Throughout Louisville, you can feel a fervent passion to support locally owned farms, restaurants, and purveyors. "It is not just lip service," says Edward Lee, chef at 610 Magnolia, "people here care and they give chefs in this town the encouragement and freedom to be creative." Add to that a robust larder of indigenous foods like country ham, sorghum and, bourbon, and you have the makings of a culinary renaissance. After 25 years at Lilly's Bistro, Kathy Cary, the pioneer of farm to table in Kentucky, keeps her menu fresh and cocktails creative. Hot seats include La Coop, where Bobby Benjamin (formerly with Nashville's The Capitol Grille) serves Southern influenced bistro fare. Preservationists like Matt Jamie of Bourbon Barrel Foods are devoted to reinterpreting pantry staples. When it comes to cocktails, shrines to bourbon abound (that's you Meat, Rye, and Proof at the 21c Museum Hotel).
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