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Ashley Boyd is Pastry Chef at Charlotte, NC mainstay 300 East, the family business. Boyd was raised in the restaurant, spending long afternoons there as a child, later working in various positions as age allowed. Here she caught “the bug” that would lead her back into the industry after 6 years of study in Fine Arts and Art Education.
After graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Boyd quickly returned to restaurant work. At her first kitchen job, Boyd became infatuated with the work of the restaurant’s pastry chef, Tanya Hemphill. Volunteering days off to trail in the pastry department cemented her love for the art of dessert making..
Restaurant, bakery and hotel positions in Chicago, Charleston and Detroit followed, each offering new learning opportunities and excellent mentorship. In particular, working under acclaimed chef Robert Carter and pastry chef Esthi Stefenelli at Peninsula Grill in Charleston exposed Boyd to a range of techniques & preparations, while a stage with pastry chef Michael Laiskonis at the legendary Tribute in Farmington Hills, Michigan imparted a stylistic and philosophical influence that remains with her today.
Eventually the time came to return to Charlotte and to her family’s business, 300 East. Boyd held many positions at the restaurant including GM, often pushing kitchen life onto the back burner. The passion for pastry, however, remained constant. In September 2015, Boyd took on the Pastry Chef position at Chef Paul Verica’s Heritage Food + Drink in Waxhaw, NC while continuing to oversee the dessert program at 300 East. During her 2-year tenure at Heritage, the restaurant was named “Best Restaurant” by Charlotte Magazine and Boyd’s dessert program was recognized by Southern Living as one of the 10 best in the South. Boyd has been featured in local and national publications including Dessert Professional and Food & Wine.
Outside of restaurant work, Boyd enjoys spending time with her husband and children, two cats and a flock of hens. She volunteers in support of various local food-related causes as a member of the Piedmont Culinary Guild, and to Charlotte-based organization Community Link in support of homeless-to-housing programs.