The French Broad

The Mission 2010

One of the oldest river basins on earth, the French Broad River is a living witness to the birth and creation of an authentic American culture. Revered by native Americans, equally praised and cursed by early European settlers,  it remains a vibrant and essential life source.

The French Broad valley along with the Appalachian chain through which it flows, shoulders a monumental ecosystem and cultural heritage. Predating even the dinosaurs, this region contains a diversity of life forms among the richest on the planet.

Bold, inquisitive and spirited bodies sought out this region and continue to do so. Though a great natural abundance called people to these mountains, many also met with isolation and hardship… and yet they remained.

These challenging conditions shaped a keen mountain personality but also fostered a mountain wisdom fueled by independence, self-sufficiency and innovation. Those still hold great meaning here, as creativity and a strong connection to the land endure as important shared values.

It is our goal to multiply the opportunities to connect with this noble land , revel in the diversity of this magical place and continue a sensory exploration worthy of Southern Appalachia heritage.

Mark Rosenstein

After almost 40 years of cooking and living  “around the table” in the Appalachians, Mark Rosenstein could finally be considered a local, though he finds the phrase “mountain irregular” more accurate. Mark’s unwavering respect for “ a taste of place” has meant decades of searching for the essence of mountain flavor:  through streams, ponds, forests and farms, often with a pocketknife and basket in hand. A socially engaged chef and businessman, his activism for local foods began in 1979. He is often credited with starting the local foods movement in Asheville and in western North Carolina.

Mark trained with Simone Beck and Madeleine Kamman and has worked in the kitchen of Roger Verge  at the Michelin starred “Moulin de Mougins”  in the south of France. A veteran restaurateur, Mark’s first restaurant “The Frog and Owl” quickly garnered national attention from Gourmet Magazine. His next restaurant “The Market Place” also received national press when he was listed in Food & Wine’s historic cover story  ‘The First Honor  Roll of American Chefs”. His press book is replete with coverage from regional and local press and in 2009 he was featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal. His book “ In Praise of Apples” which appeared in the New York Times Review of books is now in it’s third printing.  Though classically trained and often teaching and touring in Burgundy, Mark’s keen reverence for the heritage and roots of Appalachia have always remained at the center of what he does.

Chef, author, photographer, closet physicist and member of the Blue Ridge Pyrotechnic Guild, Mark believes that what is important in life is best shared around the table …or hearth. His fascination with fire started early. He has cooked with wood professionally for 20 years and recently built an elaborate Allen Scott designed wood fired oven in his garden, where he teaches and holds cooking classes.

In addition to planning his next book, pursuing his keen interest in photography (which he studied while a student at the Rhode Island School of Design) Mark has just cleared land at his home in Asheville with the use of goats and has begun preparations for  his first urban garden.