A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Holly Hill Inn chef Quita Michel chosen to serve official state dish at Flavored Nation event

A new national food experience, Flavored Nation, is setting down inaugural roots in the Midwest, bringing with it a nationwide selection of tastes and talent.

Through extensive research conducted by a team of culinary experts and food entertainment veterans, Flavored Nation has identified the most iconic food from each of the 50 states. Those 50 dishes – as well as the restaurateurs or chefs who prepare them best – will travel to the St. Louis’ Dome at America’s Center, Oct. 27-29, giving up to 12,000 attendees (as well as to-be-announced celebrity guests) the chance to feast from sea to shining sea.

Chef Ouita Michel has been chosen to represent Kentucky at Flavored Nation’s inaugural event, serving the state’s iconic Hot Brown to thousands of food enthusiasts – alongside chefs and restaurateurs from 49 other states.

Chef Ouita Michel

Michel owns a family of restaurants across Lexington and Midway: the iconic Holly Hill Inn, Wallace Station Deli (home of her famous Inside Out Hot Brown), The Midway Bakery, Windy Corner Market and Restaurant, Smithtown Seafood, Glenn’s Creek Café, and Honeywood. Michel’s work earns accolades from local and national fans of her cuisine, especially for her use of local ingredients. In her Hot Brown recipe, Michel uses classic Mornay sauce, locally produced Stone Cross Farm bacon, and Midway Bakery bread.

She has been a James Beard Foundation Award nominee as Outstanding Restaurateur and as Best Chef Southeast numerous times.

The vendors who will be in attendance include chefs and restaurateurs almost as iconic as the state dishes they’ll represent.

In addition to Michel:

From Louisiana, gumbo recipe in hand, Flavored Nation will feature Dickie Brennan Jr., a New Orleans native and highly visible owner of four New Orleans restaurants – Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, Palace Café, Bourbon House and Tableau. He’s also the scion of arguably the country’s most famous restaurant family (the Brennans took over management of the Garden District’s Commander’s Palace in the 1970s and helped launch the careers of world-famous chefs Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme).

From Texas’s Horseshoe Hill in Fort Worth, celebrity cowboy chef Grady Spears will cook chicken fried steak in full western regalia. What is chicken fried steak? It is a thin piece of beef, often “cube steak,” which has been tenderized and is well-seasoned, battered or coated in some fashion. It then goes into the deep fryer until golden-brown on the outside and just cooked-through on the inside. Spears then ladles a cream gravy over it.

From Connecticut and Maine, Flavored Nation is furthering the lobster roll feud. In the right corner, from Greenwich, Connecticut, representing ‘hot with butter’ (also known as ‘the coastal’) will be Lobstercraft’s Captain Mike Harden. In the left corner, from South Thomaston, Maine, representing ‘cold with mayonnaise’ (also known as ‘lobster salad roll’) will be McLoons Lobster Shack’s Bree Douty. Like Frazier and Ali, it’s bound to be a battle for the ages.

“No one wrote a guidebook on how to authentically identify the United States’ most iconic foods,” said The Food Network’s David Rosengarten. “It’s been an amazing adventure and challenge. Some states, like Louisiana, California and New York, are well known for multiple dishes. For other states, like South Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska, I personally drew a blank.”

For more information on Flavored Nation, and to purchase tickets, visit www.flavorednation.com. Also follow Flavored Nation on Facebook (facebook.com/flavorednation), Twitter and Instagram (@flavorednation), and share iconic food passions by using the hashtag #flavorednation.

From Flavored Nation

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