Books, brews, barbecue and ham: a rundown of upcoming foodie events

This ham will be served up tonight at Corbett's. What Roscoe would give for a hunk of that. (via Facebook)
This ham will be served up tonight at Corbett’s. What Roscoe would give for a hunk of that. (via Facebook)

There’s a dog at my heels convinced that he needs a potty break, an empty suitcase that I need to fill in the next 24 hours and a boatload of news and information that I want to share.

You could say I’m in a bit of a tizzy.

This is going to be a down-and-dirty post. There’s so much happening in Louisville and in my own life that I have to do some USA Today-style bullets to give you a rundown of all the fabulous food events happening in town and a couple of updates from Ashlee Eats HQ.

So take a deep breath, and pray that my dog, Roscoe, can hold his composure until I finish this post.

  • I submitted the first chunk of my manuscript to my publisher, History Press, at the end of last week. Granted, it’s still pretty scrappy, and I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I was super excited to hit my first book milestone. I’l celebrate with a trip to Baltimore this Labor Day weekend with the Mister during which I will gorge myself on crab and Italian food.


  • OK, strike the gorge part of that last bullet. After getting some not-so-great results on a health screening, I’ve been cutting back on the cheeses and red meats, aka, everything that makes life worth living. Maybe it was diner research for the book that knocked my numbers a bit out of whack, but I’ve decided to eat healthier at home and (when possible) out and about. Check out my Pinterest board, Healthier Choices, to see what I’ve been cooking. I highly recommend the red curry lentils.


An un-glamorous shot of the curry lentils I whipped up.
An un-glamorous shot of the curry lentils I whipped up. They tasted better than they look.


Roscoe has fretted himself into a state of severe disappointment, so I’ll keep writing. Open up your calendar in a new tab, because I’m moving on to the food events.

  • Fellow Louisville food writer Steve Coomes has a book out with the same publisher with which I’m signed. To commemorate the release of Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke, six high-profile Kentucky chefs are gathering tonight, Aug. 28, at Corbett’s: An American Place for a dinner inspired by country ham. Cost of the dinner is $95 per person and it includes wine and cocktail pairings with each course and a signed copy of the book (call Corbett’s at 502.327.5058 for reservations and hurry, because space is limited). Can’t swing the price tag? Buy the book and get inspired in your own kitchen.



Yes, this is a little bit of publishing nepotism, but I gotta support my fellow writers in the struggle to sell and hustle. And, they’re good guys and writers.

OK, Roscoe is officially dejected. He’s looking out of the window and contemplating my downfall. I have time for one more event listing:


  • The Home of the Innocents will host their annual Big Ol’ Backyard BBQ next Saturday, Sept. 6. This year’s theme is Luau Style, so I can only imagine the amount of savory, delicious pork that will be served up for a good cause. Chefs who will cook at the fundraising event include Fernando Martinez of Mussel and Burger Bar and Dean Corbett of aforementioned Corbett’s and Equus and Jack’s Lounge. Tickets are $50 (adults), $30 (seniors) and $20 (students 11-18). You can buy tickets by at or by calling 502.596.1025.




The dog has officially started yelping, so it’s time to take him out. And pack. And finish this book. But one thing at a time.

Carve out time for these free Louisville events this weekend

Once upon a time, I was a surly teenager. Not a problem child, mind you, just an adolescent who thought there was nothing to do in this town and couldn’t wait to get out.

Me and the Hubs at 16. We were ready to blow this popsicle stand.
Me and the Hubs at 16. We were ready to blow this popsicle stand.

Jump ahead 10 years. Is it me, or is Louisville a lot more bustling than it used to be? There always seems to be some kind of fair or concert or free something-or-the-other that pile up and fill my Google calendar. Or maybe it’s me who has changed, and I can see how fun this city has been all along. /introspection

Anyhoozers, there are a couple of free events that will take place this weekend in our fair city. So if you can’t find something to do, don’t look at me.

