Chef Jeremy Ashby The Interview

Friends Drift Inn Farm – Real Life and Chefs

Chef Jeremy Ashby of Azur Restaurant and Patio Lexington KY

Chef creates a Buzz in The Bluegrass

He wears a white chef’s coat like a heroic knight. He laughs about the culinary profession being “a respectable career.” He’s passionate about fresh ingredients especially “Kentucky Proud.” At age thirty two, the chef enjoys exploring a variety of food stylings. His approach is “in your face” with one element in each dish memorable and over the top.

Chef Jeremy Ashby admits “I’ve got something to prove.” From my point of view, he is well on his way.
   
Azur Restaurant and Patio Lexington KY Chef Jeremy Ashby

Ashby is executive chef of Lexington’s trendy Azur Restaurant and Patio Lexington KY where local ingredients find their way into a kaleidoscope of internationally inspired dishes.
   
He co-hosts WLAP Radio’s Sunny Side Up covering the Kentucky food beat.
   
He just returned from New Orleans where as “King of Kentucky Seafood” he competed in “The Great American Seafood Cook-off.”
   
   
Of his Louisiana experience, he chuckles. The cameras were up in his face. He put on a show using Kentucky grown shrimp and trout. There were flaming bourbon barrel staves involved, apparently quite the presentation. The competition was stiff, with fifteen states all vying for the prize.

After all was said and done, Ashby represented Kentucky well. “I taught them all to drink Kentucky bourbon.They really had no idea” the chef laughs.
   
Chef Ashby has tomatoes growing at Azur Restaurant and Patio

Ashby grew up in the Bluegrass. Farm-to-table was not a trend of his youth; it was a way of life. He states “Kentucky agriculture is amazing; undoubtedly some of the best in the country. I’m trying to break through the bottleneck, spreading the word that Kentucky can be THE food destination.” With our Bourbon Trail and our Wineries, the stage is set.

Azur Farmers Market

Following his freshman year at UK, Ashby took on a summer job at Lexington’s Merrick Inn. It was there he fell in love with the idea of pursuing a culinary career. By the fall semester, he was in Charleston SC as a student at Johnson and Wales University chasing his dreams. At age nineteen, he was in Miami learning “fusion” cooking techniques; combining elements of Latin, Asian, Caribbean, and African into new and exciting dining adventures. It is those roots that bring him back to focus on fresh local ingredients used in new and exciting ways. Ashby plans to turn Kentucky on it’s ear!

Chef Ashby could be successful anywhere, but he chooses Kentucky where he was raised. “Kentucky is where I am happy. It’s home.” Ashby is so proud of his Kentucky roots; he has become a one man ambassador recruiting high profile chefs to open restaurants in the Bluegrass.
Chef Jeremy Ashby Shoots Pool relaxing before his radio show

Over the next year, there will be some changes in Ashby’s life. He currently commutes to Lexington from Louisville six days a week. His wife, a resident surgeon, will soon be ready to relocate to Lexington along with his toddler daughter. Once the family makes the move, Ashby hopes for a more “normal” life.

Chef Jeremy Ashby stacking Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

“My first responsibility is a husband and father. I dream of a new home with a garden, a pool, and a one pot dinner simmering on the stove. I need to get back those hours I’m spending on the road, so I can focus more on what’s important” the chef asserts.

“I love a chef’s life. I live for it. I love to cook. I want to be a good husband and father. I want to produce good food. I want our farmers market to succeed. I want the radio show to really connect people to the farm to table concept. There’s a new restaurant in the works; and once I center in on a theme I hope to write a book.”

Chef Jeremy Ashby has his head on straight. I can feel his restlessness to move ahead; yet the young chef works slowly, quietly and methodically. In a few years, I predict this talent will be heralded as “an overnight sensation.” We with a few grey hairs know it takes hard work to achieve that status.

As for Ashby? I hope he enjoys the ride.

PS Kentucky aquaculture is something Chef Jeremy is passionate about. He worries about the fate of our oceans, he supports the concept of sustainably raised fish originating in Kentucky. I think that topic deserves more than a few lines. It may take me awhile, but I will be bringing you more on the subject and more on Chef Jeremy Ashby at a later date.

UPDATE I am will be delving deeper into Kentucky Aquaculture but here is some of dishes served by Chef Jeremy Ashby at Woodford Reserve Bourbon Distillery

Follow Chef Jeremy at Azur Restaurant

More about Ashby and Chefs
Azur Restaurant and Patio Lexington KY
Inn Step with Chef Jeremy Ashby
Chef Jeremy Ashby at Woodford Reserve Bourbon Distillery
More About Chef Jeremy Ashby
Chefs

About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.