The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - 53

A Fe a s t fo r the Co mmu nity
written by shari dragovich | photographed by john park

One of Roanoke's newest restaurants, Bloom, highlights locally sourced,
seasonal ingredients and a place for friends to gather.
Nathanial Sloan grew up with his career quite literally "right under his nose."
Like many folks, however, he had to leave home in order to discover it.
Sloan grew up on an organic farm in Franklin County. He took for granted
the abundance and unique perspective afforded him by being raised on a
farm. Upon graduating high school, Sloan set out on a couple different paths:
snow skiing out west, then studying music in Boston.
In both cases, Sloan worked in restaurants on the side. While he loved
music, Sloan found himself drawn to the restaurant life. He enjoyed the
exhilaration of pre-dinner service rush. He loved the creativity of plating
food and the freedom to express that creativity more often as he climbed
the chef ladder.
After several years working in Boston, Sloan went home to his childhood
farm. He began to recognize how being a chef would make sense for him
as a profession. "Food has always been a part of my culture," says Sloan.
"[Being a chef ] offers me a sense of creativity, but it also does something
for the better good."
With this new understanding, Sloan decided to work on his family's farm
and see what opportunities might arise. He staged (an unpaid, short-term
chef apprenticeship, pronounced "staahj") at high-end culinary events. He
spent several years as a chef at Local Roots. Then, he spent two years in
Asheville, North Carolina, working at Hickory Nut Gap Farm, a generational
family farm open to the public for daily visits, catering and special events.
In 2017, after moving back to Roanoke, Sloan began searching for a
place of his own. In early 2019, he found the perfect spot in the Wasena
neighborhood. Sloan went to work with the building's owners. Together,
they brought Sloan's vision into existence: a small plates restaurant inspired
by locally sourced, seasonally inspired ingredients, and offering a unique
wine menu for pairing.
AT LEFT: Muhammara (flatbread, goat feta, sorghum, and mizuna).

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

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The Roanoker - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - January/February 2020

The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - Intro
The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - Cover1
The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - Cover2
The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - 3
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The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - 5
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The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - VL1
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