Old Louisville SpringFest

  • What: Vendors, food trucks, artists and 10+ hours of local music; named as one of the Top Roadtrip Destinations for Spring 2012 by Travel+Leisure Magazine
  • When: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 16, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 17
  • Where: Old Louisville
  • More information:


Buy Local Fair

  • What: More than 150 booths showcasing goods and services from a variety of local businesses, musicians, artists and craftspeople, community organizations, and farmers; includes cooking competition between Milkwood’s Chef Kevin Ashworth and RYE on Market’s Chef De Cuisine Joe Bane
  • When: Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 18
  • Where: Louisville Water Tower
  • More information:

Last-minute event alert: March of Dimes to celebrate good food to help babies

This is SUPERSONIC last minute, but the March of Dimes will host a foodie event tonight to raise money for the non-profit’s efforts to fund research to find the causes of premature birth and developing strategies to prevent it.

The March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction will take place today, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Marriott Louisville Downtown. Here’s a rundown of the event, courtesy of the March of Dimes:

  • Guests sample culinary creations from 25 of Louisville’s finest white tablecloth restaurants followed by an exciting live auction featuring experiential dining packages and unique items. The Lead chef is Josh Moore of Volare Italian Ristorante.
  • Participating restaurants include: August Moon Chinese Bistro, Bistro 1860 Wine Bar, Bourbons Bistro, Buck’s Restaurant and Bar, Corbett’s, Jack Fry’s, Lilly’s Bistro, Napa River Grill, Rivue and Varanese.
  • To reserve your table or seat, contact Kim Ulrich at or 502-473-6683.
  • Want to help March of Dimes? Make a donation ( or call March of Dimes Ohio Valley Division at (800) 255-5857 for volunteer opportunities.

Event alert: Butchertown Porktoberfest, Oct. 11, 2013

If you have an aversion to swine, look away.

BBQ smoked pork shoulders (Boston butt roasts)
BBQ smoked pork shoulders (Boston butt roasts) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still on board? Then you might be interested in the first-ever Butchertown Porktoberfest from 5-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at The Pointe, 1205 East Washington Street.

Here’s a blurb about the event from the Butchertown Neighborhood Association:

This barbeque and pork inspired culinary competition will feature live music by Hog Operation and Johnny Berry, local brew from Apocalypse Brewery and food samples from more than 15 of Louisville’s finest restaurants. …

Participating restaurants include Atria, Cellar Door Chocolates, Decca, Farm to Fork, Harvest, Holy Grale, Jack Knife, Momma’s Pickles Mustard and BBQ, Monkey Wrench, Morels, RYE, St. Charles Exchange, Stellar Sweets, The Bristol and Wiltshire.

Don’t fret, vegheads (I say that term lovingly) — there will be vegetarian options at the event.

Admission is free, but bring some cash to buy samples, proceeds from which will benefit the Butchertown Neighborhood Association.

Butchertown Porktoberfest

5-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11

The Pointe, 1205 East Washington Street

For more information:

Weekend road trip: The Taste is casting in Nashville this Sunday

Anthony Bourdain at Maxwell Food Centre, Singa...
Anthony Bourdain at Maxwell Food Centre, Singapore. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Listen up, Louisville chefs, cooks and food lovers.

The Taste, an ABC reality show competition, will hold auditions Sunday, July 14, right down the road in Nashville for the cast of its second season.

The show features celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and celebrity chef/bad-ass Anthony Bourdain.

Nigella Lawson at a Borders book-signing
Nigella Lawson at a Borders book-signing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s more information about the show, courtesy of the casting folks:

In each episode, competitors face team and individual challenges with a variety of culinary themes through several elimination rounds. At the end of each episode, the Mentors judge the competitors’ dishes blind, with no knowledge of whose creation they’re sampling, what they’re eating, how it was prepared or whom they could be eliminating.

Interested? Sign up for casting here. And here’s more information about the event.

Casting for The Taste

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sunday, July 14

The Bridge Building, 2 Victory Avenue, Nashville, Tenn. 37213

Last-minute event alert: Humana Recipe Makeover Challenge, 5.30.13

Full blogger disclosure: I work at the company featured in this blog post. A girl’s gotta eat, amirite?

shrimp & grits
shrimp & grits (Photo credit: joannova, a/k/a foodalogue)

Want to learn how to make a family recipe more healthful?

