A Look At Kentucky’s Food Culture

The September meeting of the Lexington Forum will feature a discussion on the different ingredients that go into making Kentucky’s food culture a growing national phenomenon. The Lexington Forum will host chefs Ouita Michel, Dan Wu, and Kate Horning, all of whom are Lexington area residents who have gained national recognition for their work in the food services industry. As these chefs perfected their business model, they helped create jobs in both Kentucky’s urban downtowns and its rural farms.

Ouita has a “traditional” business model for a food service business: she has built her restaurants through the well-known brick-and-mortar business model. Ouita’s brick and mortar restaurants in Midway, Lexington, and Versailles have purchased more than $3 million dollars’ worth of food products from KY farmers. Ouita also played an instrumental role in convincing the Top Chef television program, which averages 2 million national viewers, to showcase Kentucky in its upcoming season.Ouita knew that Kentucky’s authenticity–in its food, in its bourbon, in its beautiful landscapes, and in its people–were an unbeatable recipe for success. The exposure KY will receive from the Top Chef television program will drive tourism and economic development for years to come.

Dan Wu came to notoriety in 2014 as a contestant on the fifth season of Fox TV’s popular “MasterChef” program. Dan was able to leverage the exposure he received on that show to proselytize his style of food and his passion for the food industry through his efforts as the Culinary Evangelist by writing, podcasting, and teaching. As a TV star and an in-demand chef for pop up dinner parties, Dan was launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that helped create Atomic Ramen, Dan’s first foray into the retail restaurant world. Dan continues to collaborate with many local nonprofits, particularly in the areas of immigrant and refugee rights, food sustainability & education, and entrepreneurship.

Kate Horning started her career as a nutritionist and dietitian. Working one-on-one with clients, Kate was able to instill a passion for healthy living among her clients and colleagues. Her mantra of “Live it, Share it” helped her establish a food program customized to special events designed for an exclusive clientele. Through her passion for simplifying healthy cooking and eating for busy individuals, Kate and her team enable people from all over the United States to order healthy food online and receive it delivered in a convenient manner. Combining high tech with healthy food choices, Kate’s meal service uses artificial intelligence to answer the question of “what’s for dinner” with healthy, smart, convenient choices.


The Lexington Forum cordially invites you to join us on Thursday, September 6th, 2018 at 7:15 AM at the Hilary J. Boone Center on the University Kentucky campus. Please plan to arrive on time as we expect another full house.


Thursday, September 6, 2018

Hilary J. Boone Center – University of Kentucky Campus

7:15 – 7:30 am – Coffee & Networking

7:30 – 8:30 am Breakfast & Program

Parking is available in the

Register Now!

I can’t make it

Who will lead Lexington into the next Season? Come hear from the candidates.

And then there were two…

From a pool of six candidates campaigning through the Winter and the Spring, two well-known figures in the Lexington community have now moved past the primary and will continue campaigning for your votes this November – former Lexington Vice Mayor Linda Gorton and former Lexington Chief of Police Ronnie Bastin.

Be among the first to hear their respective positions as the Lexington Forum hosts the mayoral candidates for a discussion of their platforms prior to the general election. Below, please find links to each candidates website detailing their stances on many significant issues:

Linda Gorton for Mayor
Ronnie Bastin for Mayor
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Hilary J. Boone Center
University of Kentucky
7:15 Coffee and Networking

7:30 Breakfast and Program

Free to Members / Guest Fee $20
Space is limited.
Reservations are required.
Seats are available on a first come first serve basis.
Please RSVP by noon Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Register Now!


Foster Care & Adoption in Kentucky

This year’s Lexington Forum Annual meeting will feature a panel discussion on Foster Care & Adoption in Kentucky.

Over 9,000 children in Kentucky are currently in foster care. While many children eventually receive permanent placement, hundreds of others remain unable to be reunited with their biological families, and yet not wanted for adoption. Join us as we have a panel of experts educate us about this dilemma and how we may can help.

Our panel, moderated by Davonna Saier, will feature the following individuals:

Sherry Postlewaite, SRAA (Southern Bluegrass Service Region Foster Care Recruitment and Certification)
Melynda Jamison, MPA Executive Director, CASA of Lexington (Court Appointed Special Advocates)
Megan Moore, MSW, CSWKVC Kentucky’s Director of Training, Development, and Compliance
Todd Wetzel, Foster Parent

Thursday, May 3, 2018
Hilary J. Boone Center
University of Kentucky
7:15 Coffee and Networking
7:30 Breakfast and Program

Free to Members / Guest Fee $20
Please RSVP by noon Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Register Now – Click Here!

