of Slow Foods Cooking
movement to visit Yew Dell
know chef to host
romantic foods cooking class
Helen E. McKinney
CRESTWOOD, Ky. (February 2011) Kentucky is
a state known for its tradition of southern hospitality, but few restaurants
remain that offer historic dishes. In an effort to preserve traditional
cooking, chef Mark Williams has followed his hunch that many people
want to connect with and support local chefs, farmers and food producers.
Williams has a sensitive pallet for fine food and beverages. As Corporate
Executive Chef for the Brown-Forman Corp., he whips up all sorts of
culinary creations daily at the Bourbon Street Café, the private
dining room for Brown-Forman in Louisville.
He is responsible for writing recipes and designing menus relying upon
a portfolio of some of the finest alcoholic beverages in the world including
Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey, Tuaca liqueurs, Southern Comfort, Woodford
Reserve, Sonoma-Cutrer and Korbel Champagne. His recipes have been published
in magazines, cookbooks and online.
training in Atlanta.
As well as fulfilling his duties as Corporate Executive
Chef, Williams began and continues to maintain an organic and biodynamic
garden at Brown-Forman. It consists of more than 400 half-sized bourbon,
whisky and wine barrels, and two greenhouses. All plant selections are
heirloom varieties and everything is grown from seeds in the barrels
and then used in dishes at the Bourbon Street Café.
Williams is also credited with founding the Slow Food Bluegrass convivium,
which is part of the Slow Food international movement to support sustainable
local food while celebrating traditional regional cuisine. As a Slow
Food regional governor for five southern states, he will be bringing
his cooking talents to Oldham County for a two-hour cooking class at
Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood.
Williams will present Slow Food Cooking for Lovers from 2 p.m. to 4
p.m. on Feb. 13. Three different meal courses will be presented,
all having to do with romantic food, said Siofra Rucker, Director
of Marketing and Development for Yew Dell Gardens.
Slow food cooking is a popular trend spreading throughout the country,
said Rucker. Its the opposite of the way we have been eating.
Its seasonal and more like the way your grandmother cooked.
This cooking method fits with our mission, said Rucker,
of providing more garden-centered activities. Theodore Klein, original
owner of the Yew Dell Gardens property, grew a large garden. The
more we can improve peoples love of the environment, the better,
This is not the first time Williams has visited Yew Dell Gardens. His
culinary skills have allowed him to travel France, Italy, South Africa
and New Zealand. He even worked in Auckland, New Zealand as a chef during
the Americas Cup Yacht Races.
Growing up in the South in the midst of a family of restaurateurs and
farmers, it seemed natural for Williams to make a career for himself
as a chef. His formal culinary training began with an American Culinary
Federation apprenticeship at the Atlanta Athletic Club. While there,
he gained added experience by cooking at the Georgia Governors
Williams attended Georgia State University where he received a bachelors
degree in Hospitality Administration.
His reputation as an expert chef grew and he joined the Buckhead Life
Restaurant Group in Atlanta as the chef at The Fish Market in Lenox
Square. As a testament to his talent, the restaurant received five Best
of Atlanta awards while he worked there.
Williams also spent time in Napa Valley, Calif., as the sous chef at
the School for American Chefs at Beringer Vineyards under Madeline Kamman.
Kamman is an award-winning cookbook author and PBS TV series host. He
then became chef-in-residence at Sonoma-Cutrer Winery in addition to
catering events for Napa Valley clients.
Currently, Williams is a member of the International Association of
Culinary Professionals and the Southern Foodways Alliance. He is a founding
member of the Napa Valley Culinary Alliance, and serves on the board
of advisors for Partners for Family Farms and Sullivan University National
Center for Hospitality.
His creations have enabled him to receive invitations to create meals
for many notable individuals, including former U.S. Presidents Bill
Clinton and George W. Bush, U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Newt Gingrich,
sports legends Muhammad Ali and Arnold Palmer, and a variety of music
and movie celebrities.
Rucker said the best thing about Williamss program at Yew Dell
Gardens is that you dont have to be a great cook to enjoy
it. If there is enough interest, Yew Dell hopes to hold a cooking
series throughout the year featuring other chefs.
Also planned for the summer is a Farm to Table Dinner, utilizing the
produce of local farmers. The Kline family used to have similar dinners,
Reservations are required for Slow Cooking
Food for Lovers. Cost is $20 for Yew Dell Gardens members and $25 for
non-members. For more information please contact Siofra Rucker at (502)
241-4788 or visit www.YewDellGardens.org.
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