Former Asheville chef takes Canyon Kitchen reins from current Asheville chef

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

adam_hayes_2014Former Asheville chef (Adam Hayes) takes over from current Asheville chef (John Fleer). The deets:

Chef Adam Hayes, an award-winning N.C. native (and former executive chef at the Grand Bohemian in Asheville) who has served as the executive chef of Lonesome Valley’s Canyon Kitchen this season, has now been tapped to direct and oversee the culinary operations for the restaurant and community, including special events and weddings.

Chef Hayes is a winner of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” and has cooked at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City where he used all N.C. ingredients in the dinner he prepared.  He has more than 15 years of experience working in leading restaurants and hotels in the region.



John Fleer, named one of the “Rising Stars of the 21st Century” by the James Beard Foundation and a three-time finalist for the James Beard “Best Chef in the Southeast” Award, started Canyon Kitchen in 2008 and he has directed the culinary program at Lonesome Valley since then.  John recently turned the reigns over to Adam in a moving ceremony. (Fleer leads his own restaurant, Rhubarb, in downtown Asheville.)

“The distance and time required to operate my restaurant in Asheville limited my ability to be in Cashiers as much as I wanted to be, but the talented Adam Hayes will continue the development of Canyon Kitchen into its next phase,” said John. “Chef Hayes is one of the real treasures of western North Carolina, with a deep appreciation of our native larder as well as being an eager participant in tradition of innovation.”

Chef Hayes has been receiving rave reviews from guests and residents since he started at Canyon Kitchen, including highly acclaimed chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Art Smith who recently had dinner at Canyon Kitchen. “Canyon Kitchen – the most beautiful restaurant in America and food to match the beauty,” said Chef Smith.

Most recently, Chef Hayes was the executive chef of Barnsley Resort, a luxury boutique resort located north of Atlanta.  In that role, he was responsible for all aspects of the culinary program, including overseeing three restaurants, corporate events and weddings.  Prior to joining Barnsley Resort, Chef Hayes was the executive chef of the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Asheville, N.C. for five years.  He was the first place winner of the Best Dish of N.C. (Fine Dining Mountain Region) from the N.C. Department of Agriculture; 2013 Fire on the Rock Champion; Final Fire Cooking Competition; and Kessler Collection’s Rising Star Award and Leader of the Year Award.

Canyon Kitchen, nestled in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains of Cashiers, is one of the most beautiful settings in the country, framed by verdant forests and meadows, encircled by thousand-foot granite cliffs. The restaurant is located in the rustically elegant Jennings Barn at the foot of Cow Rock Canyon in Lonesome Valley.  In 2014, the restaurant was recognized with an Open Table Diners’ Choice Award for Top 100 Scenic View Restaurants in America.

Canyon Kitchen is open to the public, and dinner is served on Wednesday through Sunday evenings until the end of October.

For more information on Canyon Kitchen, please visit or call (828) 743-7967.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Stories