Chef Jonathan Lundy's Bluegrass Cuisine

August 19, 2010 9:53:48 AM PDT
So even if you missed the Kentucky Derby this year, you can still get a taste of savory Southern dishes and drinks created by Bluegrass Chef Jonathan Lundy during his visit to Chicago this weekend.Chef Jonathan, a Kentucky native, is a James Beard semifinalist whose specialty is Bluegrass Cuisine. The owner of Jonathan at Gratz Park (www.jagp.info/) in Lexington, the chef has written a cook book "Jonathan's Bluegrass Table: Redefining Kentucky Cuisine. " The chef, who's a culinary ambassador for the Bluegrass, will host a tasting and cookbook signing on Friday at The Loft in Wicker Park.

Jonathan's Bluegrass Table: Redefining Kentucky Cuisine is a hardcover 240-page volume featuring more than 147 recipes and 100 full-color photographs. Chef Jonathan presents a sophisticated take on Kentucky cooking that reflects the Bluegrass Region's agricultural and culinary heritage.

The chef's roots go deep into Bluegrass Country. His great-great grandfather William Monroe Wright established Calumet Baking Powder Company in 1889 and Lundy's family is also tied to Wright's Calumet Farm, a Kentucky thoroughbred farm that produced two Triple Crown winners and eight Kentucky Derby winners.

The chef, who grew up in Midway on Lundy Farm, is also an accomplished sculptor. His art begins with reclaimed objects, and he has made remarkable pieces such as "Church Lady," a sculpture that was created from a limestone step he salvaged from a condemned church. He also utilized wood from a storm-damaged tree from the historic Henry Clay house for a piece called "Compromise." His works have been featured in several exhibitions by the Lexington Art League. You can meet Chef Jonathan, purchase his cookbook, and sample an appealing selection of Bluegrass cuisine and cocktails from 5 to 8 pm on Friday, August. 20 at The Loft, 1936 W. Division, Chicago. Tickets are $35, including food and cocktails. For reservations, call 708-359-0519.

At the cookbook signing, there will be passed appetizers from Chef Jonathan's cookbook and two signature cocktails, Belle Brezing Martini and Peachy Bourbon Sour. The dishes offered will include:

  • Grilled Caesar Salad
  • Country Ham Pot Stickers with Bourbon Soy and Peach Sweet-n-Sour Sauces
  • Sauternes Macerated Broiled Peaches Wrapped with Country Ham, Topped with Capriole Goat Cheese
  • Deviled Egg Trio
  • Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale Beer Cheese
  • Sea Scallop Hot Browns
  • You can try Chef Jonathan's Bluegrass cuisine at home; he shares his recipes for Coffee-Seared Pork Chops, Oysters with White Dog Mignonette (Moonshine) and Country Ham Pot Stickers.

    MEET CHEF JONATHAN LUNDY
    Friday from 5 to 8 p. m.
    The Loft
    1936 W. Division, Chicago
    $35 per person for food and cocktails
    708-359-0519

    MORE ABOUT CHEF JONATHAN LUNDY

    As a Kentucky native who grew up in Midway on Lundy Farm, Chef Jonathan Lundy is a culinary ambassador for the Bluegrass. His lineage is steeped in Kentucky history and culture, as his great, great, great grandfather William Monroe Wright was the founding owner of Calumet Baking Powder Company and also established Calumet Farm, a thoroughbred dynasty that produced two Triple Crown winners and eight Kentucky Derby winners.

    As chef/owner of Jonathan's at Gratz Park, Lundy provides an authentic Kentucky dining experience in the heart of horse country. The restaurant is located within the historic Gratz Park Inn in the heart of the oldest Historic District in Lexington. Jonathan got his start in the culinary field in New Orleans, where he worked with famed chef Emeril Lagasse in 1991. Working alongside a serious and experienced restaurant staff instilled in Jonathan the discipline and stamina that is required in a professional kitchen, and he learned first-hand the realism of the industry through the experience. He decided to follow his passion and refine his skills by enrolling at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island.

    Upon returning to Lexington, Jonathan worked as executive chef at Roy and Nadine's, a modern American concept owned by Lucy and Roy Meyers, and the seasonal specials on the menu allowed Lundy to be creative with dishes he developed. Lundy also worked with the Meyers to craft the concept for Pacific Pearl, a sophisticated casual restaurant featuring accessible Asian-inspired cuisine.

    Jonathan and his wife, Cara, opened Jonathan at Gratz Park in the historic area of downtown Lexington in 1998. The restaurant is a culinary reflection of its Bluegrass setting, and the menu puts a stylish and often whimsical culinary spin on traditional Kentucky dishes. Seasonal inspirations come to Jonathan from regional farmers and producers, and Kentucky bourbon is featured in a variety of dishes. The restaurant has been featured in such publications as Southern Living, Bon App?tit, the Chicago Tribune and the Lexington Herald-Leader.

    Jonathan's cookbook "Jonathan's Bluegrass Table" was released in 2009 to the delight of Kentucky cooks who had been clamoring for his recipes. In 2010, Jonathan was selected by the James Beard Foundation as a semifinalist for the Best Chef: Southeast honor. I

    In addition to being a chef, Jonathan is also a sculptor, and he relished the opportunity to carve out his own dining concept and take his artistic creativity to the next level. His art begins with reclaimed objects, and he has made such remarkable pieces as "Church Lady," a sculpture that was created from a limestone step he salvaged from a condemned church. He also utilized wood from a storm-damaged tree from the historic Henry Clay house for a piece called "Compromise." His works have been featured in several exhibitions by the Lexington Art League, including Nude, an annual event focusing on the human form, personal identity, contemporary life and social politics.

    Jonathan loves to spend time with his wife and two children. Both his son and daughter enjoy helping him create the meals served in their home.

    For more information, visitwww.jagp.info/.


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