School Safety Initiatives

The Lexington Forum has made a programming change in order provide the Fayette County Public School District’s safety task force with an opportunity to complete its work.  After the task force issues its findings, we plan to invite members of the task force to join us for a program to discuss their recommendations.  The April meeting of the Lexington Forum program will still address the issue of student safety.
Please join the Lexington Forum as we welcome Transylvania University Police Chief Gregg Muravchick and University of Kentucky Police Major Nathan Brown, and Lexington Fayette County Police Chief Lawrence Weathers as panelists for the April meeting of the Lexington Forum.
Among various topics that will be discussed, we will learn how the University of Kentucky police department trains students and community members to respond to active aggressor situations. Transylvania University’s police Chief Muravchick, who was recently honored for his brave actions during a machete attack that occurred on Transylvania’s campus, will discuss how that incident impacted the Transylvania community. Police Chief Lawrence Weathers will discuss how the Lexington-Fayette police department provides overall assistance to active aggressor situations on school campuses, as well within Lexington-Fayette County as a whole.
Thursday, April 5, 2018
Hilary J. Boone Center
University of Kentucky
7:15 Coffee and Networking

7:30 Breakfast and Program

Free to Members / Guest Fee $20
Please RSVP by noon Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Register Now!
The Lexington Forum
invites you and a guest
to join us and our special guests
The Leadership Lexington Class of 2017-2018
“Let’s Go To The Races”
Sunday, The Eighth of April 
Two Thousand and Eighteen  
11:00 am Gates Open
12:00 – 2:00 pm Lunch  
1:05 pm First Post Time 
The Keeneland Room  
4201 Versailles Road
Lexington, KY, 40507
Admission cost is $65 and includes:
Lunch, Reserved Parking, Program
& a Spectacular View of the races
from Keeneland’s Fourth Floor.
Tickets will be available for pick-up at The Forum Breakfast Meeting on April 5, 2018. 
Registration is required for entry to this event!
The courtesy of a reply is requested by 
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Was Faulkner Correct When He Said “Civilization Begins With Distillation”?

Mississippi Judge Noah S. Sweat described bourbon whiskey as “the devil’s brew…the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty”.  In the same speech, Judge Sweat hailed bourbon whiskey as “the philosophic wine…that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars…to build highways and hospitals and schools…”

For more than two centuries, Kentucky’s distinct spirit has simultaneously caused condemnation and celebration. The Lexington Forum invites you to join us at our March 1st, 2018 meeting as we host Eric Gregory, President of the Kentucky Distillers Association, Mark Coffman, Master Distiller at Alltech, and Marianne Barnes, Master Distiller at Castle and Key, to discuss all things bourbon. Whether you prefer your bourbon neat, on the rocks, or mixed, we promise the conversation will be barrel proof.

Thursday, March 1, 2018
Hilary J. Boone Center
University of Kentucky
7:15 Coffee and Networking

7:30 Breakfast and Program

Free to Members / Guest Fee $20
Please RSVP by noon Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Register Now!

The Forum had an incredible turnout for “The Social” on Thursday,  February 22nd!

Thank you to our hard working board members who served on the committee: Davonna Saier, Morgan Whitney, & Ryan Kelsch.  They put on a fabulous event and we are so very grateful for the time they invested.

A VERY special Thank You to our Hosting Sponsor
“The Ruddy Duck”.

They will be opening their doors to welcome the general public the first week of March. Be sure to swing by the old Cheapside location and show them some Lexington Forum style gratitude.  Remember to have a “conversation that matters” while you are there and invite someone to join us at the next meeting.

Finally, none of this would have been possible without the support of our corporate sponsors.

Second Chance Employment In Kentucky

On January 13th, the New York Times reported that as the nation’s economy continues to improve, “a rapidly tightening labor market is forcing companies across the country to consider workers they once would have turned away”. Kentucky has been ahead of the game when it comes to realizing and recognizing the work ethic of individuals seeking Second Chance Employment Opportunities.
Stigmatized by various criminal convictions, some individuals are caught in a negative feedback loop where there was little hope for a stable job, let alone career advancement. This month’s panelists will discuss how Second Chance Employment Opportunities have not only provided skilled training curriculums to individuals who at first believed they had little prospect for success, but how by giving these individuals a second chance, they have unlocked a trove of compassion, entrepreneurism, and social benefit.
Please join member and moderator Tom Martin, along with the rest of the Lexington Forum, on Thursday, February 1st, as we welcome panelists Rob Perez, owner of DV8 Kitchen, Cary Plummer Executive Director of Jubilee Jobs of Lexington, and, of special note, longtime Lexington Forum member David Boggs, President/CEO of Opportunity for Work & Learning, to discuss what Second Chance Employment Opportunities means for Lexington’s place as an economic driver and market leader.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Hilary J. Boone Center
University of Kentucky
7:15 Coffee and Networking

7:30 Breakfast and Program

Free to Members / Guest Fee $20
Please RSVP by noon Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Register Now!