Bacon at the Bear

August 3rd, 2019
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
The Dancing Bear Lodge

Don’t miss this Appalachian Culinary Event featuring 7 of the best regional chefs cooking their own personal dishes to benefit New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center. Each dish has a common theme they incorporate with Benton’s Bacon.

The event will be held in Townsend, TN at the beautiful Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro and incorporates a Bourbon or Wine Tasting session with each ticket.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Interested in sponsoring Bacon at the Bear?

Click here to see Sponsorship Opportunities.

Thank you to our 2018 sponsors!

Meet the Chefs from Bacon at the Bear 2018!

Shelley Cooper | Townsend, TN

Her maternal family hails from the Mississippi Delta, and her father from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. She credits this combination with providing her Southern culinary roots.

Both families placed a high regard for fresh, seasonal, and ‘made from scratch’ foods, as well as instilling the appreciation of pure simple ingredients. Shelley could not help but to be positively affected by such inherent passion. She was professionally trained at Johnson and Wales Culinary Institute in Charleston, South Carolina and The San Francisco Baking Institute.  Chef Shelley honed her craft at Belfair Club in Hilton Head, South Carolina, 30° Blue at Bay Point Resort in Florida, Craggy Range Winery in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, First and Hope Supper Club in Los Angeles, Alaska Expedition on the Gulf of Alaska, Monettes Artisan Seafood on the big island of Hawaii, and TerraMáe Appalachian Bistro in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Now she is tapping into her true roots and fully embracing her heritage at Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro in Townsend, Tennessee. The culmination of her life travels and culinary passion have merged to create her unique version of highbrow Appalachian fare.


* Smoked Pork Belly, Marinated Tomato & Green Bean Slaw, Pimento Cheese & Cracklin Cornbread.

* Chocolate Bacon Banana Popsicle.

Chef Geoff Kenney | Knoxville, TN

Cru Bistro and Wine Bar, Shuck Raw Bar, Nama Sushi Bar

Geoff got his start in the culinary world at age 15. It quickly grabbed his attention and he loved being able to create with food. He attended University of North Carolina at Wilmington where he earned a degree in Political Science. Upon graduation, he worked with Chef Shawn Wellersdick of the Port Land Grille in Wilmington North Carolina. Chef Shawn mentored Geoff showing him how to cook with local ingredients and sparked his passion for creative local cuisine.  He left the Port Land Grille and moved to Knoxville to putting his culinary focus at Nama Sushi Bar.  While at Nama he helped open two new concepts Cru Bistro and Wine Bar and Shuck Raw Bar.  Geoff left Nama to take the Executive Chef position at the General Morgan Inn in Greeneville TN.  After his stint at the General Morgan Inn he came back to Nama, Shuck and Cru as the Corporate Chef.


* Smoked ham hock terrine, sweet potato bread, chow chow

* Buttermilk peach panna cotta,  peanut ham hock crumble, basil syrup

Chef Ryan Kline & Catherine Bittner | Ashville, NC

Zambra, Asheville

Ryan is a Yankee transplant to Asheville, NC hailing from Hastings, PA. After graduating with high honors from Indiana University of Pennsylvania Academy of Culinary Arts Ryan completed his externship at the prestigious Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Ryan continued on at the Biltmore for 2 years before accepting the Sous Chef Position at Storm Rhum Bar and Bistro in downtown Asheville. During his time at Storm, Ryan was named a Rising Culinary Star by the Asheville Citizen-Times. Multiple collaborations with Blind Pig, and staging throughout some of the Southeast’s Best restaurants led Ryan to be named Executive Chef/General Manager of Buffalo Nickel in West Asheville at age 25. Ryan served his post for two years before moving on to become the Chef at Adam Bannasch’s Zambra in downtown Asheville. Ryan now showcases his farm-to-table eclectic global cuisine and heads the culinary team at Zambra. Zambra has recently been named the most romantic restaurant in North Carolina by the USA today, and has been consistently been named most romantic and best wine list by the Mountain Express of Asheville, NC. Outside of work Ryan enjoys golfing and spending time with his soon to be wife Catherine and their pit bull Blueberry.


