Nohe Weir-Villatoro is stepping into the spotlight as the new chef at King James Public House on Charlotte Street in Asheville. The change comes after Chef Steven Goff, the face of the restaurant over the last year since the restaurant’s opening, announced his sudden departure over the weekend. Nobody’s commenting on the reason for the breakup between Goff and the rest of the restaurant crew, which includes Peter Slamp. Goff and Slamp worked together at Zambra restaurant in Asheville, where Slamp is owner/manager.
Weir-Villatoro worked as Goff’s sous chef at KJP. Weir-Villatoro said Tuesday that Goff is a friend and mentor, and that there are no hard feelings between the two. Weir-Villatoro said he’s ready to take the reins at KJP and put his own stamp on the restaurant.
Weir-Villatoro is no stranger on the Asheville culinary scene. He told me Tuesday that he started washing dishes at Early Girl restaurant when he was about 17, and went from there to working a station and then hopping over to Lexington Avenue Brewery as a fry cook and sous chef. He also worked at The Admiral, and then at Zambra, where he was executive sous chef before moving to King James Pub.
Weir-Villatoro, whose father is a native of El Salvador, said he loves Latin food and full flavors, (he and his family lived in El Salvador for five years) so diners can expect to see that influence reflected on KJP’s menu. Tamales and empanadas will likely appear quickly, he said. Still, the restaurant will reflect all the fresh foods of Appalachia, he noted. KJP will also continue with its French- and English-influenced cuisine. “The focus of the restaurant will not completely change,” he said.
“The staff has been supportive,” Weir-Villator said, “and we will continue to work was a team and put out the best product possible.”
I was just about to say the same thing, Brandee B. 🙂
Hopefully he will incorporate more veggie options & gluten free, it wasn’t very inviting for us folks for what it is worth