There is no chef that isn’t a little competitive but a handful of celebrated women chefs from around the Bluegrass are teaming up to focus their knife work, not on the competition, but on showing how the food industry is more than the sum of a few headline-making male food celebs.
Lexington’s Women Chefs Dinner Series got its start when Shannon Wampler-Collins, day chef at Azur Restaurant, read Time Magazine’s article “Gods of Food” highlighting influentials in the food industry and found the list to be largely dominated by men.
Collins welcomed the guests at last night’s Taste of Thai entry in the series, hosted at Toa Green’s Thai Orchid Cafe. The first course in the six-course tasting menu was from Allison Davis at Wild Thyme: a Thai Tuna Stack (tuna, jalapeno, and watermelon tartare, cucumber noodle salad, avocado wasabi mousse and ghost chili sea salt).
Kentucky Proud Kitchen’s Brigitte Nguyen offered up “Wings and Strings,” one of the evening’s best courses: crunchy strings of green papaya, carrot, and local kohlrabi, tossed in a Thai basil and cilantro pesto, topped with a sticky, sweet, garlicky chicken wing and spicy Sriracha peanuts. Nguyen came around to the tables to visit with guests and assured us we could make this entry at home. The secret’s in the sourcing: the northwest’s famous Pok Pok.
The third course was prepared by the evening’s hosts, Thai Orchid Cafe’s Toa Green and “Mama Su” Suda Veerasethakul: Kao Moo Dang (honey roasted pork, sweet sauce, boiled egg, cucumbers, cilantro over rice.)
It was tough saving room for dessert, but well worth it when the sixth course arrived. “Brave Tart” Stella Parks, formerly of Table 310, has been taking a breather from Lexington’s restaurant scene while she works on her cookbook (due out in 2015). So the Women Chefs Series provided a rare opportunity to savor one of her confections: Thai Angel (coconut-lemongrass mousse with lime Angel’s Food Cake and fresh fruit).
The next Women Chef Series is scheduled for July 22, Women’s World Cuisine, at Brasabana.
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