Laurey was the youngest daughter of Elsie and John Masterton who founded Blueberry Hill Inn, in Goshen, Vermont and who authored The Blueberry Hill Cookbooks.
After an interesting stint in New York, where she worked as a lighting designer off and on Broadway, Laurey visited Asheville for the first time in 1984 to take a course with the North Carolina Outward Bound School. In 1987 she moved to Asheville to work with that school and also started cooking in her tiny walk-up apartment.
Laurey started cooking on Biltmore Avenue in 1990, first alone and now with a regular bevy of cooks, shopsters, office mavens and delivery folks. This staff of “talented and interesting individuals” makes wonderful food, with a whole lot of fresh, local products and keeps life interesting with music, dancing, art, sport, and hilarity around the place.
Laurey was a practicing beekeeper, a hobby glassblower, and a long distance bike rider. She believed in the power of service to others and in being an active member of her community. Her passion was enlisting a Chef to work with each of the 30 elementary schools in the Asheville area as a part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move, a project to eliminate childhood obesity by 2015. Laurey served on the board of the national organization, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, and was a national spokesperson for the National Honey Board.
Laurey was the author of Elsie’s Biscuits, simple stories of me, my mother, and food and The Fresh Honey Cookbook; 84 Recipes from a Beekeeper's Kitchen. Please see below for details about these books and where to find them!
The Fresh Honey Cookbook
"A poetic, pleasurable and very personal look into the beautiful world of bees, honey and hives. Laurey's passion, intelligence and culinary creativity make this a must read for anyone who wants to learn about the remarkable ways of the world in which bees work, and the amazing flavors of the varietal honeys they gift us with."
— Ari Weinzweig, Co-founding partner, Zingerman’s, and author of Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating
“Every now and then a singular cookbook comes along – singular as in exceptional, distinguished, stand-alone. And you can put Laurey Masterton’s lushly illustrated FRESH HONEY COOKBOOK at the top of the list. If you think this just a collection of honey recipes, think again. It’s a tribute to the honeybee without whom a third of what we eat would be lost – fruits, nuts, a truck-load of vegetables, indeed everything honeybees pollinate. Masterton discusses in detail the varieties of honey from acacia to tupelo (and gives online sources for the more exotic), she shares her own beekeeping experiences and describes the role of each bee in the hive (from queen to worker to drone). More important, she emphasizes our own roles as protectors of this indispensable insect. Not all of Masterton’s recipes contain honey. What they do contain are the ingredients that would vanish from this planet without honeybees and lest we miss the point, she bold-faces these throughout the book – ingredients integral to such recipes as her Tuscan Tomato Soup with Orange Slices and Vermont-Style Summer Squash Casserole. Beekeeper, teacher, caterer, café owner, and gifted cook, Masterton has written a honey of book that’s as much primer as recipe collection. It’s won pride of place in my kitchen.”
— Jean Anderson, author From a Southern Oven, member James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame
In a world overwhelmed with uninspired cookbooks, The Fresh Honey Cookbook glows like its precious, golden subject. The words and artistry in this stunning book move my heart, stimulate my mind, feed my hunger, and excite my senses. I can feel the love and tenderness chef and beekeeper Laurey has for her hives in every mindful word, every glorious photo, and lastly, every delicious, mouth-watering recipe. She has transformed the subject of honey into an extraordinary reference book, brought it deliciously to life with incredible recipes, and shared just how very special honey is - or should be - to us all.
— Virginia Willis, Chef and Cookbook Author
"With the focused elegance of the honey bee's flight home, Laurey Masterton zeroes in on her subject. The result is prose both sweet and nourishing as she shares her beekeeper's journey and the divine reward of 84 delectable recipes. The Fresh Honey Cookbook is a "must have" for all--but especially bee--seasons!"
— Ronni Lundy is the author of Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken.
As someone who hates to cook but loves to eat, Laurey Masterton is Heaven sent. She writes about “gourmet comfort food” knowledgeably and passionately, and without a hint of pretension. To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of bees, and tend to give them a wide berth. Laurey has opened my eyes to the importance of honeybees in our food supply, and in our lives. Like all great cook books, The Fresh Honey Cookbook is about more than food. It is about paying attention, about listening and, more of all, about gratitude. I, for one, am grateful for Laurey Masterton. Read this book and savor the sweetness found on each page.
The Blueberry Hill Cookbook, published on July 6, 1959 was the first of three cookbooks written by Elsie Masterton who, with her husband John, founded Blueberry Hill Farm in Goshen, Vermont. Originally conceived as a downhill ski area but foiled by the lack of snow, the farm became a country Inn, and Elsie became a well-known cook and cookbook author.
Here are the favorites of Elsie and John's Blueberry Hill Farm, with quips and thoughts from Elsie. Delicious, classic, memorable. This is the original Blueberry Hill Cookbook, with a preface by the youngest daughter, Laurey Masterton.
Simple Stories of Me, My Mother, and Food