Laurey Masterton: a pioneer who kept pushing

When it was time to choose a spot to have my western NC book-release party in 2011, I immediately said: Laurey’s in Asheville. The cafe, run by chef and owner Laurey Masterton, embodied everything I love about the local foods movement. Laurey was committed, genuine, and friendly. She showed folks that farm-fresh food could be affordable. She also pushed for gay rights and for a living-wage campaign in Asheville. She was a big cyclist, my other passion, and she lived life fully, in part because she’d defied death many times during an almost lifelong battle with cancer.

This week, the disease got the better of her, at age 59, with a rapid ferociousness that was not expected by family and friends.  You can read her obituary here. Food writer Jonathan Ammons wrote a lovely tribute to her. Below is my entree for Laurey’s Cafe from the book, and I’ve written about her in other venues as well. Laurey, you remain an inspiration!! I hope the awesome restaurant you started carries on!

Laurey’s Catering and Gourmet to Go

Laurey’s Catering and Gourmet to Go is the kind of place you’d want to support even if the food wasn’t outstanding. Luckily, it is. Owner Laurey Masterton, a cancer survivor whose often touted motto is “Don’t postpone joy,” serves up fresh meals in her lively café in downtown Asheville. And, yes, she runs a full-service catering company. Masterton works with a long list of local farmers to incorporate local ingredients and products at every turn, an admirable feat for a high-volume business. She was a charter member of the county’s Living Wage Campaign, and in 2009 she rode her bicycle cross-country to raise money for cancer research. We’re happy to support her causes, especially when she’s doing the cooking.



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