Emma was born in Santa Rosa, California but moved to western North Carolina as a young child, where she has happily called home since! Once moving to Asheville, she attended high school at the Asheville School - a private boarding school where she met people from all around the world. Through making those close connections, she learned about different cultures and the food from across the globe. Emma started her education at Western Carolina University, majoring in Nutrition and Dietetic, but her love for cooking redirected her to culinary school at Asheville Buncombe Technical College - known for its respected culinary program. She was invited to their competitive culinary team, consisting of five females who won first place at both the State and Regional competitions, leading to winning 4th place at the National competition in Orlando, Florida. Through the years, Emma has worked under excellent chefs, including Old Edwards Inn and Spa/Club in Highlands, NC - a Relais and Chateaux property, The Cliffs at Walnut Cove, and of course Balsam Mountain Preserve under Chef Edwin Bloodworth and Chef Michael Swann. When Emma is not cooking, she enjoys exploring the culinary experience that Asheville offers with her wife and two dogs.
Michael discovered his passion for food while spending time in the kitchen with his mother. This later developed into working in restaurants and attending culinary school at Johnson & Wales University. He graduated magna cum laude in Culinary Arts in 2009. His love of the region begins with farms and fields of western North Carolina and their abundant harvest of organic ingredients.
Michael went on to work with award-winning Chef Shane Ingram at Four Square, a James Beard- nominated restaurant. Chef Ingram passed his mentorships from Chefs Charlie Trotter, Patrick O’Connell, and Emeril Lagasse onto Michael in a farm-to-table format. After two years at Four Square, Michael moved to Raleigh to assist opening two restaurants for James Beard and award-winning Chef Ashley Christensen. Before coming to direct the program at Balsam Mountain, Michael was at Chef Sean Brock’s acclaimed avant-garde restaurant, McCrady's, in Charleston, SC.
Contact us today to schedule a visit and see for yourself what it means to spend time with the ones you love most at Balsam Mountain Preserve