The Official Kentucky Derby Event of Churchill Downs continues to carry on
its tradition of good taste as it introduces a new presenting sponsor, Stella
Artois, and 18 celebrated chefs from around the country. All will bring their
culinary talents to the fourth annual Taste of Derby.
This celebration of cuisine and racing on Thursday, the eve of the Kentucky
Oaks, will bring together the tradition of horse racing and the splendor of
culinary celebrities as guests savor exquisite cuisine and delectable wines and
beers from horseracing destinations on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented
by TwinSpires.com” provided by renowned chefs serving samples of their regional
Taste of Derby, which attracts more than 1,500 guests, has moved to the North
Wing Lobby of the Kentucky Exposition Center this year to accommodate its
growing demand. The star-studded evening includes a red carpet entry starting at
7 p.m. (EDT), food and wine tastings until 10 p.m., premium open bar until 11
p.m., complimentary valet service, and live entertainment by one of country’s
most popular dance bands, Memphis Soul Revue.
Presenting sponsor, Stella Artois, also the official beer sponsor of
Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby, is the number one
Belgian beer in the world. The brand’s nine-step pouring ritual will be featured
at the event as Mark Stroobandt, master beer sommelier, walks patrons through
the pouring ritual. Also on hand representing Stella Artois is Belgian master
chef Bart Vandaele.
The state of Washington’s 14 Hands Vineyards returns as a gold plate sponsor
of Taste of Derby and will showcase its wines at each chef station with a
pairing to complement the cuisine. In addition, 14 Hands will have a sommelier
station that will showcase a special selection of exquisite new world wines.
Additional Taste of Derby beverage partners include Kentucky’s own Woodford
Reserve, the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, which will allow guests to
sample different flavors of mint juleps, and Scotland’s award-winning Hendrick’s
Gin will be highlighting two signature drinks, Horse & Carriage Punch and The
Kentucky Gallop. Longines, the official timekeeper of the Kentucky Derby, will
showcase the three elegant Swiss watches that will be gifted to the winning
owner, trainer and jockey of Kentucky Derby 139.
Creekstone Farms Premium Black Angus Beef will present the third annual “Chef
Showdown” at Taste of Derby where three culinary student finalists from Sullivan
University in Louisville will compete for a $5,000 scholarship by creating a
potentially award-winning dish in 20 minutes. Chef judges for the event
are Tiffani Faison of Sweet Cheeks Q, Kent Rathbun of Abacus and John Besh,
Chef, and Andrew Knowlton, Editor, of Bon Appétit which is making its first
appearance at Taste of Derby. Also, the Kentucky Derby 139 solid-gold winning
trophy is scheduled to make an appearance.
New this year is the Skuna Bay Salmon, Vancouver Island Craft Raised Salmon
Chef Challenge where two Taste of Derby chefs will be paired with two finalists
who have emerged after competing with more than 90 chefs at challenges around
the country. Chef Stephanie Izard, Executive Chef/Partner of Girl & the
Goat and Little Goat in Chicago and Chef Jennifer Jasinski from Rioja, Euclid
Hall and Bistro Vendôme in Denver will both mentor the competing chefs as they
go head to head on Wednesday at the Sullivan Culinary Institute in Louisville.
Through the Churchill Downs Inc. Foundation, partial proceeds from Taste of
Derby will go to Dare to Care and hunger relief organizations in areas
represented by the participating chefs. In just three years, a total
of $163,000 has been contributed to hunger relief organizations around the world
through this event.
Churchill Downs created Taste of Derby, now presented by Stella Artois, to
expose Louisvillians and the thousands of out-of-town guests who visit the
Kentucky Derby annually to great racing communities and culinary destinations
across the country and the regional flavors that make them as unique as the
The event is sold out, but for additional event information or to receive
notification for next year’s event, visit the event Web site at TasteofDerby.com.