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Getting to Know the Chefs from the Bourbon and Beyond Festival

September 23rd and 24th is the first ever Bourbon and Beyond Festival.  Set on the Louisville waterfront, festivalgoers will be able to hear from musical acts and taste food from notable chefs.   The list of artists includes Stevie Nicks, Eddie Vedder, Gary Clark Jr. and Steve Miller Band. While I’m excited to hear Stevie Nicks and see all of her flowy clothing, I’m more excited about the food.  Obviously, there’s a difference between how we enjoy music and food. Falling in love with a band is easy.  You hear the song.  It worms its way into your brain and you are forever connected to those chords and that melody.  Food is different.  Although television has developed ways to suggest how food would taste, you still need to be present to savor the meal. Below are some of the chefs that you will definitely want to be present to taste their dishes at the Bourbon and Beyond Festival.

Tom Colicchio

You probably know Tom Colicchio as the head judge on Bravo’s Top Chef.  Colicchio is one of the more intimidating judges. One of my favorite moments from all the seasons is when he cooked a meal for the remaining contestants but first had to put on his weird little glasses that snapped in the front.  It’s a small crack, but it was a humanizing moment for such an intimidating judge.

Colicchio’s Instagram is far less intimidating than his onscreen persona.  You can find his feed riddled with dad jokes and appetizing shots of colorful meals.

I'm losing my marbles over this steak #craftrestaurant

A post shared by Tom Colicchio (@tomcolicchio) on

 Carla Hall

Carla Hall warms my heart.  As a contestant on Top Chef, I resisted her charm because I thought I was too good for a chef whose catchphrase was “Hootie Hoo!” But as the season wore on, she won me over with her authenticity and her talents as a chef. Today, you can find her sandwiched between Mario Batali and Clinton Kelly on The Chew. Hall focuses on Southern Home cooking that leans toward health and wellness. As one of her more recent Instagram posts shows, Hall is always seen with her signature quirky glasses, trendy top and infectious smile.

A whole case of English peas in the @abcthechew kitchen…yes, please! #ilovepeas

A post shared by Carla Hall (@carlaphall) on

Edward Lee

Lee is the chef with the home team advantage.   His restaurants 610 Magnolia, The Wine Studio, MilkWood, and Whiskey Dry are all located in Louisville.   His food goes in the category of dishes that you don’t need to eat to appreciate. As a rule, his creations seem thoughtfully prepared and responsibly sourced.

Amanda Freitag

Freitag’s most visible gig is as a judge on Food Network’s Chopped.  I have a love/hate relationship with Chopped.  I go through spells where just looking at Ted Allen lift up a cloche makes me angry.  Even through unreasonable anger I find that if Amanda Freitag is on the panel I can appreciate her sound reasoning and judgment. She is a woman who can promptly put the cockiest chef in their place without being disrespectful.  The Bourbon and Beyond festival is another opportunity to audiences to judge Freitag’s food for themselves.

Y’all.  I’m Bourbon and Beyond excited to finally get to try some of these chefs dishes in person.   For the longest time I’ve been sentenced to sitting and imagining what their food tastes like.  I hope to see you on September 23 and 24 when the food transforms from something we like on Instagram to something we actually get to eat.




Article written by Megan Suttles

I can't decide if I want to use this space to be witty or insightful. I guess it will be neither.