Black-Eyed Susan Catering: A Sustainable Southern Culinary Business
By Anna Jorstad
Ask a pair of newlyweds to share a few memories that made their wedding day uniquely theirs and you’ll no doubt receive a variety of special reflections—from the intimate ceremony and beautifully choreographed first dance to the cheerful toasts and even the best man’s late night break-dancing performance. As for this recent newlywed, one standout memory was the delectable cuisine served at our reception, courtesy of Black-Eyed Susan Catering in Black Mountain, NC. After just one bite of an adorable mini-tomato corn pie, I put my complete trust in Brad and Cynthia Brasher, owners of Black-Eyed Susan, to marry our love for southern cuisine with our art-deco wedding theme.
With items such as a Gulf Coast shrimp and grits bar, ham and peach butter sweet potato biscuits, and local Carolina pecan-encrusted trout with cognac sauce, Black- Eyed Susan showcased the very finest of southern-style cuisine for our big day. But while their roots—including Cynthia’s jovial Alabama-bred charm—may influence much of their menu, the Brashers pride themselves on creating one-of-a-kind fare for their couples, happily entertaining menu suggestions from all culinary regions and traditions.
It is not surprising, given their genuine hospitality, that a former bed and breakfast in a quiet, residential area of Black Mountain is where the Brashers got their start. Brad and Cynthia’s first taste of what was to come began with the backyard weddings they hosted at their Craftsman style home and B&B, the Bella Luna Inn. Their upscale southerly fare, or “Screaming Southern” as their clients fondly describe it, proved to be their calling card. “After nine years of cooking and directing weddings, I learned that the guests only remember a handful of details,” says Cynthia: “How good the food was and if they had a good time.”
Their food was indeed good because after several years hosting weddings, Brad and Cynthia realized their true passion was the catering side of the business. With Brad holding a degree in hotel and restaurant management and Cynthia’s education in horticulture and organic practices, their catering company had a recipe for success. In 2007 they closed the chapter on the Bella Luna Inn and began a new one in the same location as Black-Eyed Susan Catering. Utilizing the B&B’s industrial kitchen, the southern-style catering business with a focus on sustainable practices began. “We strive to be a green business and compost, recycle, grow our own herbs, and use organic ingredients when possible,” says Cynthia.
The Brashers work solely within the Asheville-area wedding market and only take on a limited number of clients every year to provide the highest quality of service. Both Cynthia and Brad are personally involved in the entire process, from the initial booking and planning process to food preparation and onsite execution. “We attend each event and are able to focus on details such as set-up and display. A lesser-volume kitchen also enhances the quality of the food and we have time to collect higher quality products,” says Cynthia.
The couple’s sincere commitment to their weddings is easy to see and proof of their exceptional cuisine can be tasted in each made-from-scratch dish. A few of their favorites: tomato pies, sweet potato biscuits, Johnny cakes with local pepper jelly and barbecue shrimp, butternut squash and rosemary grits, local trout with summer succotash and rosemary beurre blanc.
To learn more about Black-Eyed Susan and to submit a catering request, visit bescatering.com.
Anna Smathers Jorstad was wed in April 2016 and serves as communications manager for the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority