Energy sizzles as the lanky young woman with arresting hazel eyes greets me in the entrance to her restaurant. “Hi, I’m Katie Button,” she smiles, shaking my hand. She wears jeans and a sweater, belying her role as executive chef of Cúrate in Asheville. She is clearly bright and articulate, but when this award-winning chef tells me what career she almost followed, my jaw drops.
“I was always good in math and science,” says Button, “so I majored in chemical and biomedical engineering at Cornell.” She always loved to cook, though, and grew up in a “food-focused family.”