If you’re a fan of good bourbon, then you’re likely a fan of good food too. Today’s guest is the intersection of those two, combining a culinary background with his love for the south and, of course, bourbon. You may know Chef Newman Miller from his appearance on Top Chef season 16. He’s also the Executive Chef and Owner of Star Hill Provisions at Maker’s Mark and the Harrison Smith House in Bardstown. We talk about his culinary background, where he played a part in the creation of the McDonald’s McGriddle and behind the scenes at Top Chef. His deep dive into bourbon was influenced by Drew Kulsveen of Willett. So if you’re a wannabe chef or if you’re an occasional TV dinner kind of person, this episode is going to have something for you.
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about 4th of July.
- What was Padma from Top Chef like in real life?
- What was it like when you heard about being on Top Chef?
- Why do you think they chose Kentucky for Top Chef?
- What did the chefs think of being in smaller towns?
- Was it challenging to cook for everyone?
- What’s a banana croquet?
- How cool was it to have the chefs create versions of your dishes?
- How hard is it to judge fellow chefs?
- Tell us about your relationship with Rob Samuels. Was there a pep talk before the show?
- Were you relieved once it was over?
- How did you get into food?
- Did you approach Maker’s about making food there?
- Will some of the main food distributors come down to Maker’s?
- What are your biggest challenges?
- How hard was it to convince the locals to try higher end food?
- Talk about meeting Drew Kulsveen and how you got into the bourbon community.
- Where did your passion for bourbon come from?
- Besides Maker’s, do you have a special bourbon that you love?
- Tell us about your connection to the McGriddle.
- Where does bourbon and food intersect for you?
- Talk about Star Hill Provisions.
- How do you see the future unfolding for the bourbon/tourism industry in Bardstown/Kentucky?
- Why did you name the restaurant Harrison/Smith House?
But we could also say that we’re recording because you can talk about a chef schedule like it’s never going to happen like this just
yeah, stars align, you know? Yes. Say it like we gave him days and he’s like tomorrow?
Hey, everyone, this is Episode 208 of bourbon pursuit. And we’ve got a lot of news to go through in the first one is that there is a huge news break. The US Supreme Court in a 72 decision has struck down a two year residency requirement for anyone seeking an initial license to operate a liquor store in Tennessee. Now, why is that important? Well, because you might have remembered back on bourbon Community Roundtable number 29. We discussed this very topic, its total wine versus the state of Tennessee. And it has a lot of implications that really wrapped up inside here because the Commerce Clause which is a part of the United States Constitution, is wrapped up in here. This means it could potentially open up interstate commerce and shipping across all state lines for bourbon. are we paying really close attention to this one because it’s a huge win for consumers. And we’ll see really what effects are going to happen in the months to come. The Kentucky bourbon trail craft tour is now expanding. With more distilleries, a new look and an upgraded finishing prize. The expanded craft tour will break down into four different regions northern Central, Western, and the Bluegrass. This will help guests map out their distiller excursions to all corners of the Commonwealth. Adam Johnson, Senior Director of the Kentucky bourbon trail experiences, who was on the podcast way back on episode eight talked about the bourbon trail then. And he’s saying that each region will have streamlined itineraries and suggestion stops, with visitors earning a collectible challenge coin. After completing each territory. Fans who tour all 22 stops will earn a free customized barrel stage to display their coins. This showpiece also comes with an official Kentucky bourbon trail tasting glass and you can get the craft tour passport. It has been redesigned as a new souvenir guidebook with nearly 70 pages of distillery information cocktail recipes suggested travel routes, maps, events, and more. Those can be purchased at participating distilleries for $3. With the proceeds going to further the Katie as efforts to craft a better drinking culture. With select social responsibility and environmental sustainable partners. You can read all about the trail in which the slaves are a part of it. At ky bourbon trail.com. We’re starting to roll out more barrels into our private bail program from major distilleries. We recently sold out of our larger Craig, Buffalo Trace and to four roses barrels in a matter of just a few hours. And we currently have our knob Creek rye in Maker’s Mark 46 private selections up for sale in our Patreon community with not one not two but three Russell’s reserve barrels to shortly follow here in the next two months. But the big news is to announce that we are headed back to heaven Hill. And we’re going there in August to select not one but two, Elijah Craig barrels, we’re going to have eight barrels rolled out for us to select from. And well, I kind of liked that really wasn’t the big news. The big news is that we’ve also been allocated one bourbon and one ride barrel from that small little distillery. That’s next door to heaven Hill. Yeah, you might have guessed it, it’s will it this will be happening in August as well. We’re excited, super excited to be able to bring not only the just these barrels to these private barrel programs, where we get to taste and try these unique expressions. But it’s more about bringing these experiences to our Patreon community. So if you’re a supporter of us, make sure that you can go and you get yourself signed up. And if you want to know more about it, you can go to patreon.com slash bourbon pursuit. And if you support the podcast at over $10 more per month, you can get yourself entered to be a part of this distillery excursion as well. Just look for the post and get yourself entered. And thanks again to our podcast partner, Kagan bottle out of the Southern California area for making all of this possible. You can get all kinds of bourbon shipped to your door at keg the letter in bottle.com. Now for today’s show, if you’re a fan of good bourbon, then you’re likely a fan of good food too. Today’s guest is an intersection of those two, combining a culinary background with his love for the south and of course, bourbon. You may know chef Newman Miller from his appearance on Top Chef season 16. He’s also the executive chef and owner of star Hill provisions at Maker’s Mark in the Harrison Smith house in Bardstown. We talked about his culinary background, where he was a part of the team who created the McDonalds MIT griddle. And these walls talks about being behind the scenes at top shelf than some of this stuff he got to know through the process. We then start talking about his introduction to bourbon and how he befriended drew Cole’s Nina Willett to start really trying some amazing whiskey. And how at the end of the day that really led him to running his own restaurant with inside of the Maker’s Mark distillery. So if you’re a wannabe chef or if you’re an occasional TV dinner kind of person, this episode is going to have something for you. Oddly enough, many people still don’t know what a podcast is. So if you’ve got a friend or a relative that’s just now getting into bourbon, show them how to subscribe to a podcast and they will know every time a new episode is dropped. Thanks for being our boots on the ground and spreading the good word of bourbon. Up next, we’ve got Joe Beatrice from barrell bourbon. And then we’ve got Fred Minnick with above the char.
Hi, this is Joe Beatrice from barrell bourbon, we blend and bottle a cast drink, just as nature intended. lift your spirits with barrell bourbon.
I’m Fred Minnick. And this is above the char. Happy Birthday American. Its Independence Day. And this week we celebrate our country’s rich heritage in great history. bourbon is at the forefront of this country’s history. From the moment that we are a new country, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton decide to tax whiskey distillers and whiskey distillers and appreciate that very much so they tarred and feathered the whiskey tax man, this time would be known as the Whiskey Rebellion. And it was the first time that the federal government had actually deployed federal troops against its own people. Whiskey would find itself in the political circles for years to come from the bottle and Bond Act of 1897 to the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and from President Taff giving bourbon its first definition and definitions for whiskies to the congressional declaration of 1964. The made bourbon a unique product the United States to President Obama and McConnell, having discussions that would bring bourbon into the fold to President Trump giving all kinds of tariffs all over the world that would lead to retaliatory tariffs from other countries such as Canada, Europe, China, etc, etc. So this holiday, don’t drink a beer. For God’s sakes. Don’t let anyone drink vodka. really celebrate America, go to your store, buy a nice bottle of bourbon, pour yourself a couple fingers, and sip. After all, it’s the American way. And that’s this week’s above the char. Hey, if you have an idea for about the char hit me up on Twitter or Instagram at Fred manic that’s at Fred Minnick. Until next week. Cheers.
