By Hey Kentucky! on ©February 25th, 2019 @ 9:45pm
During Kentucky’s legislative session, one topic is receiving extra attention: sports gambling. Representative Adam Koenig stops by Hey Kentucky to talk about his bill that would bring legalized sports betting to the Bluegrass.
Want more Hey Kentucky? Check out the rest of Monday’s show from Louisville with Matt Jones and Chip Cosby.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 22nd, 2019 @ 7:00pm
Believe it or not, Top Chef‘s time in Kentucky is about to come to an end. This week, the chefs take one last lap around the Bluegrass before heading to an exotic location for the finale. To the recap!
Quickfire Challenge: Oh yeah, the gardens!
In case those not so subtle shots of the gardens outside the mansion in the past few episodes weren’t indication enough, the chef’s homegrown veggies are the center of this week’s Quickfire Challenge. Tom wakes the chefs up and tells them to come outside. As they stumble around sleepily, I marvel at the fact that they’re all still asleep at 7:50 a.m. That elimination challenge must have kept them up pretty late.
Once in the gardens, Tom introduces Ouita Michel, a Bluegrass culinary pioneer who owns several restaurants in the region, including the Holly Hill Inn in Midway. Not surprisingly, Kentucky girl Sara geeks out a little. Tom also announces that the Last Chance Kitchen winner will be rejoining the competition. (Oh yeah, Last Chance Kitchen!) After beating out Eddie with a fantastic Hidden Valley Ranch dish, Michelle is back, and I don’t think we should forget that her grandmother was a shaman for the most dangerous cartel in Mexico. She’s got sneaky staying power, y’all.
I digress. If you haven’t guessed it by now, the Quickfire Challenge is to harvest the vegetables from their gardens and make a garden-focused dish. The winner will get $10,000. Some chefs (Sara, Kelsey) have taken better care of their gardens than others (Eric), giving them more to work with. After some mild drama (Kelsey burns her hand, Michelle can’t get all of her veggies on the plate), Justin’s radish salad wins.
As Justin is basking in the glow of his $10,000 win, we find out that only five of the six remaining chefs will move on to the finals, which will be held in…Macau, China! Also known as, the Las Vegas of Asia. Or, that place they went in Skyfall. Sucks that one of these chefs has to miss out on that.
Elimination Challenge: Honor thy Mentor
The chefs head to Keeneland, specifically the Sales Pavilion. They’re greeted by Padma and Ouita, who give them their task. For their final meal in Kentucky, the chefs will make a dish inspired by their own “pedigree,” (GET IT, LIKE HORSES) meaning they will make a thank you dish to their culinary mentor, who will join the judges for dinner at the Brown Hotel in Louisville. They’ll have $500 to use for ingredients, but there’s a twist! They’ll get to bid on specialty items, like fish, ham, steak, and vegetables in addition to what they buy at Whole Foods. This whole auction bit is pretty lame, honestly, but at least the Keeneland auctioneer gets some screen time.
Once all the ingredients are in hand, it’s back to Louisville. Here is each chef’s dish and the judges’ reaction…
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 15th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
After cooking for John Calipari and the BBN at Rupp Arena last week, Top Chef: Kentucky tackles two more of the state’s icons: Kentucky Fried Chicken and Muhammad Ali. To the recap!
The episode opens on the six remaining chefs in the Rupp Arena visitor’s locker room, where Sara is still reeling from the waffle mix drama. She apologizes to Adrienne for lashing out, explaining how much Rupp Arena means to her because her grandfather used to bring her to Kentucky games growing up. I hear that. Thankfully, they bury the hatchet and everyone moves on. The chefs drive back to Louisville, and the camera pans over their gardens at the mansion. Remember those? You know they’ll come up again.
Back in the kitchen, the chefs are greeted by Padma and Art Smith, an award-winning chef who loves fried chicken so much he copied Colonel Sanders’ facial hair. For the Quickfire Challenge, chefs are tasked with creating their own blend of herbs and spices ala Kentucky Fried Chicken, but the twist is, they can only use herbs and spices they can identify while blindfolded. Sara and Kelsey are the only two chefs who are even remotely good at this, identifying twelve and eleven spices, respectively. Eric gets seven and Adrienne, Eddie, and Justin six. Justin couldn’t even get salt right. I’m not a chef, but how is that even possible?
So, Sara has a huge advantage and ends up winning, in large part because everyone else undercooks or overcooks their chicken. Congrats, Sara! You don’t get immunity, but you do get $5,000, which should buy plenty of tickets to Kentucky games. Also, now I want fried chicken.
This week’s elimination challenge shines a spotlight on The Greatest Kentuckian: Muhammad Ali. The chefs are asked to make a dish inspired by one of Muhammad Ali’s fights as part of a six-course meal for a charity gala. They’ll have 30 minutes to menu plan, $550 to spend at Whole Foods, three hours to prep and cook, and an additional two hours to cook at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville. This week’s guest judge? Laila Ali, Ali’s daughter. That’s pretty awesome, and everyone fangirls a little bit.
We can see why our judges are fangirling—preach, @TheRealLailaAli! ????
— Bravo's Top Chef (@BravoTopChef) February 14, 2019
The chefs have to decide who is doing which course/famous fight, and Sara initially balks at taking the Fight at Freedom Hall because it means she’ll have to make another Kentucky-centric dish. She makes two of the other chefs draw for it and she ends up with it again, so, you know, tough titties. Little does she know this will end up being a blessing in disguise.
Here’s each dish and the fight it’s inspired by:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 12th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
A picture is captivating the internet today and it comes from my hometown of Danville, Kentucky, where a man caught a 20 lbs. goldfish at a private pond this past weekend.
What you are witnessing is NOT national geographic! It is not a stolen image or edited photo! This is my brother!! Who…
Hunter Anderson, an avid fisherman who works at a bait and tackle shop in Danville, went to the pond with his girlfriend because he heard there were goldfish and koi there. He was right in a big, big way. There’s plenty of debate over whether the catch is a goldfish or a large koi, but there’s no denying it’s a beast. A beast that likes Lee’s Famous Recipe biscuits.
