Brown Hotel’s French chef Laurent Géroli brought eight bloggers into his kitchen in Louisville Kentucky in late September for a long evening feast….we had fabulous food, pure Kentucky bourbon, and a memorable experience we’ll think about for years to come.
His talent in the kitchen can be traced back to his family’s roots. His parents fell in love after a chance meeting in his grandmother’s bakery and he grew up around the fantastic flavors that were created in his family’s kitchen. Géroli describes his mother as someone “who would try just about anything in the kitchen,” a trait that inspired him to start cooking.
While we were eating up a storm in the kitchen, the restaurant can be described as decadent old-school meets southern Cafe. J. Graham Cafe is the home of the legendary “Hot Brown” and offers Brown Hotel guests a bistro-style option for casual dining in Louisville’s historical hotel where they emphasize “local produce.”
Where should I start? How about where we did? Good old fashioned Kentucky bourbon along with an Acorn Squash Cappuccino served with Elijah Craig and Rosemary Chantilly Cream. (this was to die for and frankly, I could have easily had two….)
It was followed by a Prosciutto wrapped jumbo shrimp served with chili pepper and aged white cheddar and Weisenberger Stone Ground Grits (famous for this part of Kentucky – also makes the grits fluffy and light unlike what you might traditionally be used to in American’s south).
Next, we tried a Seared Line Caught Striped Bass with Thyme and Evan Williams (Kentucky’s first distiller for those who love trivia) Golden Beet Gratin and Old Kentucky Tomme and Sweet Corn Emulsion.
While my favorite two of the five course meal was the Acorn Squash Cappuccino (recipe to follow in an upcoming blog post under food/wine – Kentucky categories), and the Prosciutto wrapped jumbo shrimp, the main meat course was also a delight: bourbon soy marinated grilled skirt steak with mixed herb fingerling potato coins and roasted red pepper veal reduction.
Lastly, we finished up with Caramelized Apple and Blackberry Crepes infused with Apple Cider and Evan Williams Honey, topped off with a Sweet Bourbon Chantilly Cream sauce. If I wasn’t so damn full, I probably could have polished off two of these as well. Hats off to Laurent.
Laurent busy at work:
Did I mention that we left with very cool personalized chef coats?
Laurent on video in a three-part series: