Chef Benjamin Epicure Is on the Way to North Carolina’s First Michelin Star

Meet the Chef at the fairytale-like Castle Smithmore

Diana Bernardo
3 min readNov 11, 2022


Chef Benjamin Epicure. Photo by author.

It’s no secret that the Carolinas aren’t really known for fine dining and gastronomic experiences. Most settle for that good old southern comfort or traditional barbecue when going out to eat. Occasionally, a trip to Asheville or Charlotte will give North Carolinians a glimpse of fine dining but, well, it’s not quite it.

But that all changed when Chef Benjamin Epicure walked into Smithmore Castle and completely changed the scene.

Smithmore Castle: A Fairytale Venue

Smithmore Castle is a fairytale-like estate in Western North Carolina, placed by what appears to be the hand of God on top of a mountain some 4,000 feet high. Hundreds of acres of land and countless estate activities make this Castle Hotel utterly outstanding.

In fact, under Chef Benjamin Epicure, Smithmore Castle has become America’s only 5-Star Castle Hotel. Guests from all over the continental US vacation at Smithmore for a chance to eat Chef Epicure’s amazing cuisines.

Brides gravitate to the scenic views and the luxurious amenities this property showcases. Coupled with some of the most lavish cakes anywhere in the world, Smithmore Castle is the pinnacle wedding venue.

Who s Chef Benjamin Epicure?

An aristocratic Chef indeed, Epicure embodies Chefs from a time long past. Although dashing in appearance and quick-witted, he’s definitely an old soul of sorts.

His dishes resemble a gilded age where nobles came to dine, where status and wealth were symbolized by exotic dishes prepared by renowned Chefs. Duck pate en croûte and Chateaubriand bouquetière is cooked to perfection at Smithmore.

Under Epicure’s watchful eye the kitchen staff prepares organic homemade dishes from scratch. Epicure, elbow-deep in all kitchen aspects ensures that no details are spared. A lovely vintage kitchen with leaded glass and tin ceilings makes for a posh setting. His savoring creations of high-end exotic meats to delicate pastries are at least on par with Michelin Star status restaurants of the world.

The Guest Experience at Smithmore

Guests who lodge at Smithmore receive a 3-course Dinner and Gourmet Breakfast for each night and day of the stay. An incredible business model that Epicure created and oversees along with his wife Jessie. This unstoppable duo have perfected Hospitality in combination with Fine Dining. Guests can also opt-in for etiquette training in the traditional continental (European) standard before their dining experience.

This is a reservation-only restaurant. An in-house sommelier pairing the night's menu with the appropriate levels of tannins and aromas makes for a complete culinary outing.

Manicured servers in all black and white gloves run a systemized front house. Gold cutlery and fine china fill the grand dining room table. Crystal glasses and vintage wine decanters are placed perfectly accented throughout the main dining room. Formal napkins crisply placed through crown rings rest on top of gold charging plates. It’s the stuff of Royalty. And as if that weren’t enough, guests can gaze up to the ceiling and marvel at the fresco designs and gold accents.

It’s advised to call in weeks, if not months, in advance as word quickly travels amongst the patrons of the Chef's succulent creations. Growing, harvesting, and even butchering on the estate. Epicure ensures that all menu items are of the highest freshness up to date. An onsite herb garden and chicken coop are found on the property just walking distance from the Castle. It’s truly every Chef’s dream and the ultimate beneficiary are the diners, it’s a win-win.

Final Thoughts

If there’s one thing that North Carolina needs desperately is a legitimate world-class Chef creating marvelous cuisines out of a real-life Castle. It’s something North Carolinians can be proud of and an added talent to the Michelin database of unique Chefs pushing the culinary envelope to new heights. In general, food brings people together, but great food creates a bond unlike any other and it’s there that lifelong memories are created.

Find out more about the Chef Benjamin Epicure and the Smithmore Castle here:

Smithmore Castle, in Western North Carolina. Photo by author.