Welcome back to another episode of bourbon pursuit the official podcast of bourbon, Kenny and Ryan the original duo here doing a kind of another spin on bourbon. You know, we, you know, we talked about this before, and we were actually talking to the chef earlier before we actually started recording. And there is a good heavy instance of if you’re drinking good, you’re also eating good. And we looked at this and said, You know, there’s an idea we can start bringing some culinary aspects into it. And our guest today is not only this very well versed in the culinary side, but also he’s got a rich history with bourbon being even from you know, the Bardstown area and even in Louisville. So it’s gonna be fun. Interesting, just to be able to talk about that, too.
Yeah, for sure. You food. Um, that’s one thing I’m passionate and loved, as Kenny may know, in my gut, sometimes shows he’s like,
he’s a walking yelled, yeah.
But our guest today, so as everyone knows, I’m from bars, town, blah, blah. But one thing missing from the bourbon scene, the bourbon trail was like hospitality, good food, good experiences down in Bardstown and kind of go along with and our guest today kind of saw that and filled that need. So I’m really excited to see like, how he got involved in that area, because it’s something that was needed. And he’s done a great job at it. So let’s dive into it. Yeah, they didn’t know it’s also good, because we’ve had a chance to actually talked to our guests today, multiple occasions throughout the past few years. And it just you whiskey
a few different events like that. A few different dinners at at his places as well. And, you know, now the stars just aligned and we were able to sort of make this happen. And we’ll get into why we actually would record because apparently, the schedule of a chef is pretty hectic, so we’ll get into that too. So to date on the show, we actually had his haircut today.
We can squeeze and his haircut having to be right by it all worked out.
Yeah. So today on the show, we have chef Newman Miller he was featured on episode two of the most recent season of Top Chef, he is the chef owner and Star Hill provisions that she can be found at Maker’s Mark. He is also the executive chef and owner at the Harrison Smith house in Bardstown. He’s been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, and now he’s a celebrity podcaster making his way up.
who cares about Padma? Yeah,
well, you know what the show is one thing, but that was another.
That was so I want you to be honest. I had this towards the end, but might as well bring it out since we’re talking about it. How’s Padma in life? real life? I gotta be honest.
I think that the way she acted towards everybody that I saw the way she was towards me, it raised my level of opinion of her tremendously. Obviously, she’s beautiful, I think in person, maybe more. So. You know, my wife would agree. I made sure you know, Rachel was on site too. But she was just so kind. Yeah, everybody that was on the show was really kind. I mean, Tom Colicchio. They tell him he had another hour to wait. He get mad I’d put them in the boat and we ride up to the lake, you know, and sort of talk about the future of makers and what we had going on there. He told me some crazy stories about grammar, she Tavern and it was like, we’d known each other and we have met a day ago. So Padma was great with the whole group, they they found a way to sort of surprised I think you watch TV that much. I mean, you just don’t think he might have seen time of day, but it was great.
Oh, yeah. Very cool. Not probably jumped your schedule. No,
have questions. No. I mean, that’s top of mind. Right. I
was gonna wonder it as a common question you get from the top chef is so let’s
talk about when you’re got the news, hey, top chefs come into makers and they’re like, hey, you’re going to be involved? How what what was going through your head,
you know, it was amazing. The way it actually happened was way back when they were doing the the scouting trip, for Top Chef, they were trying to pitch Kentucky as the state to come to and it was down to awesome. One other state I started know who it was. And I was going on vacation. And Seth Thompson reached out to me and I didn’t respond. And no offense. It was just I was going on vacation. The next day was the first one in four years with my family. We had to go. And then Rob Samuels called me and I and I answered and he mentioned something about a group coming to Kentucky and then I think it was Christian brands can we ended up talking to the director of tourism, and they you know, they just let me know they’re coming to town and could I do it. So I drove my family to Florida. I flew back, I cook for 12 people, I went to bed I flew back, I was on the beach the next morning 11am wide. So that was that was the start of it. And then it took about eight months before we found out whether that paid off or not. And so yeah, we we had a little bit of an investment in it and at that, but I mean, I can’t think of anything that we’d rather invest in. You know, this is why we came back to country lucky was to try to show off where I’m from my wife’s from Southern Indiana. So close enough. But you know, I wanted to show off where I’m from and that there is hospitality that there is culture I mean, I think you know, food and drink don’t always get talked about in the culture section of things but it is and Top Chef just Yeah, it’s a big spotlight.
Yeah, so what were some of the reason that I guess they chose Kentucky as to be featured on this season as opposed to other places
I think up and coming has to be part of it. I think that they really they’re just you know there’s more people that have got the bug they go you know sometimes they go away they see what’s in other places they realize what they kind of are missing from back home. I think Kentucky’s, you know, producing a lot of good artists and I think that our farms they had to look at our farmers and our agriculture and just say wow, this is a this is a really dynamic state when it comes to what grows here what you know there’s a lot I mean, cities are what you know, everybody thinks about Lexington the mobile but I think this season is really getting outside of the cities a lot and that’s the best part because just showing like from end to end of the state there’s a lot of different regions and a lot of little niche products that even Kentucky’s don’t know about but like I think are generally proud of so what I want to know like
because you drive the law right Oh, you know what, I wonder what these chefs you know had been to two small towns or anywhere in Kentucky what were they saying? Like? Like Where the hell are we? I mean like
what is it going on here? What will
kind of the feedback because if you watch this show, you know that they actually had to go to Colorado and then drive all the way back to Whole Foods and Louisville
didn’t drive know Whole Foods and Loreto working on it. Yeah, we we do have the IGA though. That’s right little shop and you know what, it’s a pre the responses the same from almost everybody that comes down there the show the tourists, the sort of, it’s this white knuckle look. And they’re sure that they just came down the loudest, you know, little back road they’ve ever been to. We asked them how they get here and they actually came down the proper way. The chef’s I think were brought in the back way. So you all know there’s more than one way to get into Maker’s Mark. And they were they were a little rattled and
a little shady one line bridges.
It’s one is lame. Yeah. There’s slop trucks coming the other way. Yeah, I mean, that’s what the tourist I think that’s really what gets you is if you get a slop truck coming out here not like that’s when I believe that you had a hard time getting. Otherwise it’s just another road. You know, I grew up in Washington County. So sure, I was just that was how we used to drive. But now the chefs were, they were very generous. I think with it. I think that they’re just excited. It’s It’s such a mental task to be on that show, because so little of it is really about who’s the best cook. Right. It’s who’s the best cook in today’s situation. And it’s hard. I mean, it’s it’s a it’s a mind bender to think about the way they sort of put these things together. They’re not tricking anybody. But it’s not just purely
based on how you can handle the situation. Yeah,
exactly. So you know, the ride down as part of that, you know, you get carsick? You’re gonna have a hard time.
