The Wrigley Taproom’s Kristen Smith is one of 12 chefs and mixologists from across Kentucky who have been invited to participate in the second Taste America Louisville Raising the Bar cocktail party on Sept. 27.
Part of the two-night event, Raising the Bar, will focus on food sustainability and the signature alcoholic beverage of Kentucky – bourbon.
Sponsored by Rabbit Hole Distillery in Louisville, each chef has been asked to create something that would pair well with bourbon for the event to be held on the Brown Hotel’s rooftop.
“I’m really excited about it because most of the chefs that were selected are from Lexington or Louisville, Smith said.
“I’m the only one from Appalachia,” she noted. “It is a huge honor to represent Appalachian cuisine in this way.”
Smith is reaching deep into the roots of Appalachia, using salt risen bread as the basis for her ooey gooey ham and cheese, featuring pate made from pork raised on her farm, Kerry Gold cheddar cheese and topped with sorghum mustard and fire and ice pickles.
Smith said before yeast became the go-to leavening agent in Appalachia, salt was used.
She said she found the recipe while attending an Appalachian studies conference in Cincinnati several years ago.
In addition to salt, the bread contains potatoes.
“It doesn’t taste like potato. It tastes like there is cheese in the bread,” Smith said explaining it takes almost three days to make it. “It has a lot of flavor.”
“The best thing with salt risen bread is to make a tomato sandwich,” she said.
Smith said she and her staff must make eight large loaves of the bread for the event.
“This is a James Beard event so I have to bring all of the uniqueness from Appalachia that we are known for,” Smith said.
In an effort to ensure the bread is exactly right, Smith said she and her staff are currently working on test batches.
As to whether the sandwich would go on the menu at The Wrigley, Smith said it was a possibility.
“We might if we have to go through a bunch of testing,” Smith said.
“We have a good, unique relationship with our fans. They will tell us if something is right or wrong,” she said.
Tickets for Raising the Bar are $75.
More information is available online at www.jamesbreard.org.