The Humana Recipe Makeover Challenge will pair three local cooks with some top Louisville chefs to spruce up recipes and make them all shiny and healthy. Here’s a blurb about the event, which takes place at 11 a.m. today at the Humana Guidance Center at 1918 Hikes Lane:

During the challenge, Chef Allen Hubbard from Martini Italian Bistro will be remaking lasagna. The Seelbach Hilton Hotel’s Chef Patrick Roney will reimagine mac-n-cheese. Shrimp-n-grits will receive a healthy makeover from Chef Jeff Jarfi of Jarfi’s Catering. All the remade recipes will be taste-tested by the Guidance Center audience, and everything will be recorded for a future segment of Secrets of Bluegrass Chefs.

If you can’t make it to the event, the Humana Guidance Center is a place worthy of a visit. “It opened seven months ago as a community gathering place where older adults, families and individuals can also receive personal, face-to-face service on their health plans,” according to Humana. Plus, the center is open to everyone, whether or not you’re a Humana member.

WINNER ANNOUNCED: Celebrity chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Michelle Bernstein enjoy Louisville, Southern cooking

UPDATE: Congratulations to Keith and Linda, the winners of the giveaway! Check your emails soon for more information.

Blogger’s note: Man, I have had so much good stuff to give away lately. I have a signed copy of Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s memoir, Yes, Chef, and a signed copy of Chef Michelle Bernstein‘s cookbook, Cuisine a Latina, up for grabs. For a chance to win, leave a comment at the end of this post telling me why you would like to win one of these books. For an additional chance to win, like the Ashlee Eats Facebook page, then leave a comment telling me you like the page. You have until Tuesday, May 7, at 11:59 p.m. to enter to win. I’ll contact and announce the winner Wednesday, May 8.

And in full disclosure, Everywhere Society social network provided me with compensation for this post about Macy’s Culinary Council.  However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

Chef Marcus Samuelsson, me and Chef Michelle Bernstein at the Macy's Culinary Council demonstration.
Chef Marcus Samuelsson, me and Chef Michelle Bernstein at the Macy’s Culinary Council demonstration.

Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson knew how to win over the crowd at his cooking demonstration at Macy’s last week. He brought a bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon and handed out shots to the audience.

Samuelsson and chef Michelle Bernstein stopped by Louisville last week to share recipes and discuss cooking as part of the Macy’s Culinary Council demonstration at Macy’s at Oxmoor Mall.

Samuelsson is the winner of Bravo Network’s Top Chef Masters and a judge on the Food Network competition show Chopped. He is the chef/owner of Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club and American Table Café and Bar in New York City.

Bernstein is has been a judge on Top Chef and competed on Food Network’s Iron Chef America. She is the chef/owner of Michy’s and Crumb on Parchment in Miami.

The demonstration was free and open to the public, there were only about 75 seats available, which made the show intimate and fun. The chefs whipped up dishes, talked a little about their background in cooking and took questions from the audience.

The Macy’s folks invited me to attend the event and interview the chefs (and provided the signed books — thanks, Macy’s!).  Here are some highlights from the evening:

  • Samuelsson and Bernstein are big fans of Louisville’s culinary scene. “Those of us who don’t live here will always want to come back,” Bernstein said. Some stand-out restaurants they mentioned included 610 Magnolia, Proof on Main, Holy Grale and Seviche. Samuelsson compared Louisville to cities like Austin and Brooklyn, places “where craft and artisanal matters.”
  • Think you’re too busy to cook for yourself? It might be time to change your priorities, Samuelsson said. People have put too much value in food being convenient instead of healthy and homemade. “It’s a matter of where you put food on the value ladder,” he said.
  • The chefs cooked Southern dishes with their own personal twists. “Everything that is comfort food (in the South) is $36 in New York,” Samuelsson said. Samuelsson made coconut fried chicken with collards and gravy using chicken from a leftover curry stew. Bernstein served shrimp braised with jerez wine, creamy grits, gremolata and crunchy garlic.
  • Even though she’s an award-winning chef, Bernstein still has trouble getting her toddler son to eat. “He’s my worst critic,” she said. “He spits (my food) out at me.”
  • Macy’s will feature 610 Magnolia and Milkwood chef Edward Lee at its next cooking demonstration. Get more information about that event here. Also, Samuelsson and Bernstein kept referring to Lee as just plain “Ed.” For some reason, this amused me.

Proof on Main welcomes its new executive chef, Levon Wallace, during open house

Vegetarian tostadas at Proof on Main.