Yeah. And you had a challenge to because you had to cook for all of them before. So talk about that, and how challenging that’s what I was really.
Like, because you’ve got a lot of people there. You’ve got national spotlight, if you’re nervous during this whole time to like God, like this is a lot of pressure.
Yeah, it’s not the bourbon pursuit podcast.
From You know what, though, I’ll be perfectly honest, I think about in the exact same way, every everything I do. And it sounds kind of cheesy, but it’s a hard way to go about it. It all means the same. And so Coco, for those chefs meant a lot. But those dinners we do on Saturday nights, it means that much. And so to me, that part was okay. That volume was unreal, because we also did the catering for the team that was filming the show. So our team is about for the kitchen. makers at the time was four. And we were catering for the hundred and 50 people that they brought on site. The restaurant was actually open for normal service. And then we did that dinner that you saw, and it was 14 dishes for 14 people. And I think that just from volume, it was the most taxing one of the most taxing things we’ve ever done. But again, it was the coolest to I mean, it was just so great that people really wanted to know more about things like frog legs. Yeah, you know, why are there frog legs and then you go, Well, there might be a lot of frog legs here because we have more cattle than anybody east of the Mississippi State of Kentucky does not have cattle. Yeah, yeah, with the Laurino producing state. And so to have cattle eating those little ponds so they can drink and stay cool. And frogs do really well around lots of little ponds. So you end up growing up going frog. And and so it’s just these sort of cultural things that may or may not make sense to people that aren’t from here, but I love you know, banana croquette. I gotta show them Danna croquette off
as long as it’s all good. I was like, oh my man. That’s all I have. Thanks. Get my grandma still makes you know, they’re all sorry.
So so you gotta school people that aren’t like native from Bardstown and back was that kind of grew up as a city folk so on and talk about what is banana coconut? I’ve never even had frog legs in my life. See?
My pond? Yeah, so you’re down there. We’ll get you
a gig. That’s all
you need a gig in the flashlight but banana croquette. The way I grew up eating it was not the made for the TV show. I had to I had to class.
But you didn’t do just banana mayo and crush.
That’s it is it’s a banana of very rightness depends on your family, or whether somebody forgot to buy the bananas, you can always tell. And usually it’s either a Dukes or a Hellman’s. I’ve known people to do miracle whip. Yeah, it’s a big
mistake. It’s a big mistake. I do Helmand
you’ve got to go elements it Dukes with the sugar can work a little bit, but then crushed peanuts. And my grandma had a hand crank peanut Crusher and she would use skin on Spanish peanuts. No idea why
I don’t like this. I think we just use whatever planners we
do. Yeah. Not too fancy.
Well, the way we’re doing it now we actually have a farmer and Loretta and they have heirloom peanuts. They they’re five generations deep growing these peanuts in Loretta. And they have five little nuts in the shell there nothing like I know. So I use those just like a shalom to the people and stuff. The way we made it for the show. You’re basically making almost like a Hollandaise sauce, eggs and vinegar and sugar. And you whisk it over a double boiler, it doubles in volume, you add a little bit of vinegar, apple cider vinegar to it, you keep whisking it, you take it off the heat, you add a little bit of peanut butter, and you add a little bit of mayonnaise to that and it makes almost like a fudge sauce. Then you pour it all over the banana. And then you put crushed nuts. So I had to chef it up. And that’s actually a recipe I found from the late 1800s. I collect cookbooks. And so I had some old Kentucky cookbook and they had this recipe in it. So it makes it so much better when you don’t hear stories about it, but you can actually find it. So then when somebody questions, yeah, you can, you know, take it back and say look, this isn’t just Manet’s and the way we grew up with the shirt, you know what I mean? Like there’s a it’s rooted in the quick version.
Yeah, you know, the way well, and that’s the only way I’ve ever eaten it. Yeah, honestly, until we got the call about the show. And then I just went deep. And that most proud thing is getting the banana croquette somehow a little bit of attention because it’s got to be the weirdest thing that uh, that I made for him for sure. That’s awesome. Yeah, you know, Newman, the reason I respect you is because you do do banana croquettes and you do embrace like, two of my favorite things ever are Jake’s 150 quick stop sausage, hot sausage, and you gotta you gotta get you gotta give some some background here. There’s this. He’s groups in Springfield. So Springfield and Bardstown. There’s road 150 that connects on the this quick stops What? Maybe halfway?
It’s all right. Yeah, right, right in the middle. I mean, batlin
white tail, but they make this sausage and the spice blend that goes in it and it’s incredible. They put on you can buy it here and what Paul’s and stuff for like 10 times the price that you would pay for their but it’s incredible in any dish.
Why don’t know if you knew this, but my first job when I turned 16 was a butcher. And I was a butcher’s assistant and butcher shop called the meat house in Springfield. My boss ran numbers. And the legend that I’ve been told and I believe is that Jake’s won’t fit the recipe was lost in a card game between my boss and think I’ve heard that story. And that’s and that’s how the rest of you got over there. So when I was 16, I was making not Jake’s 150 I was making the meat house version, okay, of that sausage. And that’s why I still don’t have any hair anymore. It was thousands of pounds a week every every week. And it was my favorite. So Jake’s The reason I still because that we got them in food and wine magazine. There’s a little they got a little to page right up or something. And it was because sausage ball recipe we put in there. But there’s just something about that sausage and it being iconic. I mean, biscuits and gravy was one of the things that we did for an iconic dish, because it happens in a lot of places. But there’s not a sausage culture around breakfast sausage, in a lot of places like in hockey. Right. He could have done it. Couple other southern states could have tried. But Kentucky Really?
Yeah, it’s kind of like Drake and you know, or something you know of the sausages?
Yeah, yeah, it really is. It’s great. I mean, they still make it in the gas station. always joke is the best gas station
I’ve ever had. Change Your Life.
Yeah. And the other thing that you did with that to, you know, to kind of like bring in some of the Northern Kentucky folks, you know, you did you use something with Guetta, as well in the show to
do you know what one of the other episodes definitely got together? I think I put it up. And but some of the things that I put up, they said they already had other episodes for Yeah, that’s why there’s no fried chicken, necessarily in my episode, or, in my case, I tried to give them do fried quill. The hot Brown, you know, I worked at the brown hotel was my first job out of culinary school. But there’s no hot brown on our episode, because I think that come came on down the line a little bit. So you know, it was hard coming up with the list. And then as soon as done you think of 10 more iconic things that Yeah,
and you know,
yeah, I mean, child shower, like all these little things. And I’m only from one of the regions like that’s the other thing. I don’t think I gave Western Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky 100% of what they could have had because I’m from Central Kentucky sure is a different cuisine. Yeah.
So How cool was it that? I guess the challenge if you haven’t seen that, so the challenge was to create the chefs were to create their own version of what you made from How cool was that? And like, and I want to well talk about that personalized follow up question.
