Q&A with Ashleigh Davis, the General Manager of the Santa Barbara Public Market
What’s your main responsibility as GM of the Public Market?
I manage the daily operations of the Public Market, serve as the market host and oversee the individual food purveyors. I will also program the events calendar for The Kitchen, a commercial kitchen space and dining area within the Public Market. These events will include winemaker dinners, cooking classes, demonstrations, book signings, community events and others.
We’re sure you’re excited about your new role. Is there one piece of the job that stands out as something you’re looking forward to?
I’m really looking forward to creating the events calendar for The Kitchen. Much of my professional experience thus far has been events-focused so it will be interesting to program new events centered on two of my favorite things, fresh food and good wine! Santa Barbara is full of local culinary talent known for their coastal specialties and many of these chefs host cooking classes to teach you how to recreate their dishes using local ingredients. We want it to be a collaborative space and I think the community will welcome this with open arms.
You’ve just returned to Santa Barbara after 1 year away. What are some things you’re happy to return to here?
I lead an active lifestyle so I’m happy to return to the hiking trails in the area, the beautiful beaches and Crossfit Pacific Coast. I’m also excited to reconnect with the local community at various events and festivals on deck including the Downtown Art & Wine Tour, the Summer Solstice Celebration and the Old Spanish Days Fiesta.
Previously, you were the Marketing Director at the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization. How will that work inform your new position?
My previous experience at the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization paved the way for a seamless transition back into the Downtown Cultural Arts District. I’m familiar with the inner workings of the business improvement district (BID) and understand how the downtown corridor operates. I have established relationships with the neighbor businesses and I’m familiar with several organizations that cooperate in town. I will revisit many of my Marketing Director responsibilities in my new role as I produce community/cooking events and manage the overall work flow of the space.
Where are you from originally?
Clovis, California. The Gateway to the Sierras, located in the agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley.
For the fun of it –
When I was little, I wanted to be: A school teacher or a business owner. I was a natural born leader growing up.
My last meal on earth would be: An Italian feast that includes my mom’s homemade lasagna, lots of pizza, bottomless champagne, fresh pastries and all of the chocolate I can get.
Favorite restaurant outside of the Santa Barbara region: I had a very memorable dining experience at the Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga, CA. I can’t wait to get back.
Favorite way to unwind: My favorite way to unwind is to take part in outdoor activities. I find it easier to relax when I’m surrounded by nature.