“Believe it or not we ate at Lee’s earlier in the day and I took a piece of Lee’s biscuit and put it on a hook and that fish ate it,” Anderson told WKYT.
The best part? He put the fish back.
“I thought it deserved to swim another day. Maybe somebody else will catch it. Maybe a kid can catch it and be as happy as I was. I was jumping for joy.”
That sound you just heard was Kash Daniel’s truck peeling out of the parking lot as he heads to Danville.
It is no secret that bourbon dominates this state, but the craft beer industry is growing in Kentucky. I want to shed light on this amazing industry and what it means for Kentucky.
We can all agree that February is the worst month of the year, correct? The NFL is over, March Madness doesn’t start for another month, Valentine’s Day is the worst holiday of all time and it’s still cold.
Thankfully for craft beer lovers in Kentucky, there is one thing to look forward to in February, Tailspin Ale Fest.
Tailspin Ale Fest is a winter warmer beer festival held at Bowman Field in Louisville. The event will be held next Saturday, February 16 at 3 pm – 7 pm (2 pm -7 pm for VIP).
Tailspin founders Trevor Cravens and Tisha Gainey knew the historic and iconic airfield would be the perfect location for their winter warmer.
“In my experience, some of the best festivals I’ve been to around the country have as much to do with where they took place as much as they did with what was going on at the event,” Cravens said.
Bowman Field was established in 1919 and is one of the longest continuously operating general aviation airports in the United States.
“We love making it [the airfield] a focus of the beer community for a day,” Cravens said.
Unlike the past five years, no part the festival will not be held inside one of the hangers. Everything will be “outside” under 40,000 square feet of tents with lots (and lots) of heaters.
A beer festival outside in February? Cravens believes that’s the best part.
“We absolutely embrace that it’s outdoors. We kind of think that’s part of the fun, that’s part of the attraction,” Cravens said.
“I would be the first to tell you that doesn’t mean you don’t have to dress warm for the weather. Thankfully we’re in Kentucky. Just because it’s February doesn’t mean it has to be too cold. It’s been 14 degrees at Tailspin and it’s been 68 degrees at Tailspin.”
The weather and location aren’t the only two things that make this beer festival unique.
“Honestly, what truly makes Tailspin stand apart from any event we do, and this is important to craft beer enthusiasts, brewery participation. Ninety-eight percent of the breweries represented at our festival will have a brewery representative.”
“And that’s really important to us and people who’ve been to beer festivals,” Cravens continued. “No one can talk about your beer as well as you can.”
Many of those representatives will be from breweries across Kentucky. Kentucky breweries will have their own area at the festival called Kentucky Heritage section. Cravens put the Kentucky breweries next to each for more than geographical reasons. He put them next to each other because there is a solidarity among them.
“It’s comradery for them. They all know each other. They all want to be around their friends. It’s also a strong statement about what’s happening in Kentucky beer. In the past and probably even now some people look at our state and think it’s lagging in beer, but the truth is there is a lot of really really good beer coming out of Kentucky.”
According to a study by C+R Research company, Kentucky has the 2nd largest brewery growth during the past four years. Kentucky experienced a 43% percent growth in the number of breweries since 2015. Kentucky currently has 1.6 breweries per 100,000 residents at least 21 years old.
And, as you can expect the Kentucky Heritage section is always the most popular at the festival.
“That particular area is usually one of the more crowded sections of the event. People like to know what’s in Kentucky that I can’t get here [Louisville]. We do have some breweries in other parts of Kentucky that aren’t heavily distributed in Louisville. So they get a chance to come up and show off what they’re doing.”
Tailspin will be serving over 250 from 75 breweries across the country. The festival will also feature photo-ops with pin-up girls, a silent disco, a Magnolia Photo Booth, the Bourbon Barrel Beer Bar and the Cider & Sour Bar.
“We don’t have a lot of flagship beers,” Cravens said. “We spend a lot of time and a lot of resources procuring the beers for the festival. A lot of them are, like I said it’s a winter warmer, so a lot of them are bigger beers, barrel-aged stuff and higher ABV. That is in itself what makes Tailspin a special event.”
There is something for everyone at this festival. Beer lover or not, you won’t want to miss this winter warmer. Get your tickets now!
[Ed. Note: This recap contains spoilers for the episode that aired tonight. If you didn’t watch live, consider yourself warned.]
Finally, the Top Chef: Kentucky episode we’ve all been waiting for! This week, the chefs cook for John Calipari, the judges, and a group of fans at Rupp Arena, which Kentucky girl Sara calls the dream of a lifetime. Will it become a nightmare over a box of waffle mix? To the recap!
Quickfire Challenge: Fort Knox of Bouillon Cubes
I’m guessing Fort Knox didn’t make the cut of attractions the show will visit because it’s (sort of) featured in this week’s Quickfire Challenge. Bullion is what you call gold or silver in bulk, so the chefs must solve riddles to open a vault of — wait for it — bouillon cubes. The bouillon cubes will be the only seasonings they’re allowed to use to make a dish for Padma and this week’s guest judge, Ed Lee, a Top Chef alum, James Beard Award nominee, and head chef at 610 Magnolia in Louisville. He’s a pretty big deal on the Bluegrass foodie scene, or, as Kelsey calls him, a “Kentucky King.”
The chefs quickly solve the riddles to open the case of bouillon cubes (although Adrienne guessing lettuce as another word for money has me seriously questioning her intelligence) and get to work. While they cook, we find out that Sara’s mother used bouillon cubes and hot water as a cold remedy (gross) and Eric did his thesis on bouillon cubes (weird). These emotional ties help both land in the top three along with Eddie, but Eddie’s Vegetable Caponata gets the win, which will give him an “incredible advantage” in the elimination challenge.
Spoilers for the Elimination Challenge through the jump…
By Drew Franklin on ©February 04th, 2019 @ 6:26pm
If you’ve ever wanted to star in a romantic comedy alongside Drew Barrymore, here’s your chance.