Honestly, it’s kind of surreal. Just Just the fact that the way they framed it was that I was the expert on Kentucky cuisine. And I mean, I’m born and raised. I’ve eaten since I was born of I do cook professionally. And but for them to sort of believe it and eat it. And you can tell that they believed it. Because you know, when they’re eating, they could they could feel how excited we were to share those dishes with them. I think everybody did a great job. I think it’s, it’s one of the hardest things you can ever do is cook another chef’s food when you take it seriously because, you know, is is you can’t cook somebody else’s food. And so that’s why it was so interesting whenever we judge them to sort of go through it and see their influence. And, you know, how much did they take away? Or did they really just cook their meal? Right? In a way that? Yeah, didn’t?
And I’m glad you said you had you different few different spices here and there. Yeah.
How hard is it to judge fellowships, knowing what they’ve gone through? And like, are they like, Look, you really need to critique or, like, you know, what’s, how did they approach it when you’re a judge on the show?
Or did the producers say like, you gotta be honest there, you gotta, you gotta know, they’ll hold back like, yeah, that was a session go,
no leaving at all. It was it was, it wasn’t that hard. I mean, you know, you take into account obvious because you live the life. And you, you know, you saw how hard it was for them to do the elect hot, but it’s always hot. Like, you know, like that that part was hilarious, because it’s dramatic for TV. But we used to work the monitors in our chef coat. And I mean, it’d be 130 degrees on your station. You know, if you ran a grill station, you literally were cooking, you know, your skin was tight at the end of the night. So, you know, 90 degrees with humidity is just what it is, you know, a part of it. There could be a tobacco farmer episode, and it’s much hotter, you know. And so anyway, it was easy from the judges standpoint, just because all I do is eat and taste. You know, I mean, you just taste, taste, taste, taste, taste, taste, taste. And you do it so that instantly when you taste something, you know, it’s right or it’s wrong. Sure. And then why is it taking a bourbon when you got a barrel papers on? Yeah, exactly. You’re being analytical. I mean, it’s not, you know, you don’t want to sit in front of master distiller and say, This is terrible. This one is flat. This one needs more time, you forgot about this one. And the tannins are outrageous, right. But that’s what you have to do when you’re spending the money on it. And so that’s the same, the same idea, you know, we were the customer. You know, nobody did a bad job. And that made it a lot easier. You know, if somebody had really bombed, none of us wanted to sit there and you know, rail on them, but I guess we could have
funny Fred on there. I think he got like one line in he was like, I was like, that’s typical Fred, like, critical, like, you know, like, get get my piece in?
Yeah, I mean, you had a lot of face time in it. And it was, it was really cool to see a lot of the ways that you were directing people and talking to people about this, but I kind of want to shift a little bit and talk about your, your relationship to rob Samuels with this as well, you know, was there? Was there a pep talk beforehand, because I know there’s probably like a lot of the line for Maker’s Mark here to get this right. And he was like, I trust you.
But I trust you. But be on your A game today.
You know what, Rob, I gotta give it to rob. He’s pretty hands off. Manager when it’s big picture. I think, you know, like any good person when it comes to the details, you got to be involved. But, you know, he really honestly trusted that we were going to do our absolute best. I think that we’ve we’ve done, you know, that the only thing I can promise that I’ll be on time, and I’ll try my best. And like, those are two things that I always, you know, sort of do. And Rob knows that. And, you know, I don’t he didn’t say anything, it was wonderful. He just he said, this is your day thing. I mean, you know, it was like this, this is your day. And that’s about as inspirational of a thing. As somebody can tell you, I think they really believe in you, whenever they say something like that. So yeah, Rob was, Rob was fantastic about it. The team, you know, the brand, I think the brand might have been more nervous than Rob was, right. There’s a brand involved
in that would have been as a designer center, like
agencies, and there’s budgets and all these and I don’t blame my Beaver, I’d be worried if I just sent a chef out to go and represent. But I think everybody ended up happy with it. I think that the you know, the show itself showed off the campus, unbelievably, I mean, there’s nothing I could have done about that. That is no relation to me or my food or anything. But it’s a beautiful place to be able to serve food. And I mean, that’s really why we’re together is they want hospitality. And they want the highest level. That That makes sense as we grow of service and the food. And that’s been a sandwich shop and we reopen and you know, a little while, it’ll be a different level of that. And we’ll just keep on sort of evolving. They trust us to do it. And we’re really just trying to match up against, you know, do growing up in Washington County, there were two types of weddings. Either a beer truck would show up with taps on the side with Bud Light, or when you cut your truck and bourbon and coke, and it was always makers and coke and a red cup. And like that was its iconic. I mean, everybody, am I you know, the guys whose dads worked in distilleries worked at Maker’s Mark, I could drive there in seven minutes from my parents house. And we used to go swimming in the lake. I mean, and so this before they had 24 hour security, I promise you don’t want to try to go swimming a moon anymore. No, no, don’t do that. But you know, just being around that makes us want to raise our game. And you know, yeah, make them proud.
So after was over re like, sigh relief. It’s done, or were you like, shit, let’s do it again tomorrow. Like, what were what
was the deep breath? Yeah, it was a solid deep breath. I mean, we, we lost a couple key staff members right beforehand, which is always a bummer. But Anna people got to grow and do their thing. And so it was it was a little bit trying, you know, but I do it again, in a heartbeat. I think you know, 10 minutes later, I was probably ready again. But right away, it was definitely a deep breath. And it’s kind of surreal. Like I said, I mean, it’s a lot going on in the middle of Loretta, Kentucky.
And it’s all about food. You know, I mean, I just
couldn’t want a better Yeah, yeah. So we’re at the pinnacle of the, you know, of your trajectory. So let’s get back to the beginning. So how does a kid from Springfield, Kentucky, get on top chef talk about how you got into food? Why did you choose food? And why did you think you know, Central Kentucky is where you want to call home and start your own restaurant. Okay, not loaded, loaded in that question. sit back and listen, I think you can handle it.
When I was seven, I wrote a letter culinary school. Mom, my mom’s a school teacher. And she laminated it and copied it and kept a copy forever. And I don’t know what I was thinking. I have nobody in my family that cook particularly well. My dad was the big cook. And I mean, he’s a very good cook. But there wasn’t a culinary sort of influence on either side. But tomatoes 12 was cooking like little three course meals and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a three course meal. I don’t know where I even knew that you were supposed to have three courses. You didn’t see it on TV or
I don’t know, magazines or
we didn’t have cable. So I don’t know. It’s really weird. And then I started culinary school 12 days after I graduate high school. So I was 17. I finished you know, 18 months later, I went to solvent in Louisville.
But you were doing a year at the butcher shop at 16 is I was 16.
The other day the day I turned 16. I was at the butcher shop. I stayed at the butcher shop for the first three months culinary school and then had moved to Louisville. I was falling asleep on the drive to school. It was Yeah, it’s a little rough. So I moved to Louisville and had a couple of really terrible. They weren’t terrible jobs, jobs and terrible places. And it’s still some of my biggest learning experiences. Just things I would never do again. But it was really good to sort of do during culinary school and then I worked for Joe Castro at the brown. Whenever I got out chef Joe was still there. He’s the master it was wonderful working for him.
