Meet the Asheville Chef Who Took Over Ree Drummond's Instagram for 24 Hours, Ashleigh Shanti

The one-day takeover was part of the #sharethemicfoodandbev campaign to help amplify the voices of Black women in the food and beverage community.

Ashleigh Shanti
Photo: Johnny Autry

Most of the time when we check up on Ree Drummond's Instagram account, we're used to seeing snapshots of perfect Oklahoma sunsets from her Pawhuska, Oklahoma, ranch, close-ups of delectable recipes, or adorable photos of her husband Ladd.

Yesterday, however, the vistas were looking a little different than the flatlands of Oklahoma. As part of 24-hour takeover for the #sharethemicfoodandbev campaign, Asheville, North Carolina chef, Ashleigh Shanti, brought Drummond's fans to the Blue Ridge Mountains as part of a program designed to elevate the voices of Black women in the food and beverage community. (Along with Drummond and Shanti, six other Black food and beverage leaders and their allies participated in the one-day takeovers.). Shanti serves as the chef de Cuisine of Asheville's Benne on Eagle, and the photos and videos that she shared have left us feeling inspired—and hungry.

"Hi folks, no need to adjust your screens. I'm not the Pioneer Woman, and this is not Oklahoma. I'm Ashleigh Shanti and we're here' in Asheville, North Carolina, and as a part of the 'keep sharing the mic' campaign, Ree is allowing me to be the voice of her page. So sit back and enjoy this 24-hour IG takeover," Shanti explains in an introductory video, filmed as birds chirp and idyllic mountain ranges and verdant trees set the beautiful the background.

Throughout the day, Shanti posted some spectacular looking dishes like a German Queen Tomato, Sweet Peas and Shoots salad finished off with a local peach, homemade vinegar, and sea salt, and Suya, West African skewered street food. (See below.)

During the takeover, we also loved hearing Shanti's heartfelt reminisces from her childhood in Virginia Beach. "I grew up an only child in Virginia Beach, often barefoot, getting lost in the woods with crawdads pinching my toes while I picked aromatic honeysuckles and ate mouth puckering sour grapes for the fun of it. Not much has changed," she wrote in the caption alongside photos of her picking sumac and blackberries at Gaining Ground Farm.

WATCH: Teenagers Gain Confidence Raising Bees and Growing Crops at North Carolina Farm

We know the 24-hour takeover is a small dent in a larger movement to amplify and empower the Black community, but we're grateful to have had the chance to follow along.

And, oh, how we wish we could grab a fork and dive into that sweet pea, and sweet, juicy peach salad.

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