Birthday Parties and Cooking Shows

Secrets of Bluegrass Chefs crew left to right: Richard Weathers Jr., Michael Lattin, Lori Laird, Kevin Harned, Dan Davidsaver and Tim Laird.

By Janice Carter Levitch

What could be more exciting than a birthday party, especially when the birthday boy is turning 90? Laura Frazier, along with Cindy and Ray Carcione, recently hosted just that, a 90th birthday party for none other than Dan Schusterman. The happy gathering was held at Rostrevor, the home of Laura Frazier, which is the perfect place for a celebration. Built in 1908 and designed by Carrere & Hastings/Loomis & Hastings, its classic yet grand architectural style has the ability to transport guests to another time and place.

Dan was all smiles as he watched guests arrive, some of whom he hadn’t seen in quite a while (including me). Everyone shared stories about time they’ve spent with Dan over the years as they enjoyed the delicious dinner catered by Wiltshire Pantry. Cindy surprised Dan with one of her award-winning cakes (she’s an avid baker and a good one at that), which happened to be his favorite, Italian crème. The look on Dan’s face as everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and then the crowning moment when he took a bite of cake was priceless. And I think it was the first time I’ve ever seen him speechless. But, that didn’t last long as the conversations resumed and numerous toasts were made.

One toast was made by Mac Brown, who recounted wonderful memories. Cindy also reminisced about Dan’s illustrious contributions to our community and his family and friends. One very special moment of the evening was when Carla Sue and Brad Broecker sat with me and discussed her tenure as the weekly columnist for The Voice. As I spoke with her, she offered sage advice and explained to me how effortless, yet challenging at times, it was to create her column for so many decades. She took my hand and reassured me it would be as amazing for me as it had been for her. What an icon in our community. Wish me luck as I jump into adventurous waters and continue to create a weekly column that I hope you’ll enjoy being part of.

Onto another culinary moment. Let me be the one to inform you about something truly delicious happening in our city that you can participate in. “Secrets of Bluegrass Chefs” is filmed weekly at their studio location on Story Avenue. It’s an absolute barrel of fun with Bourbon Barrel Foods (yes, I know that’s corny) offering a collection of all-natural, award-winning gourmet foods. All of these are available to purchase in the green room (the reception area where the guests wait) and embrace the history and mystique of Kentucky’s bourbon country.

Laura Frazier, Ray Carcione, Jan Corum, Dan Schusterman and Cindy Carcione.

Once inside the studio where the cameras surround the staged kitchen, the hosts – Tim Laird, Chief Entertaining Officer for Brown-Forman, and Kevin Harned, chief meteorologist at WAVE 3 News – began bantering as they welcomed the audience. These guys are hilarious together, grabbing every opportunity to take comical jabs at each other, all the while keeping the show on track with the guest chefs of the week. Tim’s wife, Lori Laird, is always nearby and helps run the show while adding a touch of elegance. Kentucky Proud and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture are sponsors of the show.

As the chefs began explaining their menus to the audience and the hosts, Tim and Kevin continued bouncing their jokes around. I was committed to meandering over to the bar area to indulge in a silky red number, 1000 Stories Gold Rush Red, a red wine aged in bourbon barrels.

Chef Rob Rice from Grassa Gramma, an Italian-style restaurant opening soon in Holiday Manor, prepared a carbonara pasta dish that would make you slap your best friend (not really, but it was that good). Also included was a cooking presentation by chef Zack Wolf from Artesano, a Spanish restaurant located in Westport Village. Wolf introduced my palate to the most delectable brussels sprouts coated in brown butter. They tasted as if they were made in heaven. Every dish was so perfectly paired with the bourbon barrel-aged red wine, I could’ve cried.

Executive producer Michael Lattin and associate producer Dan Davidsaver work their magic week after week, making each show as unique as the last. “It’s always rewarding to be able to tell good news about our city and state. What better way to connect our local community than through food. We’re always amazed at the creativity and passion our local chefs have for their cuisines. We try to have as much fun making the show as the audience does watching it,” Michael commented. Fun, food, good times. What a vivacious community we live in. VT