Our Team

Marlene Mechanic

General Manager, Event Planner and Beverage Manager

Marlene Mechanic was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and upon attaining culinary experience in Seattle, she returned to Asheville where she is currently the General Manager, Event Planner and Beverage Manager at Native Kitchen and Social Pub.

Marlene pursued a degree in Psychology at Brevard College before becoming fully immersed in fine dining, hospitality and culinary arts. While in Asheville, she worked at Rezaz Pan Mediterranean, a contemporary restaurant and wine bar. Here she worked her way to Front of House Manager, and in that time fell in love with the art of hospitality and creating a fine dining experience.

Marlene’s culinary career led her to Seattle, working for James Beard award-winner Christine Keff at the Flying Fish, an internationally-influenced seafood restaurant. She spent six years in Seattle before returning to Asheville where she gained further experience in beverage hospitality. In 2016, she assumed the role of Manager at Native Kitchen and Social Pub and has since positioned the Swannanoa-based restaurant as a warm and welcoming gathering place for the community.

In her role at Native Kitchen, Marlene works closely with local farmers to source locally grown, sustainable ingredients. She deeply appreciates the art of plating food and creating an immersive experience for guests.

Marlene remains dedicated to causes beyond her culinary pursuits. She is an advocate for the LGBTQ community and works closely with local non-profits and organizations including OurVOICE, Bounty and Soul, Planned Parenthood and Asheville Humane Society. In her free time, Marlene enjoys traveling, experiencing new cultures and cuisines, and painting with oils and encaustics.

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Jacob Whitman

Executive Chef

Jacob Whitman is from Asheville, North Carolina and attained his culinary arts degree at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Jacob pursued a culinary career at Zambra restaurant for three years as well as spending three years at the Admiral restaurant before joining the team at Native Kitchen and Social Pub in Swannanoa, North Carolina in 2017. He is passionate about Appalachian cuisine and elevating the dining experience through a focus on locally grown and sustainably sourced ingredients.