Kathy Cary's inspiration derives from her knowledge and love of her own Kentucky roots, where she learned to love food at an early age in her mother's kitchen. Apprenticed to a cordon Bleu-trained chef in Washington, D.C., she later started a small catering firm there and then became a chef at a stylish Georgetown restaurant.
Cary returned to Kentucky, and opened her first La Peche gourmet-to-go shop in 1979. Lilly's opened 24 years ago, with a menu that reflects Kathy's French-inspired use of traditional Kentucky ingredients with unexpected, contemporary twists.
Food at Lilly's continues to be influenced by our longstanding tradition of buying locally from farmers and producers, rather than pursuing fashionable food trends," says Kathy Cary, chef/owner.
This award-winning and innovative Kentucky chef uses ingredients such as country ham, bourbon, catfish, seasonal produce and artisanal cheeses and meats on a
menu that honors Southern foodways yet draws from Continental, Mediterranean and Asian techniques.
Known and admired regionally and nationally, Chef Cary has been applauded by The Louisville Dining Guide which summed up Lilly's as "the most influential and celebrated Louisville restaurant of the past decade," adding that it "continues its eclectic, seasonally changing, local-produce-loving ways."
She won rave reviews for her debut at New York's James Beard House in 1993 and has been honored with selection as one of the few James Beard Award Nominees in the category of "Best Chef of the Southeast" – annually from 2002 through 2006. She was the first chef nominated from Kentucky.
A New York Times writer concluded, after a culinary visit to Louisville, "My eating expedition could actually have begun and ended happily in a sleek restaurant called Lilly's."
|Recipe...Rabbit Liver & Preacher's Ham Croquettes Newsom's Preacher's ham, praised by "Gourmet," is the down-home ingredient in this exotic but simple recipe. Rabbit Liver & Preacher's Ham Croquettes Butter & bacon fat to sauté livers 1/2 lb Duncan Rabbit Ranch livers, coarsely chopped 1 small onion, minced 1 small stalk celery, minced 1 T. fresh chervil 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tsp. Dijon mustard 2 oz. Newsom's Preacher's Ham Kosher salt White pepper 2 T. Panko breadcrumbs 1 large leek, sliced in circles, white only 1 c. chicken stock 1 c. heavy cream 1 c. Burgundy wine 3 T. butter, cold 3 eggs, beaten Panko bread crumbs Melt butter and bacon fat in skillet; add livers and sauté until pink. Remove from pan and set aside. Sauté onion, celery and garlic until soft. In a separate bowl combine livers, onion mixture, chervil, mustard, ham, 2 T breadcrumbs, salt & pepper. Pour cream into sauté pan and reduce by half. Add to liver mixture. Form into 12 croquettes, dip in eggs, then bread crumbs. Refrigerate. Simmer leeks with chicken stock until soft. Remove leeks from stock. Set aside and keep warm. Reduce red wine by half, add the stock from the leeks, and reduce by half again. Stir in cold butter. Fry fritters- place on warm sliced leeks, finish with wine sauce.|