Lexington, Kentucky: Food Town
Imagine ten years ago, being told that Lexington would one day be a food town. Imagine being told of the countless food trucks, the handful of farm to tables, growing importance of the chef program at Sullivan, the bakeries, a large food festival, and more than a couple of TV, radio, and internet programs devoted to the local scene.
Ten years ago, in a town whose culinary choices were mostly O’Charley’s and fast food, it would have seemed like an unattainable dream.
When did it happen? I’m not sure, really. Surely some of the seeds are found in the city allowing food trucks to be a thing. That had to be an early decider. But what made us, as a town, suddenly interested in food? There is obviously a larger, national food culture that has been growing for much longer than ten years. Chefs have suddenly gone from invisible service providers to potential celebrities and destination service providers. Which is probably a joy and a curse. Before if you were a chef and an asshole, nobody knew but the people in your kitchen. Now, there’s a reason to try and control yourself ’cause if you do, maybe a local magazine or noon talk show will have you on to chat about what you do and show off your tattoos.
I realize, we are still not what is nationally thought of as a “food town.” Will that happen? Who knows? It all depends on the talent and innovation that grows here, naturally. middle fork kitchen bar has already been recognized as one of America’s top 100 restaurants by Open Table. That’s a good step. And Lexington is always getting a nod on travel sites as a great place to visit. Like I said, I don’t know what started it, but tourism and national attention is surely part of what will make it grow. No matter where you live, Guy Fieri will eventually roll through town and shove something in his mouth. That’s not the kind of attention I’m talking about. But rather, other chefs, important people in food, coming to town — maybe for bourbon, maybe for horse meat — and when they’re here, they gotta eat, right? What will Lexington put in front of them? What buzz will we generate? What will the world come to think of Lexington when it comes to food
If you want to see what three of Lexington’s best chefs did at the Lex Rocks Dinner By 3 event — watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTSDOu8EPAA