Make a main hub around her if
we make a very good we do it Lexington style. So we do the exact hot brown of the brown hotel plus country ham. And I was born in Lexington. So from one to five live there. And yeah, so I’ve got a little soft spot. And if you can add country ham. Yeah. wins. Yeah, it’s who doesn’t want salty hand? Yeah, exactly. So work to the brown hotel. got a chance to go up to come diesel engine after that. I lived in Columbus, Indiana. So I was the private chef for the owner of the company. And then my boss. He cooked 12 Michelin stars. He was he was just a badass Gotham Thomas. And I was his junior and senior sous chef there in Indiana for a couple of years. Moved to Scotland and did a short little stint in Scotland. It wasn’t exactly what I what I thought I signed up for but I had a good time. Too much rain. You know what the weather I loved it. I only need the sun to make vegetables grow. I’m a weirdo in that respect. You know, I really, I dug that. I love the people.
We spend enough summers here you’re like I’ll take cloudy and so yeah, cool.
Yeah, exactly. But uh, Scala was great. But I had broken up with my girlfriend to move to Scotland. And her name is Rachel, who’s now my wife. And so I realized I’d probably just made a couple of mistakes. And I moved from Scotland to Chicago. Chicago worked at North pond restaurant. So it’s a Michelin one star restaurant when I first moved there. And then I got into research and development. I was a corporate chef for companies. I did that for the next six, seven years. We did eight. We always say eight winners. We did eight winners in Chicago. And that was it. pick winners. Yeah.
It’s it’s it’s brutal. It’s brutal.
Oh, it was unbelievable. I mean, my first one or two I still didn’t have proper clothes. You know, it’s like you’re wearing your Kentucky winter clothes. And it doesn’t
really like slices right there. Yeah,
that’s what last time I was there. You can’t find anybody without those Canadian goose down jackets nowadays. And those things are expensive. But there’s a reason why they have them. Yeah.
Oh, it’s unbelievable. I mean, was like,
like trekking on Everest. And you’re there.
Yeah. That and then between jackets and strollers, you spend all your money, you know, you can’t afford two cars. So you get a nice stroller for the second one. Yeah. But we did Chicago. I, you know, really, really enjoyed the product development side and the research and development but a long story short, I broke my broke my foot in my ankle, pretty bad. And I was out of work for six weeks. And I had this sort of job that I could be out of work. And somehow it It worked. And my wife just knew I wasn’t particularly happy with you know, the sort of business that I was getting into at the very end and she said we should open a restaurant in Kentucky. And it wasn’t the first time we’d ever talked about it. We had obviously baton back and forth what really started happening was barrel pics became big. So if you think 2011 1213 when the barrel pics, I think that’s it, you know, oh, seven a week, still old school. But I think of how lots of distilleries started opening up barrel pics, right. And our friends all ran bar programs in Chicago. Since I wasn’t in a kitchen all the time. Now. I became really close to bar. You know, bartenders, so Blackbird, the violet, our the scofflaw group, like they were our best friends. And they were all coming down to Kentucky and doing barrel pics. Going to Louisville having a blast at knock bar and, you know, a garage bar couple of you know, places that were around then. They’re devils in AD. And, and then but then they’re coming back and they were bummed out about the food. Yeah, you know, and they were bummed out a little bit about the cocktails, right. There wasn’t you know, in those years, there weren’t cocktail bars. Pearl wasn’t around, you know, the silver dollar was it? I was actually getting drinks from the beverage director for silver dollar.
know, Susie, so his his partner Susie, was the bartender, a big star, which was my local watering hole in Chicago me
sense because when I went to big star, I was like, this is like an exact replica of silver dollar, like which one came first?
The chicken was Maria. It was in this case, but I mean, you know, we just saw we just saw an opening. It kind of made me a little bit not upset. I mean, I wasn’t mad at Kentucky or something like that, right. I mean, I chose not to live here for a long time. But I just knew that there are really people doing this now and it’s on the industry level right now. But it’s going to get down to a normal person level. And what’s going to be there, you know, and we started investigating, I grew up in a, an old house built in 1800s. To get a liquor license in Kentucky is weird. There’s still a lot of esoteric kind of blue laws. And you know, my county is moist. You know, you can have a liquor license in the city but not in the county. And then we found out a restaurant was for selling bars town in a historic gold home. We could live upstairs
I called circa sir. Yeah,
yeah, that was the name of it was circa because it was built circa 1780. Okay, so it’s the oldest stone home in Nelson County. And we live on the top two floors and then open the restaurant on the bottom. And that was it. I mean, that was five years ago this year. And
that was the birth of Harrison Smith. That was
the birth of Harrison Smith house. Yeah. And then, about two years into Harrison Smith house. We started making barbecue sandwiches in the Toll House me at a makers that had 12 seats. And that was the start of Stargell provisions. So what did you approach them about doing that? Or did they kind of ask you like, Hey, we need somebody we got a lot of visitors coming here that are mega destination, but they need something to eat.
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Did you approach them about doing that? Or did they kind of ask you like, Hey, we need somebody we got a lot of visitors coming here that are making a destination but they need some to eat.
You know what? I think that I asked if I could sell barbecue sandwiches. Okay, at the Toll House. I think that literally, that was about as basic as it as it started. And I think before that, there wasn’t I mean, we still opened as the first. I think the first restaurant in a distillery, I think we we got that one or something like that. And I mean, even then, before that it was all employees that was that was sort of the focus was how do you be a dining room and then also sort of serve guests. And we just sort of turned that a little bit. And we still love, love, love to get the employees in and to feed people that work there. But primarily now Yeah, we’re just focused. I mean, that’s who’s coming in on a Saturday and October we’re going to see 550 plus guests from 1130 to 430 on a day.
So when you which is pretty good for even an average
restaurant, it’s it’s, it’s it’s a crush, man. It’s an absolute crush. And then on Saturdays, between May to the end of October, every Saturday night, we do ticket dinners. So you buy your ticket ahead of time you come in, it’s a set three course meal, three cocktails, we write the menu that morning. So we swap from being a fast casual lunch place to as comfortable of a fine dining experience because I mean we really don’t try to add a lot of the stodgy parts but you know it’s its proper food is cold smoked fraud quell you know want to leave on a salad and yeah, just you know country cooking but tuned up a little bit.
Hop in the makers man, we gotta go to Whole Foods.
Man, you know, many times I wish there was a whole foods of down there. You just change that to change what you’re doing.
So like some of the main food disturbers? Will they come all the way down there like a like a creation gardens or
you know what creation actually have to get they delivered to my house and barge town. Okay, I have the walking coolers there. And then I have to take it from walking coolers and bars down down there working on it. And hopefully they’ll hear this and work on it even faster. Very excited to to get deliveries in Loretta.
I know some people there I’ll put in actually started the pot for Hey, well we
like to use. So. Yeah. But it’s it’s a challenge. I mean, I think staff is probably the biggest challenge. We have great staff. You know, I think everybody who we employ we’re really lucky to have, but it’s finding people with passion and talent. And, you know, if you’re not from there, it can be intimidating. You know, living in the country is just like living in the city. I mean, they’re both intimidating if you aren’t from one of the other. But such a good place. You know, the the pace is right, we can really focus on what it is if you’re into food or drink or beverage. You focus on what matters and you don’t have to spend a lot of time Yeah, with the extras, the permitting the you know, sort of the crush that comes around. And so, yeah, staffing is the difficult
I got a question just being from the region. So like, obviously, tourists coming in, will embrace and kind of take on you know, your the quality of food and don’t mind paying higher How hard was it to like, convince the locals because like, I know, you know, Central Kentucky is not a wealthy, it’s not poor. It’s not wealthy. So people are kind of like putting a put off by like, high end food because it’s so expensive. How hard is it? Was it to convince people that like, Come tries, I promise, you know, it’s good. I gotta be honest, people do great.
There’s always going to be naysayers, right? There’s always going to be, but when people we’ll see working your hardest, and doing everything you can and they see the product that your bond and they start to get interested in. You know, the rabbits you get where you get them. And why is this chicken tastes different than chicken that I used to have? Like That was the conversation that really got us through it was we charged what we charged, but it was based in math, right? I mean, it would be terrible. If it wasn’t a we wouldn’t have been ever to exist. You know, we buy better products. They cost more money. If we do our job, right, they taste that much better. And that’s really was the difference maker. You know, there was only two of us that did every bite of food. And every drink basically that ever got served at Harrison Smith house in the last part. We were lucky to have a couple of friends come and help us on Friday and Saturday nights. Paul scurrilous who has Korean restaurant here in town? Yes. came and worked with us for a number of months. We had a good me Anthony who came in and worked with us. He was fantastic. But two of us did. 100% every bite of pastry ever roll every the bone chicken thigh, every cocktail. And you know, I think people Yeah, but people got it, you know, they could. That was what helped us get through it. You know, there were always some pushback. There was always a little naysaying i mean you know, I it’s not always easy to get my parents to come in because they didn’t want me to come home every time and we didn’t eat at restaurants like that whenever I was growing up but you know what made it easier was knowing that we did it in react based in reality, not trying to get rid sure yet. Hell if we if I learned how to start cooking to get rich.
You’re out of reality now. Yeah, but uh, but yeah, I mean, you know,
I think it’s a challenge anywhere I think that chicken is chicken I think that when you put eggs with something, everybody thinks it’s worthless. Like these are just common trends that unfortunately follow restaurants around everywhere. And that being said the tourism business is big enough that we didn’t have to cater to anybody in particular we were really lucky we got to make our food and sell it and when we needed to we added a three course fried chicken dinner on Wednesday night you know and it was still $25 awesome. But I mean you know for a fried chicken meal and fast foods five bucks is ours already. So we were still you know, five times more than people thought but the number of teachers and like just like you said, real people that came to eat with us it was nothing short of flattering and you know, so a lot of our best customers weren’t I don’t want to pretend like I know what they’re like but you know the super fluent they weren’t the who’s who of Barcelona started out now the who’s who’s duty there as well don’t get me wrong shirt. Oh
yeah, for sure. I want to kind of talk about so you’ve been embraced kind of by the bourbon community like who’s involved in I think a lot of that’s probably to do it trickles been I know you guys are pretty close talked about how your you all got hooked up I guess and think kind of how you got thrown into the bargain community?
Yeah, um, you know, when we moved to bars town I knew who drew was will it was really starting to in a national sense. Get more notoriety as to you know what k bf is and or I’m sorry, k Kentucky Kentucky bourbon fest for Kentucky Association. Nice. Name all of them. Good.
Jackie know, the Kentucky bourbon distillers are
Yeah, TBD. Yeah. Here we go. their parent company. There we go.
Yeah, there we go. And people were starting to visit. Yeah, as we can tell, they were starting to figure that out. And so I saw Drew, and I, you know, sort of in the middle. Yeah. And I was like, man, I hope that I can get to know this guy. I hope that this is your peers that sort of becomes and ended up meeting. We’re talking about best customers. I mean, nobody’s there like every day nobody ate at me when
you first came out. He was like, thank god this place and they didn’t get a decent meal.
You know, Drew Drew, without a doubt. It was the and still is really one of the biggest supporters we’ve had for the restaurant. He He really loves cuisine. I mean, he, he embraces it. High and low. It doesn’t have to be fancy. If it is he still likes that an awful lot. But now it was just, you know, and then we got to know each other. I remember, he gave us a gift. When we opened and we barely knew each other. We’ve met a couple of times, and he brought me a new some ham. foot on like one of these. You’ve got to be in line for three years. The ages in the basement? Yes. Well, we got him on that little while. But this hand was I mean, it was one of the most special things we’ve ever gotten. He just brought it in, gave it to us. Here you go, guys. Thanks for being in town and sort of went from there. we’d hang out, you know, obviously was such a cult bourbon. You know, it was really interesting to go over to his place. And once you see his his bourbon collection, it makes you want to stop collecting bourbon a little. Boy, you just it’s just a realization sort of moment here. Now you go well, I guess I could have a lot of will it are a lot of anything, right? Yeah. But I’m never going to have it all. It’s like makers bottles, right? We started collecting those at the restaurant for a little while. But these makers fans, they have a million times more than we’ll ever have. Yeah, so now we open the collectible ones. And like we do them all as charity bottle. So people just freak out because they see their collectible bottles open. But we put the whole price of the shot for charity. And then we get to see what whiskey at that time. tasted like. I’ll tell you what the 96 championship bottle. Fantastic. Got some gentlemen.
Exactly, exactly. But you know, so anyway, back to drew we. Yeah, we just hit it off, man. And then he got me into cigars. You know?
If you think he has a lot of will it’s why do you see a car collection?
Yeah, he’s got a he’s got a pretty pretty rises selection. And, you know, he’s always had something to talk about. I’m interested in the whiskey, he’s interested in food. We both sort of have mutual respect, I think for for what the other ones doing and and he was just a massive supporter. I mean, there’s nothing like putting your money where your mouth is. And you know, if you want to have nice things, you have to work at it. And he was always down to do his part to make sure that you know, we were doing well. I mean, then our first year when things were really hard. You know, that’s when whiskey pig started her. now known as Berea nationally known as but maybe now we can call it whiskey pig again. Okay, and I don’t know, but I like whiskey pig better. But you know, him starting that was was a big move between that and there’s a guy named Greg Jensen. Do you guys know Greg? I know the name. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, out of California.
My wife and I were walking. We’re pushing a stroller.
Maybe we’ve been open for two or three weeks. And it was our first. Like, I think I had four hours off. And we were taking a walk. And we met this gentleman. And he seemed lost. And we gave him directions. And then he asked if we knew about the restaurant on the corner. And we’re like, yeah, it’s ours. Long story short, he comes in the next night with his wife and his mother in law. And it’s the first time anybody’s ever asked for a tasting menu. He says, Can you do it? And Josh and I are in the back and we’re sweating. And we’re like, nervous and, like goosebumps. And we’re like, yeah, we can’t do that. That’s that’s what we’ve trained to do. But we thought we’re coming to make fried chicken, you know. And I swear, I think we cooked everything we could, he drank wine, he drink bourbon, they had a blast, and the ticket might have been 300 300. Like, we just went through the wall Adam, and it was experiences when it wasn’t bad, because we just weren’t set for that yet, you know, but he was deeper in the bourbon world than we would have known. And he started telling people, and then we started doing these dinners for barrel pics, because I think your second part of the question was, how do we get involved in the community? And that was it. That I mean, between drew and the whiskey pig. And then sort of guys starting to do their their pics, you know, and then have a dinner for 20 afterwards. That did it. And, you know, just built and built and built and we still do those dinners all the time at Harrison Smith house.
I mean, we we’ve been in one. Yeah, we have.
Yeah, you know, I kinda want to talk a lot about you know where it is your passion for bourbon come from as well. You know, we really, really talked about because you do you drink bourbon like you have? You have a knack for it. You love it. You know, where did that passion really come from as well. I’m
swimming in makers like Yeah.
I mean, just being very honest, the earliest moonshine that we used to be able to get was always an empty makers bottles, which is odd, but it was one of those little connection things. And, you know, for me, I is just a national, you know, it’s a pride thing. I like gin. I love drinking a gin and tonic Don’t get me wrong, but knowing where it’s from what it is what is made out of the people who grew the corn, the people who make it, like, at this point, there’s no turning back from it, right. It’s like, I love scotch. I love all these things. There’s, you know, I’m pretty equal opportunity. But bourbon is the sort of, you know, the sun and other things evolve well rounded in terms of our beverage selection choice. It makes sense because of where we are obviously, but even if it wasn’t so many of the classic cocktails, I love even a Bardstown bourbon right now, they do the Tiki drinks with bourbon involved. I love that. I mean, it’s just versatile. I don’t know my grandma drink. bourbon, my great aunt, who our house cocktail is, you know, we have a house cocktail. We’ve had it since the day we opened Harrison Smith, and it’s still at makers. And it’s what she would make for yourself every day at 11am when the price is right was on. And she would make one highball. And watch Bob Barker. And then I guess and yeah,
yeah. Yeah. And
that’s what she would do. And I can remember as a little kid, helping her get the ice bucket and watching this sort of go down. And, you know, my grandma would drink, heaven Hill, Green Label and coke. And at Christmas time, my dad would borrow Bala makers. And she would always it was just like, it was a script. She say, Pat Newman, I can’t, I can’t put coke with that, you know, I can’t have that. You know, it’s just one of these little cultural things that, like I didn’t grow up thinking about a prohibition and sort of stance on a lot of things and alcohol. I mean, it just, yeah, so the family was going to drink a little bit of bourbon. And that, yeah, that was it.
So again, another kind of question for you. Because, you know, you’ve talked about makers a lot. But, you know, we knew you know, we talked about chefs in bourbon, there’s a there’s a few that stand out. They had these kind of like magical pairings, right? So, you know, the lady Anthony Bourdain, he had a very tight connection to loving Pappy Van Winkle, Chef Sean Brock, very into like the very, very old Fitzgerald’s Well, not anymore. Well, not anymore. But right. Do you have something that you have in a collection that you adorn, that you go back and like, that’s your, that’s your kind of like, staple thing that you love?
Be honest, if we’re going to talk vintage at all.
It could be anything I like, I like to I like two things together. I like almost I like the weirdest of the weird. So this could mean that mean, you get to hang out around distillers. So you know, there’s things that never get a label put on them. Absolutely. I want that. I want that sea creature that I a dime that weird. Well, maybe it’s off way. Like I want way off profile. And I want a chartreuse. Those are my two things. I want a little sip of both of those. I mean, but yeah, because genuinely the best things I’ve ever had didn’t have a label. And yeah, they wouldn’t have passed any QC test. They. And there’s a couple of distilleries to be perfectly honest. I mean, you know that I’ve that I’ve had that from
go and we’re listening. Which ones?
Well, let me check the label reports here. But you know what I’m saying I mean, I’m not trying to try to dodge it. But I’m not really a brand guy. I don’t I don’t have one thing that I’ve always gravitated towards more than the other. It’s constant. Just trying to fame few shots of heaven Hill white label and old Bardstown with the in the back. And you know what, even without a doubt, I mean, the highest of the high and the lowest of the low is really where I want to sit. I mean, that that’s, you know, the most time where, where I find the most pleasure is those two sort of spectrums of things. I think the middle is where things get cloudy a little bit. You know, that $50 price range nowadays that 6075 is just a different sort of piece than it used to be and give me below or above that. And I’m usually generally pretty happy. Yeah.
So then another thing I kind of want to talk about, and this kind of goes back to, because I think we do ourselves a disservice if we didn’t grab this little nugget of information, because we were upstairs and you were talking about your time I’m in the corporate world that you had a hand and one of the most, I’m glad you brought the biggest breakfast sandwiches that are out there today. So kind of talk about that.
Yeah, hangover cure of choice.
So one of my very first projects that I was involved in, so I, I’m 22 years old, or 20, maybe 23, I don’t know, and lived in Chicago, and I get a job at this product development firm. And they work with all kinds of different food service companies coming up with new products. And McDonald’s wants to come up with something new, something innovative, and they decided to do a pancake sandwich right? What do they call that to make griddle? Yeah, they’ll you’ll make griddle. And so our part in it is how do you deliver syrup without getting it on somebody’s savings. And that was our piece of the project. And we worked and worked and worked and ended up with these little encapsulate, you know, like Halloween when you go out trick or treating. Have those bats any bite them there’s like juice and Saudi? Yeah, well, that food grade wax is what we ended up using. And each one of those materials has tiny little pocket of syrup, wrapped grade logic. It is magic. It truly is. Because the thing is, if I was to give you a handful of them to eat, they would never melt in your mouth. It takes a certain like cooking temperature before they’ll fully Melton it’s an encapsulation. And so yeah, yeah, that was a fun project. But you know, the one around here gets everybody is campfire chicken, for Cracker Barrel, they’ll really do all the billboards of Yeah, that photo got taken in a basement in Chicago seven years ago. Like, how wild is that, you know, this sort of country looking dish of a half a chicken roasted with carrots and stuff was a Kentucky boy in Chicago, selling to a Tennessee company to put on billboards all over little weird little combo circle of life.
So like, kind of one of the last questions that I have is, is kind of, you know, we’ve talked about bourbon, we’ve talked about food, but where did the two kind of really intersect for you? Do you look at it as a way of cooking does more pairing like what What’s your real take on it?
You know, people ask a lot about what I think pairs best. And I know that’s not the question, but part of it is, you know, and I’m just a firm believer that good goes with good. And it’s not a scapegoat example to like, get out of pairing things because I could give you exact, but I think that genuinely there’s like a couple of levels that you can enjoy food and bourbon and everything else on you know, there’s the straight hedonist level, which is great. And it’s a little bit too much of, you know, responsibly too much of everything. But you know, lots of food is like the dinner I cooked for Top Chef as too much food too much, but it’s just too much, right, you feel good about it, you’re going to eat the leftovers, you’re not wasting it. But you know, there’s sort of that level of pairing. And then when you go to the high end, we just got back from from Spain, my wife and I, and you know, we were doing these sort of Michelin tasting menus. And it was amazing how much the pairings played into the total meal. And it was a reminder to me because with cocktails, we’d be a little bit more careful. We can’t go 10 courses. 10 cocktails is never going to work. You know, wine and beer sort of have that play. But I came back with just a stronger desire to think about what exactly does go together instead of always good goes with good, that will work but like there’s some next level pairing things going on. And you know, that’s why you travel and see things you get humbled and inspired, inspired at both and realize what you should be doing a little more of and, and I did and so moving forward, you know, I’m excited to sort of look a little deeper and like I we all know black walnuts and bourbon go together. But why? And what’s the best way to eat that black walnut? Right? Is it? Is it candied so it’s shattering? Is it? Gold, so it’s kind of soft and has a different texture? Is it as a garnish for a drink? Is it ground up as the rim for a glass? I mean, there’s no, I could think of more. But that’s what I’m excited about right now moving forward. And just you know, that’s where I see bourbon and food coming back together.
