This past weekend I had the pleasure of interviewing chef Brian Malarkey (ABC's The Taste, Top Chef season three) at the Austin FOOD & WINE Festival. Conversation turned to this weekend's Kentucky Derby, his love of horses, and recipes he created just for Derby Day. Malarkey grew up on a farm in Oregon, with a mother who was a horse trainer and he participated in rodeo competitions during high school, so his love of horses began at an early age.
Turn the page to today, chef Malarkey has created a thriving group of restaurants in San Diego, Scottsdale, and has a Searsucker location set to open in Austin this month. When he’s not filming an episode of The Taste or opening up his latest restaurant, family, food, and horses take center stage.
Malarkey is the owner of horse Sir Searsucker, running its first race at Santa Anita this spring, with Hollywood Park up next in line. With deep-seeded family ties to the Kentucky Derby, Malarkey has continued to nurture his love of horses, as his uncle is the track photographer at Churchill Downs, giving Malarkey access to the sights, sounds, and action of Derby Day up close and personal. A seasoned photographer himself, Malarkey attends horse racing’s biggest race every year, photographing the 20 thoroughbreds as they "run for the roses," the most coveted prize at the Kentucky Derby. Last year, Malarkey’s photographic eye and love of horses landed him the cover of the Kentucky Derby Calendar.
Malarkey credits the time he has spent in the South, more pointedly, his time in Kentucky, with influencing his cooking.