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Issue 43 - The proof of the whisky pudding

Whisky Magazine Issue 43
October 2004


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The proof of the whisky pudding

It's a myth that Kentucky plus food means KFC. Kel McIntyre looks at the chefs that are helping put the state on the culinary map

Kentucky may be responsible for bourbon. Bluegrass. The Kentucky Derby. Astoundingly expensive thoroughbred horses. The Mint Julep. The Manhattan. But it still can't seem to shake that ‘banjo and bible' reputation.

Now, bourbon is helping Louisville's finest chefs explode the myth that food + Kentucky = KFC. Fine dining menus are awash with bourbon-infused dishes. And this Autumn, the state's favourite spirit was the ingredient of honour in a six course dinner at New York's hallowed culinary hall, James Beard House.

The master – Jim Gerhardt, Limestone

Jim Gerhardt richly deserves his reputation as master and commander of the Louisville dining scene.

In September 2003, Gerhardt opened his own restaurant, Limestone, in an affluent neighbourhood north-east of the city. Until then, he had ruled the kitchen in Louisville's internationally recognised Seelbach Hotel.

Limestone's airy dining room is light years from the Seelbach's old world grandeur. High ceilings and open-plan walls play host to art deco chairs, a large copper pot containing ‘by the glass' wines and bright aquariums filled with local fish. What Gerhardt did bring from downtown
is his award-winning cooking style.

“Our mantra is ‘new southern cooking, old southern charm'”, he says. “We take the old flavours of the south and prepare them in a healthier manner with upscale presentation. If it's not from this area, we pair it with something that is.”

He doesn't have to look far to find exceptiona...

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