Written By: Marlene Osteen | Issue: March-2022

The arrival of Chef Craig Richards at The Farm at Old Edwards on April 14 heralds a fresh springtime vitality and a deeply satisfying indulgence. For information and reservations, visit OldEdwardsHospitality.com.


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highlands nc spring fling dinner plated dish

In the realm of impressive career beginnings, few can top the triumph of Atlanta Chef Craig Richards. 

Two years after discovering his passion for cooking (“I couldn’t believe how much fun it was, and you got paid for it!”), Richards landed a spot training under the reigning emissary of Italian cooking – Lidia Bastianich. 

He spent the ensuing five years behind the stoves of Bastianich’s restaurant empire in Kansas City and Pittsburgh – “big stepping stones in my career.” Ultimately, that training led to executive positions in well-known Atlanta kitchens, and in 2019 the opening of his own restaurant in that city–Lyla Lila.

On Thursday, April 14, Richards will create a menu of his Southern Mediterranean-focused cuisine for an “Italian-Inspired Spring Fling” at The Farm at Old Edwards. The Springtime celebration will include Easter traditions from Italy and live music.

Richards is clearly thrilled by the freshness and vitality of the culinary techniques he discovered during travels to Italy and his mentorship with Bastianich.  Those experiences opened his eyes to the breadth and regionality of Italian food–of the food that he describes as “honest.” 

And, it’s encouraged him to spend the past 15 years in pursuit of mastering the craft of pasta making. In opening Lyla Lilia, Richards has created a venue that pays homage to those experiences and is, “a personal expression of me and who I am as a chef.”

Though dinner menu details of the Spring Fling are yet to be released, guests might expect any one of the five dishes that define the “Italian spirit” behind the menu at Richards’ restaurant and express his enthusiasm for Italy: Seasonal crudités with olive aioli that showcase the beauty and flavor of the produce; cold smoked scallops with smoky and spicy green harissa; chicken liver and sweet potato ravioli with fried pine nuts and tarragon; spaghetti and prawns with pork ragu and bottarga; or wood grilled fish. In a recent review, Forbes Magazine gushed over the menu, calling the dishes “hedonistic” and proclaiming the pastas “pillowy fresh.”  And as the magazine concluded, “No matter what’s in season, you’ll enjoy Richards’ creativity and mastery of flavor and texture.”

Cost is $175 per person plus tax and gratuity. Please note the event is for guests 21 and over. This is just one of a fabulous line-up of other chefs visiting Highlands this year. Check lodging (not included in ticket price), and availability at OldEdwardsHospitality.com.



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