A fantastical so the other thing that we also want to know is that, you know, people want to be able to go visit star health provisions also get to in a day getting in, like, that’s my favorite things really good. But you know, also let people know that, you know, this is this is your thing as well, right? This isn’t, you know, a beam Suntory own venture like, like startup provisions as you it’s the team of you and your your, your chefs and everything. So yeah, about that real quick, too.
Yeah. And props to makers for letting us you know, for having a vision and, and letting us sort of be independent, but my wife, my brother and myself, own and operate the restaurant makers definitely supports us in every way possible. They’re they’re there, they’re our team. But, you know, when it comes time to people getting paid, and, you know, when you’re coming down to support your local business, like, it’s us, it really is, you know, Mom and Pop spot with a brother as the general manager. And, you know, I don’t think that should drive anybody two or four, you know, but, you know, that is the situation down there right now. And I think it’s good for them, because they’re a wonderful manufacturer, right? They make amazing bourbon. They’ve been doing it a long time. And that’s what they do perfectly. And I think it’s very smart, that they decided to sort of farm out what is not your core competency? You know, I’m not going to get into tips on how to make bourbon. Right? That’s for sure. And so, yeah, thanks for bringing that up. But that is that is how the the business side of things works down there.
And now you get to say hi to Denny over there.
Oh, man, we get to see how many all the time I love seeing Denny over there. He
definitely really two peas in a pod.
Yeah. Yeah, he does a great job of what he does. I mean, you know, he’s been crushing it for a long time. And I think he likes getting back to Maker’s Mark. You know, his previous time there. He really loved it. And yeah, I want to race this truck sometime. He drives around a little Ford Raptor.
Oh, he’s nice.
He’s moving around. He’s moving up in the world.
I want to close or not close, but maybe wrap up with this question. So you you mentioned Bardstown bourbon company. You guys kind of were the four on the forefront of the hospitality side of the bourbon tourism. I guess Kentucky Al’s moving in to march down. What do you how do you see the future unfolding for you know the whole hospitality experience in the bourbon trail experience in Bardstown
I think, county or whatever I mean, no central Kentucky Wow. Speak to bars town first because I think it is different. I think the bars town if it’s the local population decides they want to become a tourist Mecca. They will be
well, for Africa, and then will it is also they just hired like Shawn Brock chef, and they’re going to have Yeah, john sleaze when he’s
Yeah, fantastic talent. I mean, I can’t wait until he gets a restaurant. So I can come any
restaurant to challenger because we go to bars and where I was like, well, we can finally go to your place instead of going over here. So
yeah, exactly. And, you know, I think bars town has endless potential I truly do. But I think it needs buy in, from the people that actually live there all the time. Earlier, when we’re getting our, our letters mixed up bars in the bourbon fest is a good example. You know, what does that want to be? You know, what can it be? You know, those are the sort of things and questions that I think are going to affect bars channel as to whether it’s really going to become the hot spot for the entire trail. I think the opportunities there, I think it already well, versus will, beginning or later Lexington mean it Yeah, I think the opportunity is there. And I don’t know which way it’ll go. You know, I mean, we believe we’ve got a lot of reasons to believe in it. And we’re not planning on doing anything different. As far as Loretta goes, makers vision for the future strong, you know, knock on wood will be part of it, you know, as long as we possibly can, but you know, they, they have a really, really strong desire to make, you know, that part of Kentucky, the most culturally relevant part that they possibly can. And for me, I can’t think of a better goal or passion, right? It’s like, cook good food, and then create some sort of interest and then create value for our farmers, right? These people are doing an amazing job, and they don’t have to back anymore. And so they don’t have a cash crop to really get them through things. So, you know, could food be it? could, you know, there’s a lot of things that, you know, growing up on to back and forth, like, I would like to see happen, and you know, and I think,
yeah, there’s a good lot of opportunity. Yeah. And, you know, we we’ve had Robin bill on the show, and I mean, if one thing stands out on both, they have great vision and great execution on that vision. So I think the area is in good hands.
Yeah, absolutely. And so we’ll close it out with that. But you know, I want to also give people the opportunity, if all of a sudden, hey, they know about Harrison Smith house, they want to come in, they’re coming in for a barrel pick, they’ve got 20 people lined up, they want to they want to have something, how do they get in contact with you?
Absolutely. We do have a website, Harrison Smith house. com, you just send us an email to the info at and my wife, Rachel is going to be the one getting back to you. And then same thing, we do the private events at Starkville provisions as well. We are underneath the Maker’s Mark website. So if you go to maker’s mark.com and go to the restaurant segment, you’ll be able to get a hold of us there. And it has all of our sort of information and hours. And we do the same sort of dinners there as well. And then if you ever want to see something that I’ve put out I’m bourbon in ham, so all social media accounts, all one word, bourbon and ham to sell everything like that long enough to get that handle so he’s been gone for a while.
Yeah, I should last question because you said that we need gotten the place. It was originally called Circo. Why did you rename it to Harrison Smith house? Yeah, what’s the name? What’s the connotation
so the real reason is the house as it were, originally was built was the Harrison Smith house. They named homes that to the builder and owner of the home. The flip side of that is my brother’s name is Harrison. And so once they told me that the original name of the house was the Harrison Smith house, it was just a no brainer. It was just an absolute you have a lot of full circle story.
It’s weird, man. It’s weird. Yeah. Because you can’t say no to things are walking around.
things are gonna happen. Just gonna drop them nuggets of information.
Harrison Smith house and so that was it. And now my brother has to answer the phone and say hello, there’s Harrison. Thank you for calling the Harrison Smith out. People don’t know what to do. Yeah, it makes my day.
Oh, that’s fantastic. So Newman thank you again for coming on the show today. We were very happy able to get you on because apparently a chef schedule is very hectic. So I’m glad this was actually
our cat today.
Yeah, y’all. Thank you so much. I’m really glad we got it done. And yeah, anytime I’d love to come back sometime.
Very cool. You’re going to make it happen. Absolutely. So if you like what you hear makes you support the show on Patreon pa te r eo in comm slash bourbon pursuit You can also follow us on all those social media handles at bourbon pursuit as well. And Ryan kind of close out and make sure people leave us reviews to
your latest reviews. Tell us give us some feedback comments. So notes or not we do the show notes. We you know, because we like hearing back from you. We want to hear what are we want to know what you want to hear so we can bring that to you because that’s what we’re here for you guys. So appreciate you all listening Newman was I could sit here and talk to you for hours. So it was very cool and appreciate your time. So thanks. See you all next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai