Katie Button of Cúrate - Biography

Asheville, NC

November 2013

Katie Button might have left Cornell with a Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering degree—and a desire to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience—but the onetime student/server also left with a taste for hospitality.  Working at Jose Andres’ 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 Andres in Los Angeles. In 2009, Button accomplished her goal and finally took a seven month stage at El Bulli, which heavily influences her cooking to this day.

Completing such an important stage so early in her career, Button moved to Asheville, North Carolina, with now husband Meana to open Cúrate. And the achievements didn’t stop there: in only two short years, Button garnered the recognition of the James Beard Foundation as a semi-finalist for Rising Star Chef 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 the Golden Whisk award from Women Chefs and Restaurateurs.  Most importantly, and once more showing serious forward-thinking, Button is pioneer of sustainable food systems and social justice in the culinary workplace.