Asheville Chef Kaley Laird to appear on ‘Chopped’ Tuesday


Kaley Laird, pastry chef at Rhurbarb restaurant (and its sister The Rhu), is set to appear on the next episode of the popular reality TV cooking show Chopped at 10 p.m. on Tuesday. Chefs compete on the Food Network show for a $10,000 prize. The show is hosted by Ted Allen, a cookbook author and former star of Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The judges are: Aaron Sanchez, Alex Guarnaschelli, Amanda Freitag and Chris Santos.

Laird joined Rhubarb earlier this year. A press release announcing her hiring noted that Laird, of Rochester, N.Y., is just 28 but has 11 years of culinary experience. Here’s more:

She moved to Asheville from the San Francisco Bay area, where she was most recently Executive Chef at Aveline, located in the historic Warwick Hotel. After culinary school at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Kaley moved to Napa to work at the prestigious Bouchon Bakery. She then joined the team at the Michelin-starred Ubuntu under the direction of Chef Aaron London. When Ubuntu closed, Laird began working as Pastry Chef for the Plumpjack Group at The Carneros Inn’s FARM restaurant, where she was quickly promoted to Executive Pastry Chef. Kaley left The Carneros Inn in 2014 to open Aveline, where she rose through the ranks again from pastry chef to executive chef.

Rhubarb Chef John Fleer in an email to me wrote that Laird “is a badass and a great chef, pastry and otherwise, so it will be a lot of fun to watch her compete.”

I can’t wait to see how Laird does. Tune in on Tuesday!