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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