Barrymore is coming to Kentucky to film scenes for her new movie, “The Stand-In,” about an actress (Barrymore) who trades lives with her stand-in, hence the name of the movie. Shooting locations include downtown Lexington and downtown Versailles. It will shoot later this month.
The Lexington-based production studio, Wrigley Media Group, is asking for extras in Kentucky to potentially appear in the movie, presumably in background shots with no lines or credit whatsoever, because that is my understanding of the role of an extra. I know I said you can star with Barrymore and that’s not exactly true but it’s kind of close because you can say you were in a movie with the Hollywood star and that is still closer than you’ve ever been.
So, to follow up on this opportunity, simply click this link right here and fill out the form. But let me warn you… I will also be auditioning for one of the extra spots, and though I’ve never met Drew Barrymore, I think we have pretty great chemistry going all the way back to our younger days. I was a big E.T. fan and she was in E.T. I watched it all the time and even had an E.T. metal lunchbox. And then there was the time a young Drew Franklin stumbled upon a Playboy magazine with “DREW” in big letters and Barrymore on the cover. I didn’t open it because I wasn’t 18 at the time but it really grabbed my attention because it had my name on it. I think they have to pick me.
According to Google Trends, Kentucky’s most popular Super Bowl snack is taco salad.
Google Trends are always a fascinating glimpse into the regional delicacies and traditions, and their Super Bowl breakdown of the foods searched for most uniquely in each state is no different.
Last time I checked, taco salad is not a regional delicacy and tradition in Kentucky. Google is a liar.
I’m really glad I don’t live in Mississippi, Massachusetts or Iowa.
What’s your favorite Super Bowl snack? And, do you make taco salad? Let us know in the comment section.
After partying on Lake Cumberland last week, Top Chef: Kentucky hops on the Cumberland Parkway and takes I-65 South for a quick trip to Nashville. To the recap!
The chefs arrive at the Grand Old Opry, where they’re greeted by Padma in a denim jumpsuit and slicked back hair because NASHVILLE, Y’ALL. The Quickfire Challenge is actually pretty cool: make breakfast, lunch, or dinner for a mystery country music star based on their rider, aka preference sheet. The singer likes eggs, oatmeal, and red meat, and. Once the dishes are complete, Padma introduces the mystery star: Hunter Hayes. Kelsey immediately freaks out and says she’s been a fan of his since high school, which is odd because I think she’s actually older than him, but hey, at least there’s one country music fan in the house. Despite being super paranoid about people watching him eat, Hayes picks Eric’s oatmeal, Sara’s cauliflower, and Adrienne’s steak as his favorites. Ultimately, it’s Adrienne’s simple steak that wins, which is really impressive because she was so sick on the drive down that she made them pull the car over so she could puke. Adrienne gets an extra hour to cook in the Elimination Challenge, a pretty huge prize.
For this week's Quickfire Challenge, our cheftestants must whip up a meal for a famous country crooner that hits all the right notes! ?
— Bravo's Top Chef (@BravoTopChef) January 31, 2019
It’s NASHVILLE, Y’ALL, so the music theme continues as the chefs are tasked with creating a dish inspired by a music memory. They’ll have two hours to prep and cook and an additional two hours the next day. They’ll serve the dishes at a restaurant downtown for a group of Nashville culinary elites, Kings of Leon lead singer Caleb Followill, his wife, model Lily Aldridge, and of course, the judges.
Here’s each chef’s song and corresponding dish:
Last night, Josh Allen was named the Herald-Leader’s Sports Figure of the Year, another well-deserved honor. Benny Snell and Mark Stoops also finished in the top five, further proof of a banner year for Kentucky Football. Here’s the top ten:
1. Josh Allen, UK Football
2. Benny Snell, UK Football
3. Justify, Triple Crown winner
4. Mark Stoops, UK Football
5. Asia Durr, UofL Women’s Basketball
6. Sydney McLaughlin, UK Track & Field
7. Rachael Denhollander, Louisville attorney and former Michigan gymnast who helped bring Larry Nassar to justice
8. Rondale Moore, Purdue Football, Trinity HS alum
9. Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers, Henry Clay HS alum
10. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz, UofL Basketball alum
How did the KSR crew vote? It probably won’t shock you, but our ballots were decidedly UK-centric.
1. Mark Stoops – Stoops proved the doubters wrong by leading Kentucky Football to its first ten-win season since 1977, and he did it with a strong rushing attack and defense, not a flash-in-the-pan gimmick that’s brought the program national attention in years past.
2. Josh Allen – A former two-star recruit, Allen is now a projected top three NFL Draft pick after a historic senior season at Kentucky; if that’s not proof that Mark Stoops’ method of discovering and developing talent works, I’m not sure what is.
3. Benny Snell – From his first carries as a freshmen, you knew Benny Snell would be special. His hard-running style, mega watt smile, and infectious personality made him a rockstar, right down to when he dropped to his knees in the end zone after breaking Kentucky’s all-time rushing record, a picture-perfect moment.
4. Justify – “It will be a long time before another horse wins the Triple Crown,” they said after American Pharoah did it in 2015. “Not so fast,” said Justify.
5. Dontaie Allen – If not for a season-ending knee injury, the Pendleton County star would probably have finished his high school career as KHSAA’s all-time leading scorer. Instead, he’ll bring Bluegrass roots back to Kentucky Basketball.
6. Neal Brown – After turning heads for four seasons at Troy, the Danville, Kentucky native is finally joining the majors at West Virginia, which could heat up the recruiting wars in the Commonwealth for years to come.
7. Sydney McLaughlin – The best one-and-done Kentucky’s had in years.
8. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – On a team full of fresh faces, Shai stood out for his relentless work ethic, which turned him from a four-star recruit into a lottery pick.
9. Craig Skinner – Capturing Kentucky fans’ attention in sports other than basketball and football isn’t easy, but Skinner has managed to do it, turning UK Volleyball into a perennial powerhouse.
10. JJ Williams – The face of a rising Kentucky Soccer program, Williams led the Cats to a historic season before being selected 18th in the MLS Super Draft.
