Food & Drink

Taste the food of 15 top female chefs, bid on great bourbon at Lexington fundraiser

FEAST will feature small plates from 15 top female chefs and a live auction featuring a weekend in Paducah with dinner with chef Sara Bradley, Van Winkle bourbons and a “Hamilton” weekend in Chicago.
FEAST will feature small plates from 15 top female chefs and a live auction featuring a weekend in Paducah with dinner with chef Sara Bradley, Van Winkle bourbons and a “Hamilton” weekend in Chicago.

If watching “Top Chef” has whet your appetite for great Kentucky food, tickets are still available for the third annual FEAST dinner, a fundraiser for FoodChain.

This year the dinner is moving to Fasig-Tipton, where Lexington chef Ouita Michel will host top female chefs from around the region and the country on March 12 from 6 to 9 p.m.

“This is our third year,” said Becca Self, FoodChain founder of the event, which stands for Food Equity Access Sustains Tomorrow. “The impetus came because Ouita was at a James Beard event in New England and bonded with other female chefs over the ability to use their spotlight to help bring together the foodie world and the world of food insecurity.”

Michel invited chefs to come to the Bluegrass and serve locally grown food, with the money raised going to FoodChain’s sustainability mission. The organization seeks to improve access to fresh, healthy food for food-insecure families in Lexington.

The first event featured five chefs, but it’s grown now to 15. Chef Sara Bradley, who is competing on “Top Chef” Kentucky, was a participant last year. This year, she is sending a message by video and a live-auction package that includes a weekend in Paducah with chef’s table meals with Bradley.

The live auction also will include a “behind-the-scenes of Ouita’s World package,” a horse experience and a Chicago package that includes Hamilton tickets as well as a meal at the Frontera Grill.

Also in the auction: Several bottles of much-sought-after bourbon that Self got from Party Town in Florence, which offered them to nonprofit organizations for fundraisers. Those include a George Stagg, a 10-year-old Rip Van Winkle and a 12-year-old Van Winkle.

FEAST has become a showcase of Lexington’s culinary scene and supports local agriculture. There are 250 tickets available for $125 each. They are available through Eventbrite. You’ll get small plates from the 15 chefs, plus Woodford Reserve cocktails, Jackson Family wines and West Sixth beers and a live auction.

This year’s participating chefs, according to a news release, include:

Abra Berens, former farmer and writer, is chef at Granor Farm in Three Oaks, Mich.. “Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables” is Abra’s first cookbook and is rooted in her experiences as a chef, former farmer, and everyday eater. It will be available in April 2019.

Jamilka Borges, the executive chef at Spoon, one of Pittsburgh’s premier dining destinations. In 2015, she was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as a Rising Star Chef Semifinalist and was honored as Best Chefs America’s Rising Star Chef.

Amy Brandwein, the owner and chef of Centrolina, a combined seasonal Italian restaurant and market in Washington, D.C. She also is known for defeating Chef Masaharu Morimoto on “Iron Chef America.”

Joy Crump, a chef who founded FOODĒ as a home-based private event and catering company in 2008 and grew it to a brick and mortar location in Fredericksburg, Va., two years later with business partner Beth Black. In 2015, they opened their second restaurant Mercantile, a breakfast and brunch experience, in the heart of Fredericksburg.

Jen Jasinski, co-owner of Rioja in Denver. Jasinski grew up in a single-parent household with two siblings who all took turns cooking. She became a chef and was mentored by Wolfgang Puck, then did a stint at a two-star Michelin restaurant in Paris. Jasinski has earned the James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southwest Award and was a finalist on “Top Chef Masters” Season 5.

In addition, six Kentucky-based chefs will be joining Michel to represent the local food scene:

  • Toa Green, Crank & Boom, Lexington
  • Martine Holzman, Martine’s, Lexington
  • Kristy Matherly, Sunrise Bakery, Lexington
  • Samantha Fore, Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites, Lexington
  • Tanya Whitehouse, University of Kentucky Food Connection, Lexington
  • Kristin M. Smith, Wrigley Taproom and Eatery, Corbin

There’s also a Puerto Rican Bistro pop-up on Feb. 10 at FoodChain Kitchen at 501 West West Sixth featuring Borges, chef Agnes Marrero of Smithtown Seafood and pastry chef Dianne DeStefano. It’s $10 for La Mixta Plates plus sandwiches, desserts and cocktails.

Janet Patton covers restaurants, bars, food and bourbon for the Herald-Leader. She is an award-winning business reporter who also has covered agriculture, gambling, horses and hemp.

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