Food news doesn’t stop just because I’m tabulating survey results and trying to make the blog fancy.

Take, for instance, the invitation I got last week for a media open house at Proof on Main (the restaurant inside 21c Museum Hotel) to meet the restaurant’s new executive chef, Levon Wallace.

I could have skipped the event and used my time to finish the design of my new logo. But what fun is that?

I took a break from my computer and headed to Proof on Main. I met some fellow food writers, chatted with the former and current executive chef, and ate some tasty samples from Proof’s menu.

Chicken wings at Proof on Main.

Chef Michael Paley, who led Proof for six years, is headed to Cincinnati to be the executive chef of Metropole, the restaurant in the new 21c Museum Hotel in that city. Metropole will be centered around a hearth and have a warm, earthy vibe with food to match, Paley said. He said the atmosphere will be somewhere between Proof and Garage Bar, a wood-oven pizza joint Paley opened about a year ago in the East Market district.

Chef Levon Wallace whipped out platters of hors d’oeuvres that kept me busy munching. There were the sliders with a bacon marmalade, lamb tostadas with a cherry sauce, and fancy hushpuppies filled with fish. YUMS.

Fancy hushpuppies at Proof on Main.

Wallace was pretty busy cooking and mingling, but I got a couple of minutes with him. He said he’s excited to be in Louisville and that this is a great food city. Wallace also said he reads Ashlee Eats. When he told me that, I did a happy dance inside.

Here are some stray observations of the open house:

  • I was the first person to get to the private dining room where the event took place. As one of the 21c employees said, “Well, somebody’s gotta be first.” Indeed, sir.
  • Yesterday was the first time anyone ever asked if I preferred still or sparkling water. Fancy.
  • To be an executive chef, you need a minimum of five tattoos. Both Paley and Wallace sport extensive ink.
  • Mingling is not my strong suit. Nor is keeping my mouth closed when I chew. Sorry, fellow food media folks.

And if you want to go to Proof on Main:

Proof on Main

702 W. Main Street

Louisville, KY 40202

[Bits and Pieces] A Disney princess, Chick-fil-A petition and other food news from the web, 3.5.12

Watermelon - stigmatizing black people for ages. Photo courtesy of dstrelau via Flickr.
  • Remember Tiana, Disney’s first black princess from The Princess and the Frog? In case you forgot, you can find her on packages of watermelon-flavored candy. Not into the fruit flavor? Try the vanilla-flavored pack featuring Sleeping Beauty. This smells a little bit racist. Not up on the “black people love watermelon” stereotype? Read up here. (The Society Pages via Jezebel)
  • First, Paula Deen got heat for having diabetes. Now, Paula and her brother Bubba are the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit. This just isn’t her year. (TMZ)
  • You all know my mixed feelings toward Chick-fil-A, home of the delicious waffle fries, and the company’s support of anti-gay groups (thumbs up to the food, thumbs down to the political views). One New York University student was so adamant against Chick-fil-A coming to campus that she has collected 10,000 signatures supporting the removal of the restaurant from NYU. (Huffington Post)
  • The FDA has approved a pill to cure hangovers. Spoiler alert: it’s aspirin and caffeine. (ABC Action News)

Garage Bar opens tonight in NuLu on East Market Street, features pizza, ham bar

The chef behind Proof on Main in the swanky 21c Museum Hotel will debut a new restaurant in NuLu at 5 p.m. today.

Chef Michael Paley has transformed a former auto service garage at 700 East Market Street into Garage Bar, a casual restaurant with a menu featuring artisan pizza, ham, oysters and a variety of Southern food.

Here’s a blurb about the restaurant’s pizza selections:

Pizza is the heart of the menu. Each pie is 100 percent handmade, naturally leavened, and cooked in a wood-fired brick oven that was built in Naples, Italy by Stefano Ferrara. Pizzas are baked quickly at 850 degrees to produce a thin, chewy crust that is lightly blistered and crisp on the outside.

I love pizza, but there is something more intriguing in the restaurant’s repertoire — A HAM BAR.

The rest of the menu is anchored by the ham bar, which serves up local and regional Country Hams served with Toast and Red Eye Aioli alongside an ever-changing selection of freshly shucked oysters. The ham bar seats seven diners and offers full menu service with a view of the open kitchen and pizza oven.