1. Benny Snell — Not only did Snell break an elusive all-time rushing record to lead UK to its first ten-win season in 41 years, he made Kentucky football cool. That kind of infectious energy is something that cannot be taught or replicated.
2. Justify — He could not be slowed by the wettest Derby in history, nor was he fazed by Pimlico’s fog. Unfortunately, American Pharoah’s recent run took away too much of the spotlight from Justify’s Triple Crown victory.
3. Mark Stoops — The SEC Coach of the Year could have (and probably should have) won the national award as well for turning UK into a 10-win team.
4. Josh Allen — Arguably the greatest defender in school history, an NFL general manager will lose his job for passing on Allen.
5. Sydney McLaughlin — What records didn’t she break?
6. Josh Paschal — The Kentucky defensive end was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in the preseason and finished the year on the football field. His fight and determination to beat cancer motivated his teammates and inspired fans across the Commonwealth.
7. Rondale Moore — Moore immediately grabbed the spotlight, setting an all-purpose yards record in his nationally televised debut, before he became the catalyst in an upset victory over Ohio State, a win that galvanized the Purdue community amidst Tyler Trent’s courageous battle against cancer.
8. Cameron Lancaster — Louisville City became the first USL team to go back-to-back, thanks to Lancaster’s efforts.
9. Craig Skinner — Few Kentucky teams can say they went undefeated in conference play, and Skinner’s 2018 team is one of them.
10. Johan Cedergren — UK’s best men’s soccer season ever would not have happened without Cedergren.
1. Josh Allen — Defense was the key to Kentucky’s historic 2018 football season and Josh Allen was the face of it. In my opinion, Allen is the best to ever do it in Lexington; and though the same can be said of Benny Snell, I give Allen the slight nod because he was also the best in the entire country and should be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
2. Benny Snell — Like Allen, I think Benny Snell is the best to ever play his position at the University of Kentucky. The numbers speak for themselves, but he also had that charismatic personality rarely seen out of the football program. Putting him second wasn’t easy.
3. Justify — Only two record-breaking seasons from Kentucky football players can top a Triple Crown winner. If Justify had suited up with Allen and Snell in the Citrus Bowl, I might’ve put him first.
4. Mark Stoops — A case can be made for Mark Stoops at No. 1 on this list, but a big part of his success came from the play of Allen and Snell. Of course, he recruited those two under-the-radar prospects and helped mold them into the otherworldly talents they became, but I still have him running third among the three Sports Figure of the Year contenders from the football program. It’s crazy to think the head coach of UK’s first 10-win season in forever would finish fourth in the voting, but here we are.
(I feel good about my top-four picks after they finished in the same order.)
5. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — I admit Gilgeous-Alexander is a little high on my list — he didn’t even make the Top 25 in the overall voting — but I remember when he walked onto campus as a four-star recruit and I remember when he single-handedly won games for Kentucky and then I remember him being picked 11th overall in the draft and now the Clippers love him. It was a very impressive rise in one year and he is still rising.
6. Rondale Moore — A former Trinity star, Rondale Moore led all of college football in receptions in his true freshman season at Purdue, and earned First-Team All-American honors as an all-purpose player. On top of that, he probably played a big role in Jeff Brohm turning down Louisville, which I found HILARIOUS.
7. Sydney McLaughlin — I don’t know exactly how many records Sydney McLaughlin broke at UK but it was a lot. And then she signed a mega-deal to be the new face of New Balance and she’ll be one of the superstars for the U.S.A. in the next Olympics. Kentucky was lucky to have her for a year.
8. Donovan Mitchell — As much as it pains me to admit it, I enjoyed watching Donovan Mitchell’s unexpected rise to stardom with the Utah Jazz, especially in the playoffs. And if not for a second-year Ben Simmons taking advantage of a loophole in the system, Mitchell would’ve been the NBA’s Rookie of the Year last season.
9. Vince Tyra — Former Kentucky baseball standout Vince Tyra took on a shitty job as the leader of a shitty athletic department. He got a sympathy vote from me for all he has to deal with, and it looks like the Chris Mack hire is going to work out.
10. Justin Thomas — As a big golf fan, I had to include Justin Thomas, last year’s winner of the Sports Figure of the Year award. He was the tour’s money leader with $8,694,821 in earnings in 2018.
By KSR on ©January 27th, 2019 @ 7:00pm
By Michael Moeller
This is the story of a craft beer con man who traveled across the United States and abroad – a man who knew how to exploit the shared weakness of most small businesses – talk a big enough game and a background check won’t be required. Talk an even bigger game and even fool business partners and investors.
In the beginning there were exploding bottles, infected batches, and angry customers from across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The longer the brewery stayed open, the more rumors and complaints piled up within the beer community.
Despite the many issues, St. Arnulf Alery, a new brewery in Cadiz, Kentucky, announced on social media that a beer garden was under construction in late September 2018.
And then nothing.
Without explanation or warning, the beer stopped flowing. Distribution stopped. Contact ceased.
It wasn’t until a few days before Christmas 2018 that St. Arnulf Alery’s owner, Molly Oliver, confirmed in a Tweet that the business was no longer in operation.
I spoke with Molly and her husband, Brandon Oliver, about what happened.
In early 2017, Foster approached the Olivers, the owners of Black Hawk Farms, with a business proposal. He was a brewer and he needed a brewery. Foster mentioned that he moved back to his childhood home of Kentucky after brewing in Florida. He wanted his two kids and wife to experience Kentucky how he had.
Foster had a plan. He asked for $25,000 in start-up funds to start brewing beer in the Oliver Farm grain bin. He would split beer sales 50/50 with the owners.
In August 2017, St. Arnulf Alery, LLC was incorporated. Soon after, the farm refit the grain bin, brewing equipment was purchased and installed. Beer was being made and distributed and consumers were purchasing. And complaining.
I asked Brandon Oliver his opinion on Foster.
“Intelligent. Smooth. And he would talk down to others. But what he was doing was ass-stupid…” Oliver’s opinion of Foster was that he wasn’t really inept at handling equipment of any kind.
