A big “scoop” on the Asheville food scene. Ultimate Ice Cream’s Kevin Barnes will serve as the new 2020 Chair of the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association (AIR).

“I am looking forward to deepening my connections with restaurant owners and staff,” says Barnes, who along with wife Lucia, have owned and operated Ultimate Ice Cream for over 15 years. “It takes brave people to stand up and manifest their dreams. I want AIR to be there to support, answer questions, be an advocate, and stand side by side with our community of food artisans.”

The AIR Board of Directors represents hundreds of Asheville’s famed chefs, restaurants and personalities who are dedicated in keeping food scene eclectic, authentic and flavorful.

Barnes, a longtime veteran of the Asheville food & beverage industry, replaces Liz Button, of Katie Button Restaurants, who served as Chair from 2017 – 2019.

“We have such a lovely place to practice our craft in Asheville and I am excited to continue to be a part of this amazing group of individuals and businesses,” Barnes adds. AIR has identified four areas of focus for the upcoming year: advocacy, workforce development, membership and sustainability. “My goal is to focus all of our volunteer board’s work into these four areas – for me, education lies at the heart of all of these,” Barnes said,

AIR offers dozens of classes throughout the year for their members that focus on timely, relevant topics from changes in health and safety regulations to compensation and management challenges.

Joining Barnes on the 2020 AIR Board is Vice Chair/Treasurer Carolyn Roy (BiscuitHead); Secretary Kate Bannasch (Copper Crown). New Board Members include: Kevan Frazier (Well Played); Cathy Horton (A-B Tech); and Peter Pollay (Posana, Bargello, District 42). 

Continuing Board Members are: Stephanie Brown (Explore Asheville); Liz Button (Katie Button Restaurants); Steve Goff (AUX/Blind Pig Catering); Charlie Hodge (Sovereign Remedies); Sean Piper (Jargon); and Sabrina Rockoff (McGuire, Wood &  Bissette).