Ashley Ware Garland is an AB Tech Culinary graduate who has been crossing the fence between the back and front of the house in Asheville restaurants since 2000. She is currently a line cook at Bacchus Bistro in historic Marshall and a local exchange coordinator for WCR (Women Chefs and Restauranteurs). She also volunteers for Girls on the Run, an after-school program dedicated to helping young girls stay active and healthy by encouraging exercising and eating well. Garland also created Zouga Nougat with partner Kether Smith, manufactured in Asheville at Blue Ridge Food Ventures and sold during the holiday season. “It’s reminiscent of the French confection,” Garland says, “with a southern flair.” Garland took the time out of her undoubtedly busy schedule as a volunteer, chef and mother to answer some questions for Bold Life.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Bliss occurs in fleeting moments. One of my favorite quotes is by Anais Nin: “The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for one moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.”
What is your greatest fear? To grow numb, uninspired, unobservant.
What is your inspiration? Evie Mae Garland, 25 pounds of wonder.
Which person, alive or dead, do you most admire? My tenacious grandmother, Myrtle Poe Russell. Forbidden from going to school, she would sneak out the window to catch a boat to the mainland and then catch a wagon to get there. An amazing cook, who raised five kids, then reinvented herself in her 50’s as a night nurse, lying about her age to make the cutoff. My earliest memory is making pie dough with her.
What is your guiltiest pleasure? A stolen drag off a friend’s cigarette on a night out on the town.
What is your current state of mind? Relaxed. I’m sitting down. It’s such a great feeling after being on my feet in the kitchen at work, then coming home to mommy shift. I sit down at 8pm.
What is the quality you most like in a person? Optimism. Openness.
What is the quality you least like in a person? Lack of work ethic.
Which talent would you most like to have? A musical one. I’m not giving up on that one though.
Which habit would you most like to be rid of? My kitchen mouth! My two year old is picking up on it and using it in the most inopportune places.
What is your favorite culinary tool? The rubber scraper I keep in my back pocket. My New Zealander friend called it a corn. Indispensable.
What is your idea of hell on earth? Separated from nature, in a suburban development that includes “everything.”
What qualities do you most value in your friends? Their creativity, talents, spunk!
What food could you not live without? Ice cream. Pistachio, and mint chocolate chip especially.
What is your motto? “When you don’t know what to do, do the work in front of you.” I think that was Thomas Edison. It sounds like him.