Meet The Culinary Gardener
Evan Chender was a chef before he became a farmer, cooking his first meal for his family at the age of three (it was French Toast, and he had a little help). He earned his BA in Food Culture and Sustainable Agriculture from Vassar College. Evan's senior thesis was an in-depth analysis of four season farming, which included traditional academic research as well as building and farming low tunnel hoop houses at the Vassar experimental garden. With the desire to build upon the techniques he learned through his thesis, following graduation Evan became a greenhouse manager at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, which supplies the acclaimed restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
He subsequently managed a half-acre biodynamic vegetable garden for Agriturismo La Petraia in the hills of the Chianti region of Tuscany, where he was responsible for producing and foraging for all the vegetables used by the chefs in the on-site 5-star restaurant. Evan worked as a stagiaire in the kitchen of Noma in Copenhagen before heading back to the States. At the time of his apprenticeship, Noma was voted the top restaurant in the world by the Diners Club® World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy. Evan became the head chef at Table Local Market in Bedford Hills, NY upon his return, where he also managed all aspects of their culinary garden, including growing produce for use in their kitchen as well as for sale to the public in their retail space.
Seeking a change of scenery (and weather), Evan relocated to Asheville, NC with his wife in May 2012. He spent his first year-and-a-half as the sous chef and head gardener at Well-Bred Bakery & Cafe, before developing an 8,000 square foot micro farm and launching The Culinary Gardener in early 2013. Now a full-time farmer with his trusty canine sidekick, Maple, Evan has grown over 200 varieties of vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs over the past few years for the top restaurants in Asheville, with new additions every season. Today, Evan employs the knowledge he gained at Vassar and Stone Barns to continue four season farming at his micro farm which allows him to provide for his chefs 52 weeks a year.