Various accounts in the region indicated that Foster began asking for more investors. He reportedly wanted to expand the business into Florida and additional states. He and Arnulf’s beer rep would take samples to Tampa and St. Augustine, meeting with distributors and craft beer bloggers. During this time, the beer rep admits that Foster didn’t always pay her the amount promised, and sometimes would pay her with funds, as Foster told her, via his “old bearer bonds” instead of through the company’s normal payroll system.
In September of 2018, Foster began working on a taproom and it took the form of an outdoor beer garden on the Oliver property. One day, weeks later, Foster asked his assistant to meet him at 9 a.m. the next morning to brew.
Foster never came back.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 26th, 2019 @ 11:00am
This week on Top Chef: Kentucky, the chefs travel to one of the state’s most beautiful attractions, Lake Cumberland, where we get to see who can throw the best houseboat party. To the recap!
I immediately like this episode because instead of dallying around with a Quickfire Challenge, Padma comes in and tells the group they’re going on a road trip to Lake Cumberland, the houseboat capital of the world. Being the Kentucky girl that she is, Sara points out that Kentucky has more shoreline than Florida, a fact imprinted on all of our brains thanks to that tourism commercial from a few years back. Seriously, that should be the new state motto.
Anyways, the chefs are split into teams of two, with Eddie, the winner of last week’s Elimination Challenge, electing to take an extra person due to the odd numbers. Each team will be tasked with throwing a party for 100 guests on a houseboat. The prize? A trip to the BMW M School in Greenville, South Carolina, which means we get to see the chefs try out the navigation systems on their fleet of BMWs, which will never be as good as Waze.
On the drive, the chefs plan their menus and immediately, you can tell who’s going to do well. The Green Team — Eric, Justin, Kelsey, and Sara — focuses on making the houseboat party a party, with fun food like oysters, shrimp rolls, puppy chow, and Jello shots, while the Blue Team — Adrienne, Brian, David, Eddie, and Michelle, plans a Tiki-themed bash, which could be fun but we know will not be when Michelle suggests trivia as a way to liven things up. This is a boat party, Michelle, not KSBar on Wednesdays.
Tune in TONIGHT @ 8/7c for a special crossover episode of Top Chef! pic.twitter.com/jIKsxyPrSM
— Bravo's Top Chef (@BravoTopChef) January 24, 2019
When the chefs get to the dock, they’re greeted by some true Bravo celebrities: Captain Lee and Captain Sandy from Below Deck and Below Deck: Mediterranean. Seeing the captains take the chefs on a tour of the boats is great because they’re used to working on multi-million dollar yachts, not state dock owned houseboats. Kate and Hannah would have put a way better spin on the kitchen than Captain Lee’s “This is what you’ve got to work with.” I digress.
The chefs get to work, and as the Green Team surges, the Blue Team starts to sink. Not only is Adrienne feeling sick, the power on their boat goes out. Tom drops in for a visit and brings with him…Emeril Lagasse! Tom tries to provoke a little SEC trash talk between Emeril, an Ole Miss fan, and Kelsey, an Alabama fan, but Kelsey wisely doesn’t take the bait. Over at the Blue Boat, the power is still out but they’re making the best of it, cooking via Sternos and chafing dishes while the repairmen try to get them back up and running (I saw your Kentucky hat, sir. Well done).
While the Green Team is getting drunk off jello shots and blowing up balloons, the Blue Team toils away. The power comes back on around 12:30 a.m., which Brian declares a “Lake Cumberland miracle,” which I’m pretty sure is just what most people call finding an empty cove.
The next morning, it’s time to prep and party. Here are the menus:
- Kelsey: Oysters with cocktail sauce, lemon juice, hot sauce, horseradish, and pickled watermelon rind
- Kelsey: Key Lime “puppy chow” (cereal with white chocolate, coconut, banana, and key lime)
- Justin: Watermelon salad with tequila-marinated shrimp and basil croutons
- Sara: Shrimp roll with trinity, herbs, Meyer lemon zest on a brioche roll
- Eric: Beer battered fried walleye with West Indies escabeche sauce
- “Jiggle Juice” shots: Maker’s Mark, peach, mint tea, gelatin
- David: Seafood dumpling with scallops, black bass, caramelized onions, and spiced coconut broth
- Brian: South Pacific style porchetta with papaya, peanut, and cilantro salad
- Adrienne: Grilled salmon tacos, corn salad, chipotle aioli and red cabbage slaw with chimichurri
- Eddie: Poached shrimp with herb aioli, prosciutto, and fresh horseradish
- Michelle: Potato chip crusted bass with onion dip sauce
In one of her many brilliant moves in this episode, Kelsey puts the oyster shells in the dishwasher to clean off the grime. In a not so brilliant move, Brian decides to serve his porchetta from the hot tub. In sneakers. During the summer. After being awake for 24 hours. Kudos to him for trying to make the Blue Team’s party more fun, but if I saw this, I would just think it’s weird.
Pontoons and ski boats descend upon the houseboats and the party begins. Just as the judges start making their rounds, a potential disaster hits the Green Team: the power upstairs is being tricky and Eric’s fryer for his fish won’t get hot enough. His teammates do an excellent job of stalling for him while he runs downstairs to fry the fish in the kitchen. Despite the hiccup, all of the judges love his dish. Padma DOES NOT love the Jiggle Juice:
While the Green Boat is rocking, the Blue Boat is…well, not rocking. Adrienne is too sick to serve her dish, so everyone scrambles to cover for her, make small talk with the guests, and in Brian’s case, sweat in the hot tub. One guest describes the mood as “subdued and down,” which is not exactly what you want out of a houseboat party.
To no one’s surprise, the Green Team wins because their party was more fun and they cooked a lot of their dishes in front of the guests, making it even more entertaining. The judges praise all of the Green Team’s dishes and Eric for his grace under pressure when his fryer wouldn’t work, but it’s Kelsey who gets the win. Not only were her oysters simple, delicious, and COLD, her Key Lime puppy chow party favor was a nice touch. No wonder she kills it in the catering business.
