Laurey Masterton, a beloved Asheville chef and restaurant owner known for her years-long public battle against cancer, wasn’t feeling well. She was undergoing chemotherapy, and a bitter January cold spell refused to loosen its grip. Inside Masterton’s small home, a creative team had assembled to film Masterton interacting with a puppet for a video series highlighting characters under development by the Asheville art licensing team Daryl Slaton and Louise Glickman.
Masterton was cooking an old family recipe using some of her own honey – she was a proponent of local honey and working to save bees – with a puppet pup named Scooter.
“The tapings were on two Saturdays and it was horrible weather. Laurey has a small house and we were all crammed in there. The electricity went out,” Glickman recalled. “And you know what, we loved it and we had the best time because of Laurey. The conditions created a very intimate and warm understanding and collaboration and Laurey loved it, we loved it.”
Laurey would die just a few weeks later. Glickman, who is working with several other Asheville chefs, said recently that the project was fitting for Masterton who always inspired and empowered people.
Glickman has drawn upon an array of Asheville talent to promote the stories and characters she and Slaton have developed. Their umbrella brand is called Tails of Whimsy, and includes several story lines and characters. Glickman said she has a team actively seeking children’s book publishing and production company deals.
The BrokenHeart Pets series, which includes the street-wise Scooter, is the hottest so far, according to Glickman. She hired Asheville’s JB Media Group to help with a social media and marketing campaign. She asked Lisa Sturz of the well-known Red Herring Puppets in Asheville to bring Scooter to life. And she brought in Masterton, as well as other Asheville cooks including Cecilia Marchesini of Ceclia’s Kitchen and Chris Kobler of City Bakery, for the video series.
The BrokenHeart Pets follows Scooter and his sidekick, Boots, a cat who have come on hard times. Glickman and Slaton envision a book and animated TV series that focuses on their quest to find food, shelter and someone to love them. The stories will help build awareness for animal care and protection, as well as help children and parents leans about healthy cooking, she said.
Glickman said she was honored to work with Masterton, who identified with Scooter.
“Laurey related to Scooter because she saw an underdog literally that was trying so hard to make the best of life,” Glickman said.” “Laurey was just a remarkable gal.”
Here’s a look at one of the BrokenHeart Pets videos with Laurey:
Note: A memorial service for Masteron will be held at 2 p.m. on March 22 at First Baptist Church in Asheville.