kinston, NC, illustrates the farm-to-table concept and is known for its creative cooking rooted in North Carolina’s deep traditions.

In 2016, Howard won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Food Personality or Host, as well as a Peabody Award for her work on A Chef’s Life. She has been nominated for the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast six of the past seven years, including 2018.

For more information, including future restaurant, chef and entertainment announcements, visit Tickets to Thrive NC presented by Blue Cross NC go on sale Tuesday, Feb. 27.