'Taste of Derby' to Kick Off Kentucky Derby Weekend

The food-centric event will feature culinary talent from across the country

This year marks Taste of Derby's fifth anniversary.

The Kentucky Derby is almost upon us. This means anyone making the trek to Churchill Downs this weekend has two things on their mind: ridiculous hats and delicious eats. Well, three things, because there’s also a pretty big horse race. But as any Hunter S. Thompson fan knows, the real story of the weekend takes place outside the track and the winner’s circle where mint juleps are poured, Southern dishes are cooked, and the silliest of head adornments reign supreme. 

This Thursday, the lucky folks attending the 5th annual Taste the Derby at the Kentucky Exposition Center will be table to kick off the biggest weekend in horse racing with the utmost decadence. Here are just a few of the culinary thoroughbreds from around the country who will be in attendance:

Chef Ian Gresik of Downtown Los Angeles’ Italian hot spot Drago Centro will be providing garganelli pasta with pork and rapini. 

Tampa Bay favorite Greg Baker of The Refinery will serve duck pâté with spicy fig remoulade.

Chef Tiffani Faison of Top Chef fame will bring Southern-style sausage with onion and pepper relish from Sweet Cheeks, her Boston barbecue joint.

Hometown chef Anthony Lama of Louisville’s own Latin-infused Seviche will serve pickled royal red shrimp.

Known for his appearances on Top Chef, Tim Love of Queenie’s Steakhouse in Denton, Texas will be hamachi tostada and lamb lollipops.

Chefs Joey Faugno and Mauro Castano of Carlo’s Bake Shop (and Cake Boss) will be serving a “specialty Derby cake” for dessert.


In addition to top culinary talent, some of the biggest names in horse racing are expected to be in attendance. Tickets cost $300, and a portion of the profits will go to hunger relief organizations. The Derby itself is set to go off at approximately 6:24 p.m. this Saturday.

Adam D’Arpino is the Restaurants Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @AdamDArpino.