3 KY chefs named James Beard Award semifinalists

3 KY chefs named James Beard Award semifinalists

TOURISM NOTE:  This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Top KY chefs named as James Beard Award semifinalists for 2022. One of the semifinalists, Kentucky native Alison Settle, was singled out among many other chefs across the country to head the culinary options for Hermitage Farm’s Barn8 restaurant. At the time she was hired she said she knew that Hermitage Farm “is also about focusing on principles like seasonality and sustainability, which are very important to me. It was a natural choice to move into this role.” Barn8 uses farm-to-table practices to provide a unique dining experience for visitors. She also credits fellow nominee, Ouita Michel, as “a huge role model for me.”

Dahlia Ghabour
Louisville Courier Journal
Wed., February 23, 2022

Three Kentucky chefs have been named as James Beard Award semifinalists for 2022.

All three chefs were nominated in the regional “Best Chef: Southeast” category: Anthony Lamas of Seviche in Louisville, Alison Settle of Barn8 at Hermitage Farm in Goshen, and Ouita Michel of Holly Hill InnThe Midway Bakery and Cafe and others.

Lamas was previously nominated in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Michel has been previously nominated seven times in both the “Best Chef: Southeast” category and “Best Restaurateur” category. This is Settle’s first nomination.

The James Beard Foundation Awards honor the best in the food world, from cookbooks to rising chefs to best restaurants in the U.S. Time magazine called the awards “the Oscars of the food world.”

Seviche, which has been serving Latin-Southern fusion food since 2005, has been awarded much praise over the years. In December 2020, Seviche was mentioned on Esquire Magazine’s list of 100 restaurants America can’t afford to lose.

The last few years have been challenging for chefs all over the country, and Lamas said he was “beside himself” to be nominated again a decade after his last nomination.

“To be honest I kind of needed this,” he said. “Sometimes it’s hard to get yourself motivated in dark times. So this is like validation again. I’m 53 years old and I still feel relevant. I’m grateful, I’m honored to be a part of Louisville and all the people who support our restaurant. This is why we do what we do.”

In a previous interview, Settle told The Courier Journal her first restaurant job was at Michel’s restaurant Holly Hill Inn in Midway, Kentucky. Lamas said that Settle interned for him back when she was a young chef in culinary school.

Now, she’s nominated right alongside them both.

“She’s amazing, and Ouita is a force to be reckoned with,” Lamas said. “To see this young blood with Alison [Settle] and these bada– women chefs on the list? I’m so proud of them.”

Barn8 Executive Chef Allison Settle.

Settle said in a statement that just to be nominated “is an honor beyond my wildest dreams and truly a bucket list item.”

“I am thankful that my passion for food has given me a platform to be part of something bigger,” Settle said. “Supporting sustainability and protecting our footways is a priority for all of us at Barn8 restaurant. I am beyond humbled to be recognized by the James Beard Foundation and listed alongside such extremely talented chefs.”

Settle also acknowledged Hermitage Farm owners Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown and the entire Barn8 team and thanked them for giving her the opportunity to “do what I love every day.”

Barn8 is the newest of the nominated restaurants. The farm-to-table restaurant at Hermitage Farm, 10500 W. Highway 42, Goshen, opened in spring 2020, just as the pandemic began.

Chef Ouita Michel

Previous chefs to be nominated include Annie Petry, the former chef and owner of Louisville’s Decca, Master Distiller Drew Kulsveen of Willett Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky, and Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia.

Check out the full list of 2022 nominations at jamesbeard.org.

Features reporter Dahlia Ghabour covers food, dining trends and restaurants in the Louisville area. Send tips on new places or story ideas to dghabour@courier-journal.com or follow on Twitter @dghabour.


Additional Alison Settle news:  As part of the Les Dames d’Escoffier (LDEI) Table Talks Series, Les Dames Kentucky (LDKY) is hosting ‘Spicing Things Up on the Farm: A Virtual Cooking Class’ featuring Barn8 restaurant Executive Chef and Dame Alison Settle on Thursday, March 24, 2022 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Chef Alison will demonstrate her signature burrata salad, incorporating ingredients into the dish that she has preserved from past growing seasons, accented with her house-made Settleracha Oil. She’ll also share pro tips for extending the flavors of the growing season with such techniques as fermenting, pickling, dehydrating and preserving. Additionally, she will talk about operating Barn8 restaurant at Hermitage Farm in Oldham County.

Tickets for Chef Alison’s virtual cooking class are $30 per person and will include her burrata recipe as well as a bottle of her Settleracha Oil which retails for $14. A ZOOM link will be emailed to each registrant prior to the event.

LDEI’s Table Talks are a month-long series of fun and fascinating virtual events in March open to anyone interested in food, beverage and hospitality. From food and drink demos and tastings to panel discussions and interviews, there’s something for every appetite.


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