Chef and Farmer

Louisville restauranteur Kamar of 'Ramsi's' has found a niche in farming

He operates the farm, restaurant with wife, Rhona

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (July 2015) – Whether Ramsi Kamar is in his native country of Jerusalem or in his adopted hometown of Louisville, Ky., his passion for food fuels his everyday existence. As a chef, restaurant owner and farmer, Kamar was honored last year as a Local Food Hero by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
Kamar, along with his wife Rhona, is co-owner of Ramsi’s Café on the World. Located at 1293 Bardstown Rd. in the Highlands, the restaurant offers many organic choices.

Photo provided

Ramsi’s Cafe on the World restaurant has become a mainstay for area residents.

Kamar said he went into the restaurant business because of “a love of people. Our restaurant is the perfect platform to live out our passion. Our customers are as diverse as the local demographics.”
Originally from Jerusalem, Kamar’s family has owned the same home there for 500 years. He came to the United States to attend college, first in North Carolina, then Iowa State University and on to the University of Kentucky for graduate school. He actually received a degree in mechanical engineering, not the culinary arts, as one might think.
While in Lexington at the University of Kentucky, he met his future wife. She grew up in a farming family in Green County, Ky., and has a background in journalism. The Kamars have been married for 20 years.

Photo provided

Ramsi Kamar (far right) was honored in August 2014 by Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner James Comer (far left) and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer along with others as a “Local Food Hero.”

Rhona is co-chef and co-owner of Ramsi’s Café on the World with her husband. “We opened the restaurant a year before we married,” she said.
“We had both worked at Rick Pitino’s Italian restaurant in Lexington. Ramsi became a managing partner in the second location in Louisville. I then joined him in the business.”
Rhona said the couple shares “a passion for food and for serving people. That’s the bottom line.”
Ramsi said his menu choices were designed to attract a diverse crowd. “We offer something for everyone to bring them back.”
The couple uses a lot of produce from local farmers and their own 16-acre farm, Raising Hope Organic Farm. Located in Fisherville, Ky., on the Jefferson-Shelby County line, the Kamars raise herbs, vegetables, apples, pears, cherries, chickens and goats. The farm is certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
because it was a chance to not only hear their stories, but to actually gather and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Being able to eat the food that is grown by local farmers is the best way to connect with them.” Seed Capital Kentucky Inc. helped initiate the award program in 2013.

Photo provided

Ramsi's is owned and operated by Ramsi Kamar and his wife and chef, Rhona (pictured above).

“Louisville and Kentucky citizens consume food produced from thousands of small farmers in Kentucky on a daily basis,” said Mayor Fischer in a press release about the event. “The Local Heroes contest has helped to raise awareness across the entire state not only about how important eating locally grown food is, but just as much about the impact to the farmers who rely on people to buy and eat it.”
“That was an honor,” said Kamar. “It was unexpected to be honored for farming. It is a privilege to serve others. We love Kentucky and we love Kentucky food.”
Heine said that “it goes without saying that Ramsi has a passion for food. Not just serving it, but growing it, caring for the land that it comes from, and using it as a way to bring people together.”
Land stewardship is key to his operation, she continued. “Farmers don’t have to take the added measures to become certified organic growers, but it was important to Ramsi and is a testament to his values.”
For Kamar, land has always been sacred. “It’s a lifestyle,” he said. Kamar is part of a new generation of American farmers who are college educated and motivated by work, with a fascination for scientific methodology.
The winners were chosen by public voting, where about 2,600 votes were cast. “It’s nice that so many people supported us and what we do with farming,” said Rhona.
As if the restaurant business did not keep them busy enough, the couple still finds time to devote to the farm, which Ramsi quickly admits he is very fond of. “It goes along with my passion for food,” he said.
Both husband and wife love the process of watching a seedling go through growth stages to finally become a vegetable or fruit from which to create a dish. “We have a tremendous amount of energy and passion for the business,” said Rhona.    
“The restaurant is always in a state of evolution,” she said. Watching the connection from seedling to finished dish has changed their way of thinking about food. They want to provide “guests with more local food sources and promote a heath conscience menu.”
Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. On Aug. 18, 2014, Kamar was one of three Kentucky farmers honored at the state’s first-ever Local Food Heroes Farm-to-Table Dinner. The other honorees were Michael Lewis of Berea, Ky., and Clay Turner of Russellville, Ky.
The Local Food Heroes Initiative created the contest to honor local food producers. It was sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the Louisville nonprofit Seed Capital Kentucky, Inc. and Louisville Farm to Table.
Caroline Heine, Project Director for Seed Capital Kentucky Inc., said the dinner was “a good way to recognize the heroes.”

Back to July 2015 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta