The future of food? It’s female.
Unsurprisingly, we find that Kentucky is amply represented on the list of Southern Living’s 2020 Cooks of the Year.
Samantha Fore, Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites
Like many Southern chefs, Samantha Fore has devoted fans who adore her fried chicken and shrimp and grits. But for Fore, those familiar dishes are gateways to expand people’s palates and minds. At Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites, her traveling pop-up based in Lexington, Kentucky, the chicken is brined in a buttermilk-curry mixture and the shrimp is flavored with lemongrass, ginger, and lime and served over coconut rice grits.
Since Tuk Tuk opened in 2016, Fore has hooked Lexington and other cities across the country with her original takes on Sri Lankan food. She was born in Kentucky to Sri Lankan parents, so dishes that blend Southern and South Asian ingredients and cooking techniques come naturally to her.
Coby Ming & Damaris Phillips, Bluegrass Supper Club
If one word defines the creative team of Damaris Phillips and Coby Ming, it is “connection.” There is the connection between the two chefs who are longtime friends and business partners, the connection to the farmers they work with, and the connection with their guests.
The two met more than 20 years ago while working at Lynn’s Paradise Café in Louisville, Kentucky. Although their careers took them in different directions (Ming worked as a chef in several local restaurants; Phillips was a winner on the television series Food Network Star and got her own show, Southern at Heart), they kept in touch and shared the same desire to take their culinary and hospitality experience on a different route. “After many years of talking about what we could do together, we decided to quit talking and start walking,” says Ming.
It’s always satisfying when a national publication verifies what we already knew about the food and dining scene hereabouts, and the people who get it done. Cheers to the honorees!