Kentucky Ag News

Kentucky Bourbon Affair to feature local food, chefs


Special to Kentucky Agricultural News


FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky Proud, which markets farm-fresh food and ingredients across the Commonwealth, is partnering with the Kentucky Bourbon Affair fantasy camp to showcase the state’s top agricultural offerings and talented local chefs.

From savory culinary pairings with bourbon to fresh cocktail ingredients and even an on-site farmers’ market, Kentucky Proud products will be highlighted throughout events June 3- 7, said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

Bourbon Affair logo

“This is a perfect partnership given bourbon’s rich history and tremendous economic impact with our farming communities,” Gregory said. “And everyone knows that bourbon is a food group in Kentucky.”
The Kentucky Bourbon Affair is an intimate five-day exploration into the state’s signature spirit, featuring behind-the-scenes tours, private barrel selections, and specialty events at the world’s most iconic distilleries and famous Louisville hotspots.

Kentucky Proud is the official state marketing program for farm products raised, grown or processed in Kentucky by Kentuckians. It is administered by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and involves more than 4,000 farmers, retailers, restaurants, school, markets, and parks.

“Bourbon is one of Kentucky's most iconic agricultural commodities, and the Kentucky Bourbon Affair is the perfect vehicle to showcase Kentucky Proud foods to Kentuckians and guests around the world,” said Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer.

“These events are all about celebrating Kentucky craftsmanship and marrying the rich history of bourbon with the care and pride our farm families take in growing food in Kentucky. These products then come alive at the hands of our talented chefs.

“The Bourbon Affair is an opportunity to see Kentucky at its best.”

At several events, top Louisville chefs will be crafting bourbon-themed meals and awarded prizes based on best use of Kentucky Proud products. Louisville is the official host city of the Kentucky Bourbon Affair and is widely hailed as one of the best “foodie” cities in the world.

“Once word got out that we were teaming with Kentucky Proud, the roster of chefs filled up quickly – and it’s growing daily,” Gregory said. “Their wish lists for local ingredients are pretty impressive and clearly demonstrate their passion for our signature spirit and Kentucky-inspired dishes.”

Kentucky Proud food and ingredients will be featured at Wednesday’s opening event, “Bourbon Under the Rocks;” the “Craft to Cocktail 2.0” program on Friday night; Saturday night’s closing “Casabourblanca” gala, and the Sunday Polo on the Waterfront send-off.

The chef lineup includes:

  • Ken Barkley – Captain’s Quarter Riverside Grille
  • Jeff Bridges – Bourbons Bistro
  • Kathy Cary – Lilly’s Bistro
  • Christian Hattemer – Down One Bourbon Bar
  • Dallas McGarity – MARKETPLACE Restaurant at Theatre Square
  • Ryan Rogers – Feast BBQ
  • Paul Sant – Crowne Plaza Louisville
  • Randy Twyford – Twyford BBQ & Catering
  • John Varanese - Varanese

Brunch at the polo tournament will be prepared by Shaker Village’s culinary team, led by former award-winning chef and current vice president of operations David Larson.

“We’re honored to participate in such a special celebration of Kentucky’s native spirit,” said Maynard Crossland, president and CEO of Shaker Village. “Our culinary team uses Kentucky Proud products daily, so this event makes a perfect pairing of local products and seed-to-table execution.”

In addition, the distillers’ association recently named Art Eatables the Official Chocolatier of the Kentucky Bourbon Affair. Art Eatables produces the Kentucky Proud-certified bourbon truffle and is a sponsor of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience.

Tickets to individual Kentucky Bourbon Affair events are still available. Many include souvenir bottles, bourbon-infused lunches, and commemorative gifts. Transportation is included in most ticket prices.

The website for more information and to purchase tickets is

Gregory said the distilling community is honored to be part of the Kentucky Proud program, and he thanked the Department of Agriculture for its tremendous work and support. “Bourbon is all about authenticity, and you can’t get more genuine than Kentucky Proud.”