The Blue Team gets mixed reviews, with the judges rightfully calling out David for his seafood dumpling soup. Who wants to eat soup at a party in the summer? Tom calls Eddie’s shrimp cocktail skewer “rubbery” and complained that Michelle’s fish was cold; however, it’s Brian who goes home for making a porchetta that wasn’t really porchetta. Or good, for that matter. After lashing out at his team for not standing up for him (remember, he’s been awake for over 24 hours and standing in a hot tub in soggy sneakers), Brian boards a pontoon and rides away into the sunset.
Next week: Nashville!
If they don’t make hot chicken for their Quickfire Challenge, why does this show even exist?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 18th, 2019 @ 6:00pm
Finally, a Top Chef Kentucky with some more Kentucky! This week, the chefs try their hand at an iconic Kentucky dish and celebrate the state’s bountiful produce and livestock. Well, some of them do, at least. To the recap!
Quickfire Challenge: Reimagine the Hot Brown
The hot brown is one of Kentucky’s most famous dishes, and after hearing about its history, the chefs are tasked with putting their own spin on it. Lena Waithe, an insanely talented actor, screenwriter, and producer, serves as guest judge, and if you haven’t seen the Thanksgiving episode of “Master of None” for which she won an Emmy, consider it your homework.
This Quickfire Challenge is a tough one—will the Cheftestants crack under the pressure? ??
— Bravo's Top Chef (@BravoTopChef) January 17, 2019
Justin and Kentucky girl Sara are the early favorites for the Quickfire Challenge since both serve hot browns in their restaurants. Unfortunately, Sara’s take on the dish, a Scotch Egg, doesn’t get on the plate in time and she’s disqualified, not the first time she’ll struggle in this episode. Of the other hot browns, Padma and Lena give low marks to Brian’s “Nashville Hot Turkey,” which was too dry, and Kelsey’s “Croque Madame Hot Brown,” which had a vinaigrette sauce instead of mornay and was therefore wayyyy too healthy to be considered a Hot Brown. Eddie and Adrienne’s hot browns draw praise from Padma and Lena, but it’s Justin’s “Kentucky Fried Breakfast Brown” that gets the win. As someone who isn’t a fan of hot browns (which I’m sure is because I’ve never tried the one you’ll recommend), even I will admit that it looks delicious:
Elimination Challenge: Carne, Carne, Carne!
The show finally shines a spotlight on Kentucky’s bountiful produce and livestock in this episode, featuring Kentucky Proud products, locally grown ingredients, and locally raised livestock, specifically, beef. Famous chef Nancy Silverton comes in to help Padma present the challenge, which is to prepare a cut of Foxhollow Farm beef assigned to them. All of the chefs are starstruck by Nancy, which I’m sure if totally justified, but I save my fangirling for Dario Cecchini, aka the Mad Butcher of Panzano, who will break down the beef into cuts for the chefs. My husband and I went to Dario’s butcher shop when we went to Italy a few years ago, so this is a huge treat for me. As I wrote on the site afterwards, Dario is a true character and a master of his craft, so good on Top Chef for bringing him in. (That reminds me, we need to use some of that delicious herb salt we bought.)
Anyways, the chefs draw knives to see which cut of meat they’ll be working with. They’ll have 10 minutes to choose local Kentucky ingredients from the pantry, 30 minutes and $100 to spend at Whole Foods, and two hours the next day to prepare a dish for a group of local Kentucky farmers, and, of course, the judges. Brian, who works at a butcher shop on the side, is particularly stoked for this challenge, which Top Chef has taught us is either a really good or a really bad sign for his chances.
The next day, the chefs meet Dario at Decca, a restaurant in Louisville, and my man lives up to his reputation, sharpening his knives while growling “Carne!” and smiling maniacally as he breaks down the cow with ease. From there, the chefs take their cuts of meat and head to the kitchen to get to work.
I won’t bore you with the specifics of each dish, but it’s clear early on who’s in trouble. Kentucky girl Sara drew beef plate as her cut, which she admitted she’s not familiar with. She made it into a sausage, but the casings were too thick, resulting in a soft texture. As a last ditch effort, she throws the pieces in a pan in hopes of adding some crunch, but knows it’s not enough to save her dish. She says she’s “100 percent sure” she’s going home.
Meanwhile, Brandon and David both make steak tartare, which Tom rightfully calls them out on when he visits the kitchen. Brandon’s cut is a loin, so a delicious grilled NY Strip is an obvious choice, but he’s sticking with the tartare because his other attempts at steak so far this season haven’t landed him in the top three. As he’s making his vinaigrette, the top to the grape seed oil bottle falls off and ruins it, forcing him to add xanthan gum to thicken it. You can tell this isn’t going to turn out well.
Brian’s cut is the rib so he makes a charred ribeye, which sounds great, but he cuts off all the good parts. What should be a celebration of meat looks sad, and Tom tells the others after he samples it, “I don’t know how you could cook a piece of meat this poorly.” Ouch.
Most of the chefs struggle with this challenge but a few manage to do justice to the ingredients. Even though he has immunity, Justin nails his flank steak by keeping it simple with a marinade, some polenta and mustard greens. Similarly, Adrienne’s “Black and Bleu” NY Strip with bleu cheese and collard greens is full of flavor. Eddie draws praise for trying something different: ground brisket stuffed in local romaine, a spin on the Polish dish “Golumpki” to honor his Polish heritage.
After scolding the chefs for having “collective amnesia on how to deal with beef” (an awesome burn), Tom praises the three who actually did well: Justin, Adrienne, and Eddie. Eddie gets the win, his first solo victory of the competition, and ditches his resting bitch face for a smile! His prize is an apron signed by Dario and a trip to Tuscany to visit his butcher shop. I’m incredibly jealous. GET THE HERB SALT, EDDIE.
Sara, Brandon, and Brian end up in the bottom three. Tom tells Brian to “stop cooking scared,” aka, don’t torture a piece of meat that’s great all on its own, and lights into Brandon when Brandon reveals he used the xanthan gum as a thickener. Sara is moved to tears when Padma tells her how disappointed she is that a Kentucky girl struggled so much on a Kentucky challenge, but the judges are so pissed about Brandon’s thickener that he’s the one to go home instead. Get it together, Sara!
