Katie Button of Cúrate - Biography

Asheville, NC

August 2014

Katie Button might have left Cornell with a Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering degree, but the one-time server also left with a taste for hospitality. Working at José Andrés’ Café Atlantico and Minibar and meeting her future husband, El Bulli service manager Felix Meana, sealed the deal: Button fell in love with food (and Meana), changing course to pursue Spanish and molecular cuisines, and a coveted stage at El Bulli.

Starting as a server at El Bulli, Button was drawn to the creativity of the kitchen, propositioning Pastry Chefs Albert Adria and Mateu Cassanas to give her stage if she spent a year gathering experience. They agreed, and Button moved to New York to work for Johnny Iuzzini at Jean Georges, followed by The Bazaar by José Andrés in Los Angeles. In 2009, Button accomplished her goal and finally took a seven-month stage at El Bulli, a position that still heavily influences her cooking .

Completing such an important stage so early in her career, Button moved to Asheville, North Carolina, with now husband Meana to open Cúrate. In only two short years, Button was a semi-finalist for James Beard’s “Rising Star Chef” Award and was nominated for Food & Wine’s “People’s Choice Best New Chef” in both 2012 and 2013. The young chef also won the Robb Report Culinary Master Competition over Eric Ripert, Masa Takayama, Charlie Palmer, and Michael Mina, and in January 2013 she earned a StarChefs.com Rising Stars Award and the Golden Whisk from Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. Meanwhile, the ever-forward-thinking Button champions sustainable food systems and social justice in the culinary workplace.