Tim and Lori Laird have served as Food & Dining Magazine’s Entertaining Editors-at-Large almost from the publication’s inception, authoring their “Easy Entertaining” columns and periodically opening their home to staff meetings that tend to devolve into storytelling and conspicuous consumption within moments of the opening gavel.

No one ever complains, especially when Tim recounts how he became CEO (Chief Entertaining Officer, now retired) at Brown-Forman, or recalls exploits from the couple’s global travels, always with a mind toward helping others learn how better to entertain at home.

Together, the Lairds have published three highly acclaimed Easy Entertaining! books, and in addition to co-hosting Secrets of Bluegrass Chefs, Tim has made hundreds of appearances on radio and television programs, guesting on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, The Tonight Show, ABC World News Now, and Good Morning America, to name just a few.

In 2018, Tim Laird co-authored The Bourbon Country Cookbook with Churchill Downs Executive Chef David Danielson, and in 2021 he shared recipes from the book as well as perennial Derby entertaining tips with WDRB’s Keith Kaiser.

Head over to WDRB’s web site, watch the video clips, and let America’s CEO educate you: Party Pro Tim Laird has the recipe for Derby Entertaining Fun. Here’s the recipe for Bourbon Pecan Fudge, which makes 64 (1-inch) squares.

    • 20 ounces dark chocolate chips
    • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
    • ¼ cup bourbon
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 cups chopped pecans, lightly toasted

Line an 8 × 8-inch baking dish with waxed paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each side.

In a large, microwaveable bowl, heat the chocolate chips on high for 90 seconds. Remove and stir well. Repeat for another 90 seconds and stir until fully melted. Add the sweetened condensed milk, bourbon, vanilla, and salt. Stir until smooth. Add the nuts and stir until fully incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until firm. Using the waxed paper, lift the fudge out of the pan and turn it out onto a cutting board. Remove and discard the waxed paper and cut into 8 slices by 8 slices to make 64 (1-inch) squares.

Wrap the fudge in a clean sheet of waxed paper and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.