Madeleine Dee, also known as the Seasoned Cynic, is perhaps the most charming cynic I’ve ever met. The Louisville based chef and food entrepreneur has a background in acting and loves weaving humor into her endeavors when she can. Known for her restaurant Fond and a line of food products known as Fond Originals, she also now has a web series titled Easy Elegance,
“After I was on [Food Network’s] Chopped, people began to reach out to me,” she said. “They asked me if I could do a cooking show that taught cooking because they were tired of competition shows.”
Dee had previously released five episodes of a web series titled The Seasoned Cynic’s Guide to Entertaining, but she was juggling the restaurant, her store, and the series by herself. She pulled back for a while, but now she’s found herself in a better position to take on the production world once more and says it is what she’s always wanted to do.
“I’ve always wanted to create a Martha Stewart type lifestyle brand, but I didn’t want to showcase things that were ‘impossible.’ I want to help people improve their lives with the knowledge I have about entertaining, about food, about travel. I want to help them with elegance that is approachable, and I want everything to be based in humor…I don’t have enough time to take myself too seriously.”
With such a charming personality, talent and focused drive, it’s no wonder she’s been chosen to be the face of Logan Street Market as their resident chef. The two-story market planned for 1001 Logan St saw some setbacks that delayed the intended winter opening, and is planning on an April opening now that construction is underway. Once it is open, it will feature a large farmer’s market, a fishmonger, a butcher, global restaurants, a microbrewery, a coffee roaster and other vendors. The upstairs will feature local artisans. Being resident chef doesn’t mean she will be there cooking every day. It means she will be performing cooking demonstrations there and writing email newsletters, recipes and articles the market will publish on a weekly and monthly basis. Her demonstrations and writings will focus on how to create affordable meals using local and organic products sold at the market. She will also have a store there for Fond Originals. Fond, her restaurant, will remain at 2520 Frankfort Ave for now, although she is looking for a new location because the owner of the building plans to sell it later this year.
The Market is putting in a large furnished kitchen for her to perform the demonstrations in, and that is just one of the aspects Dee seemed most excited about.
“I just want to meet people,” she said. “Something that has been a point of frustration for me has been that I’ve done so much work by myself the last few years. I’ve been a one-woman show. That’s been very rewarding and has gotten me to where I want to be, but now I don’t want to be alone and working by myself all the time. I want to work with other people and contribute to the community, because I love Louisville. I want to know who I live in this city with and make their lives better with food.”
Photography by Gretchen Bell, courtesy of Madeleine Dee