My Old Kentucky Home Takes
— Some of the Kentucky Proud products featured on the show:
- Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheeses (shoutout to Barren River Lake!)
- Evans Orchard produce (Georgetown)
- Weisenberger Grits (Midway)
- Elmwood Stock Farm Corn Meal (Georgetown)
- Townsends Sorghum Mill Pure Cane Sorghum (Jeffersonville)
- Gilkison Farm Black Raspberry Jam and cheese (Winchester)
- Foxhollow Farm beef (Crestwood)
— Did you know Kentucky is the largest beef-raising state east of the Mississippi? Me neither, but soon, all of my friends will.
Next week: Lake Cumberland with Below Deck‘s Captain Lee and Below Deck Med‘s Captain Sandy! Now we’re talking!
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 17th, 2019 @ 11:30am
If you thought you spotted Dwight Schrute from The Office in Oldham County recently, well, you may have been right.
Rainn Wilson, the actor who portrayed Dwight, is one of the stars of “Don’t Tell A Soul,” a new film that filmed in various locations in Oldham County. In an interview with Wave 3, Wilson said he enjoyed his time in the Bluegrass.
“People in LA are jerks but people in Kentucky are very nice. So I’m thinking about relocating. Do you guys have beaches here anywhere?”
Wilson’s favorite thing about Kentucky, other than the people? The Abbey of Gethsemani near Bardstown.
“I don’t do bourbon, horse racing, drinking, partying, anything like that. Everyone else went out to shoot guns. And I went to the monastery.”
Wilson may not do bourbon, but has he tried the Abbey’s bourbon fudge? To die for.
You can now call Louisville’s airport “The Greatest.”
This afternoon the Louisville Airport Authority announced the city’s airport, formerly known as Standiford Field, will now be known as Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. The three-digit code will remain SDF; Alice International Airport in Texas had first dibs on the the ALI code.
The three-time Heavyweight Champion now has a street and an airport that bears his name. Frankly, this Louisvillian wouldn’t mind if more things were named after the Louisville Lip. I hear there’s a football stadium that needs a new name.
While I think of more places that could use Ali’s name, enjoy this YouTube rabbit hole of The Greatest.
By Hey Kentucky! on ©January 14th, 2019 @ 9:30pm
Kentucky will elect a governor in November of 2019. Today on Hey Kentucky, a Republican who is trying to oust Matt Bevin joined the show to talk about the race.
Republican State Representative Robert Goforth explained why he decided to run against an incumbent from his own party, the details of a bill he introduced to the state legislature and much more in this one-on-one interview with Hey Kentucky.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 11th, 2019 @ 12:00pm
After back-to-back Restaurant Wars episodes, Top Chef: Kentucky finally showed us a little more Kentucky last night, specifically, the Rathskeller at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville. To the recap!
Oh yeah, Last Chance Kitchen is a thing
Unless you’re a diehard Top Chef fan, you probably don’t pay any attention to Last Chance Kitchen, the show’s online spinoff where eliminated chefs compete for the chance to get back on the show. After Nini was sent packing for her poor front of house management last week, she’s back to face off against last season’s runner up, Brother Luck, which I refuse to believe is a real name. Instead of a Quickfire Challenge this week, the chefs are split up to help either Nini or Brother Luck get back in the competition. Naturally, this is pretty awkward for those that are put on Brother Luck’s team, like Kelsey, who is close friends with Nini. But, Kelsey’s competitive spirit wins out and she, Kentucky girl Sara, Eddie, Brian, and Adrienne help carry Brother Luck to the win. So, for the second week in a row, Nini is eliminated. That’s gotta sting.
Elimination Challenge: Prohibition Era-style party
Speakeasys are all the rage these days, and Louisville’s Seelbach Hotel is the perfect setting for this week’s Prohibition Era-style challenge. The chefs are tasked with creating a canape to pair with a classic cocktail of the time period for 100 guests. Nic Christiansen, the beverage director of Butchertown Grocery, introduces the cocktails they’ll have to choose from: Gin Rickey, Southside Fizz, Old Fashioned, The Last Word, Whiskey Sour, and the 12 Mile Limit. Only two chefs can be pick a certain cocktail, meaning the last to pick may not end up with their first choice. They’ve got 30 minutes to shop at Whole Foods, three hours to prep and cook, and an additional hour before the party starts the next day.
While the chefs take their fleet of red BMWs to Whole Foods, we learn more about Brother Luck, whose parents were exotic dancers. Maybe his name really is Brother Luck. Some of the other chefs — cough, Kelsey, cough — are a bit standoffish because of their loyalty to Nini, but he makes the best of an awkward situation. Speaking of Kelsey, we find out she used to have a dog named Gatsby, which makes me immediately like her more because same.
All of the chefs are impressed by the Seelbach Hotel when they arrive the next day, and rightfully so. I’ve never been to the Rathskeller bar, but it is a stunner, right out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel — literally. As the guests file in to the dining room, Tom, Padma, Graham Elliot and guest judge chef Ken Oringer make their entrance, all decked out in 1920’s attire, which makes me wonder if Padma came up with this challenge just so she could wear that flapper dress.
Break out your flapper dresses and top hats, we're headed back to the Roaring 20's!
— BravoTopChef (@BravoTopChef) January 10, 2019
Here’s each dish with the corresponding cocktail:
- Eddie: Bourbon-cured salmon crudo with peach puree, caramelized orange gastrique, and brown butter
- Justin: Duck a l’orange with duck liver mousse, bourbon, and greens
- Brandon: Duck and artichoke croquette with pickled fennel relish
- Michelle: Liver mousse gougeres with pickled cherries
- Brother Luck: Chicken salad with cucumber, peanut sauce, beef liver mousse, fresno chiles and herbs
The Last Word
- Brian: Pork, fennel, and Calabrian chile sausage with basil and fennel gnocchi
- Sara: Bay scallops, avocado, eggplant, and crudite
- Kelsey: Scallop ceviche, rhubarb cherry consomme, and corn puree
- Eric: Oysters with bourbon and rum mignonette, grenadine nage floater and pumpernickel
- David: Shrimp tartare, cucumber, apple and radish
- Adrienne: Shrimp and avocado toast with cucumber, watermelon, juniper, and serrano chile
The judges like Kelsey’s scallops, Eric’s oysters, and Eddie’s bourbon-cured salmon the most, with Graham going as far to say the oysters were one of the best things he’s eaten in a while. As a result, Eric gets the win. Congrats, Eric!
