Kentucky Bluegrass Ball Announces its 2009 Celebrity Chef

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Chef Michael Paley of the renowned  restaurant, "Proof on Main", in Louisville Kentucky has been chosen to be the  guest executive chef at the 2009 Kentucky Bluegrass Ball.  The  Kentucky Bluegrass Ball, the  quadrennial black-tie celebration of the Presidential Inauguration and the  kick-off the 2009 Inaugural Ball Season, is getting ready for a fun filled night  with Kentucky celebrities, Kentucky entertainment and Kentucky  foods. The Bluegrass Ball will be held on Monday,  January 19, 2009 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington DC and is  sponsored by the Kentucky Society of Washington. Chair,  Anne-Marie Kelley:  "The Kentucky Society is very pleased to have a  chef of Michael Paley's caliber to highlight to Washington and the rest of  the country the wide variety of exciting products Kentucky has to offer."

The  menu will consist of Kentucky inspired foods with most of the ingredients being  shipped in from Kentucky. Attending  dignitaries usually include Governor Steve Beshear and the entire Kentucky  Congressional delegation.  Over 1200  people are expected with over 75% coming up from Kentucky. The first Bluegrass Ball was held in 1949, when Vice-President Alben W. Barkley was  honored by the Society. The Kentucky Society of Washington was established in 1912 and is one of the oldest  state societies in our nation's capital. The Society was organized for the promotion of goodwill and fellowship  among Kentuckians in the Washington area, for the preservation and perpetuation  of the history and traditions of Kentucky, for the stimulation of state pride  and for the cultivation of the best of Kentucky spirit and  hospitality.

Executive chef Michael Paley has helped "Proof on Main" rise to  local and national attention with culinary excellence showcasing the bounty of  the Ohio River Valley.  His  exciting, accessible menu pays homage to local farmers, artisanal producers and sustainable agriculture.  John  Mariani described Paley's food as "every bit as colorful and bold as the design"  when Proof was named to Esquire  magazine's elite list for "Best New Restaurants of 2006."  Critics voted his signature bison  tenderloin as "Best Bison Dish" in Louisville magazine.  The Courier-Journal awarded Proof its  highest rating of four stars.  Since  opening Proof in 2006, Paley's culinary styling has also been featured in  publications including Food and Wine magazine, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, Food Arts  magazine, Southern Living, The New York Times and  the Chicago Tribune.  Bon Appetit restaurant editor Andrew  Knowlton said of Paley; "In addition to the wealth of artisanal foods produced  in the area—such as real grits, spoon fish, country ham, cheese, and  bourbon—Louisville has a number of outstanding restaurants and chefs and a  community that supports them.  Chef  Paley is one of the people leading the local food  movement." Originally, a film student from Washington, NJ, Paley traveled to  South Florida to attend Florida State University.  While attending school, he landed ajob  in food service.  His natural  talents began to shine and it was not long before Paley turned in his camera for  a toque.  His time in South Florida allowed Paley the chance to work with some of the nation's top restaurateurs and to obtain classical training.  He  attended Florida Culinary Institute and worked under Chef John Belleme at Zemi,  a Boca Raton hot spot.  Paley also  worked behind the stoves for famed chef Daniel Boulud as part of the original culinary team who opened Cafe Boulud Palm Beach.    In  2002, Paley began working with Drew Nieporent's Myriad Restaurant Group at  Lucca, a Tuscan-inspired restaurant at the illustrious Boca Raton Resort and  Club.  Under executive chef Carey  Savona, Paley embraced the Italian approach to cooking - using only the freshest  seasonal ingredients to create simple, elegant dishes.  As sous chef, Paley spent the following  years setting the benchmark for South Florida dining with Lucca's stunning food,  great service and award-winning wine list. In  2005, Paley joined the Proof on Main team to head the kitchen at the ambitious  Proof on Main project.  His skills  and talent for producing cuisine a la minute has won recognition for the  restaurant and this rising star.  Just six months after opening Proof, Chef Paley made his debut in New  York at the prestigious James Beard House.  He continues to collaborate with local farmers and purveyors to bring the  best that the region has to offer to his customers.  In addition, he is making more than 70  percent of his cured meats in house. In  2007, he spearheaded a sustainable foods movement in Kentucky, which was started  nationally by Food & Wine magazine called "Grow for Good Farm and  Table."  Chef Paley is an official Kentucky delegate for the Terra Madre Slow Food International meeting in Turin,  Italy.

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