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Western North Carolina Loses Culinary Inspiration

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Western North Carolina lost a driving force behind many of the region's chefs and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College lost the creator of its nationally-acclaimed Culinary Technology program when Chef Robert George Werth, 80, died Feb. 22.

Werth, a native of France, was hired in 1968 to design and teach the culinary technology program. Although he was disappointed to enroll only four students in the first class and graduate two, he never had that problem again, with the American Culinary Federation award-winning program drawing students from all over the country. Werth served as department chair when he retired from A-B Tech in 1994, handing the reins to one of his former students, Chef Sheila Tillman.

"You wonder how Asheville became part of the food scene and it comes back to the development of Asheville in terms of the world of hospitality and Chef Werth," Tillman said. "He was dedicated to the students way before it was our mission statement. He loved having students come back and see him."

Werth, who was rarely seen without his white coat and hat, was the author of the book, "The Fruit of Experience: My Culinary Life," published in 2007. In 2004, a Hospitality Education scholarship was given in honor of Werth through the A-B Tech Foundation.

During his tenure, he obtained numerous professional honors including being named as a Fellow to the American Academy of Chefs. Prior to moving to Asheville, Werth had an extensive career working as a chef in such fine hotels as the Plaza, the Waldorf Astoria and the Greenbrier of White Sulphur Springs, WV.

Chef Michael Fahey, American Culinary Federation Western North Carolina Culinary Association President and Executive Chef at Cedar Creek Racquet Club in Cashiers, NC, was guided in his career by Werth.

"Chef Werth was the foundation for our organization and his spirit will live on. Chef Bob was very instrumental in much of the Asheville culinary scene with his influence at A-B Tech and the community," Fahey said.

"He was a very personable man and dedicated chef, brought his skills from his home in France to the United States. He inspired people to try to attain their best and to share the knowledge of culinary arts," Fahey said.

SOURCE Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

Copyright 2009 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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