As good as the top three dishes were, the bottom three dishes were bad. Tom says Sara’s bay scallops with avocado and eggplant tasted like “a dip you’d find at a table at a PTA meeting.” Ouch! Brian’s sausage and gnocchi didn’t fare much better, with Tom saying it tasted like “sand in a cup” and Padma comparing the gnocchi to a “greasy sponge.” Ultimately, because Brother Luck’s chicken dish with liver mousse was too spicy and had nothing to do with his cocktail, he is sent home. Brother, we hardly knew ye.
Next week: A butchering challenge with Dario Cecchini, the Mad Butcher of Panzano! I can’t wait.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 09th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
There’s a story captivating the Commonwealth and it has nothing to do with sports. A bullet hole was found in a 25th floor window of the Fifth Third Bank Building, aka the Big Blue Building, in downtown Lexington and no one knows how it got there.
The hole, approximately the size of a baseball, was found on Tuesday morning when employees arrived at work. It was not there when they left on Monday. Photos from LEX18:
Jared Lorenzen’s friend works in the office and shared this picture:
Where was the gun fired from? The Big Blue Building, at 30 stories, is by far the tallest building downtown and the bullet appears to have been fired from the outside, not the inside. The guys discussed the mystery on today’s show, so if you missed it, listen to the podcast to catch up on their theories and share your own in the comments.
NOTE: If you didn’t read the LEX18 story, police found fragments of a bullet among the shattered glass.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©January 04th, 2019 @ 8:00pm
This week’s Top Chef: Kentucky picks up where last week’s left off: Restaurant Wars. Just before the doors to their pop-up restaurants opened, the chefs were informed that this is a double elimination, meaning two of them are going home. But, you know, no pressure or anything. To the recap!
Guests start to file in to each of the three restaurants, and to my surprise, look who it is: TERRY MEINERS! Being the Kentucky royalty that they are, Terry and his wife Mary were invited to the taping and ate at North East, the restaurant run by Eric, Eddie, Adrienne, and Brian. This ended up being a blessing. More on Terry later.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how each restaurant fared when the judges hit the floor:
North East: Eric, Eddie, Adrienne (Executive Chef), and Brian (Front of House)
Apparently assigning numbers to tables and getting the correct dishes to them is really hard because each team struggled with it; however, Adrienne and Brian seem to tackle this issue better than the rest. I had to laugh when the hostess didn’t recognize Padma and her power suit when the judges walked in, but hey, that’s probably good for Padma. Humbling.
The judges worry the rest of the patrons’ food is coming out too slowly, so Brian and Adrienne kick it in to gear and get the food out. Tom says Brian’s chicken ballotine is perfectly cooked, which is surprising given the attention to it in last week’s episode (usually a death knell). Eddie’s striped bass crudo was dubbed “the forgotten crudo” by a patron because it was so bland, but his NY strip is great and his puree “eats like magic” (whatever that means). The pork in Eric’s scallops dish is way too salty, which you could have guessed when Adrienne admits it was the one dish she didn’t have time to taste. The judges love Adrienne’s cheese course and the peach dessert. Bland crudo and salty pork aside, North East did great, and Adrienne and Brian worked together well. Watching Terry Meiners sneak glances at the judges in the background is an added bonus.
By Nick Roush on ©January 04th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
One of Kentucky’s finest is one of the best to ever play Survivor.
Williamsburg native and UK alumnus Nick Wilson won season 37 of Survivor, David vs. Goliath, in December. This morning he spoke to T.J. Walker and I about his experience for more than 30 minutes on Kentucky Roll Call.
The conversation was not like most radio interviews. Nick and I spent a couple years living together in a soon-to-be condemned fraternity house. T.J. is a lifelong Survivor fan. Between the two of us, we spent plenty of time geeking and picking his brain about how the reality show works.
Filmed in the spring, Nick had to keep show secrets for about seven months. That was not his greatest dilemma. That occurred as the Kentucky fan was departing for Fiji in the middle of the NCAA Tournament.
“I watched the first half of the Sweet 16 game in my hotel room. We were in the airport during the second half. I was like, ‘Can I go to the bathroom?’ I went to the bar and looked for the highlights and saw we lost,” Nick said. “I was probably the only Kentucky fan in the country that was glad we lost. I was so relieved.
“I cannot have the Cats going on a Final Four run when I am cut off from society for two months. That would’ve been all I thought about for the next six, seven weeks. I was so excited during the first half. I was like, ‘Let’s go Cats!’ Then once I stepped away from the TV, I was like, ‘Holy crap. If they win, I’m going to go crazy.'”
Kentucky’s loss was Nick’s gain. He kept his sanity throughout his Survivor experience, thanks to his small-town Eastern Kentucky roots.
“I gotta win for them. I felt like if I didn’t win I wouldn’t get everything out of this experience for me and the community,” he said.
“It motivated me, and that’s the God’s honest truth. When we would ride that boat to a challenge, I would think that I know when I get home and this is airing that everybody’s going to be so excited for me and supporting me non-stop. I wanna make ’em proud. The area we live in Southeastern Kentucky, where kids — I remember being in school and teachers ask, ‘What you wanna do?’ And they wouldn’t know or care. I wanted to win or at least do really well so people can look up to me because it’s a dream I had forever. I kept trying and trying until I got it. I worked hard for it and I felt like I earned it.”
Nick did not disappoint anybody in his community when he earned $1 million as the season 37 winner of Survivor.
The Survivor conversation begins around the 33-minute mark of today’s podcast.
Nick gets more bonus points for celebrating his victory at KSBar.