* Nashville Style Hot Chicharones, Cruze Buttermilk Ranch

* Sofrito BBQ Hickory Nut Gap Pork Tails, Wonder Bread Puree, B & B Relish, Micro Collards

* Flourless Chocolate Tahini Cake Benne Nougatine, Pomegranate Molasses, Sea Salt

Ashley Capps | Asheville, NC

Buxton Hall, Asheville

Ashley’s connection with food began at an early age, cooking and baking throughout her youth in Burlington, N.C.
In 2002, Capps moved to Asheville, N.C., to pursue a degree in fine arts, and it was her passion for creating that took her from the studio to the kitchen. In 2005, Capps graduated from the Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College with an AAS Baking and Pastry Arts degree. Following her graduation, Capps applied her training to her pastry cook position at Five and Ten Restaurant in Athens, Ga., where she quickly transitioned to pastry chef before relocating to New York for a stint as a pastry cook at Eleven Madison Park. In 2010, Capps returned to Asheville to work in pastry production for Farm and Sparrow Bakery where she worked for two years before moving on to become the opening pastry chef at MG Road Bar and Lounge. , Capps went on to serve as the opening pastry chef for Rhubarb, an Asheville establishment named to Bon Appetit’s “Top 50 Best New Restaurants” and Southern Living’s list of “100 Best New Restaurants in the Southeast”. Following her time with Rhubarb, Capps went on to join the Buxton Hall team, where she currently serves as the pastry chef. Since the restaurant’s opening, Buxton Hall has received much national acclaim including being named one of Bon Appetit’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants for 2016!


* Andele farm Pork  tenderloin porchetta, field pea + sweet corn succotash

* Gaining Ground zucchini twinkie

Chef Mike Costello & Amy Dawson | West Virginia

Lost Creek Farm, West Virginia

Through their traveling kitchen based at Lost Creek Farm in north central West Virginia, Chef Mike Costello and his partner Amy Dawson share Appalachian foods in locales across the eastern U.S. Lost Creek Farm’s regionally-inspired menus include heritage foods such as traditional charcuterie handed down in local immigrant communities, wild harvested ingredients, and a variety of heirloom crops grown on their 180 acre farm. In an effort to preserve and promote their region’s diverse foodways, Mike and Amy are currently working to create a heritage-focused culinary incubator program and food storytelling lab at Lost Creek Farm.


* Braised pork cheek with Aunt Flora’s dumplings, green tomato gravy, sorghum-candied onions.

* Old-fashioned buttermilk cake, wild blackberry whipped cream, Shag Bark Jowl Jam.

Trevor Stockton | Maryville, TN

RT Lodge, Maryville

Trevor Stockton is the Executive Chef at RT Lodge in Maryville, TN. Prior to the Lodge, Trevor spent two years at the renowned Blackberry Farm adding to his passion of southern cuisine and outstanding hospitality. He is passionate about using the best ingredients available, whether that be from the RT Lodge garden, Special Growers, or other local farmers and artisans. Trevor was featured as “Chefs to Watch” in 2017 by Plate Magazine, The Venue Report for Chef’s “That Put Food First”, and Good Grit magazine.

Chef Trevor Stockton’s classic techniques of preserving seasonal produce shines through in his cuisine. He believes that above all, the most important part of a meal is that it brings people together to not only share great food but to also to make great memories.


* Braised pork shank with roasted peppers and blackberries.

* Sweet corn pudding with peaches and Benton’s Streusel.

David Rule | Maryville, TN

The Walnut Kitchen, Maryville

A native of Maryville, TN, David Rule found his passion for hospitality at a young age. David started working in a small family owned restaurant in his hometown at the age of 15. With over 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry he has honed his skills along side some of the top hospitality leaders in the region. These include stints with Aubrey’s Restaurant Group, Dancing Bear Lodge, and Blackberry Farm. Through these experiences David has developed a unique style that is as calm, confident, relaxed, and as laid back as his demeanor. As the Chef and Proprietor of The Walnut Kitchen his vision is ingrained into the level of  hospitality and cuisine that is provided.


* Soft Boiled Farm Egg, Benton’s Aged Ham, Chanterelle, Sweet Corn, Pickled Ramp.

* Cinnamon Roll, Benton’s Bacon, Bourbon Caramel, Walnuts