Anthony Lamas, center, on a recent distillery tour with Bunkycooks blogger Gwen Pratesi. Photo by Roger Patresi.

A sign that culinary tourism has arrived here: Gwen Pratesi, the blogger behind Bunkycooks (a James Beard Award-nominated food and travel blog), is hosting a tour of Louisville restaurants designed to give out-of-towners a look into the inner workings of some top Louisville restaurants, distillers and food producers.

According to a news release, the three-day, two-night tour running from Oct. 15 throug Oct. 17 is called On the Road, and its stop here will include mix-and-mingle time with chefs Anthony Lamas (Seviche), Bobby Benjamin (La Coop) and Ghyslain Maurais (Ghyslain on Market) in their respective kitchens and dining rooms.

The tour also includes a tour led by distiller Julian P. Van Winkle, III (Pappy Van Winkle/Old Rip Van Winkle) and Matt Jamie (Bourbon Barrel Foods).

The whole tour costs $475 per person and includes all meals and pairings. (Tickets are limited to 20 guests and are nearly sold out.)

The idea for the tour evolved from a recent visit Pratesi paid to Lamas at Seviche. She blogged about the visit and she and her hubby, Roger, became friends with the chef, hanging out at various food and wine festivals.

During the May Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, the couple, Lamas and Van Winkle cooked up the idea for a tour.

“We started talking and, after a few bourbons, the idea turned into, ‘Let’s do a tour where people come in to the restaurants and see the city through its food,’ Lamas said. Over time, stops at La Coop, Ghyslain and Bourbon Barrel Foods were added. “One night everyone’s at my place, where Bobby will join me to cook, and the next night I go to La Coop as his guest chef.” The days will be divided between visits to the other three companies. (See the schedule below.)

If you want to go, take your shot at making reservations by calling 404-380-1010 or emailing [email protected].

Want to make it an official away from home getaway? On the Road guests get a specially discounted rate of $169 per night at the Brown Hotel.

If you can’t make the tour, Lamas’s dinner on Monday 15 is open to the public, and there are some seats left. His meal (click here to see the menu on his Facebook page) will be paired with Van Winkle’s whiskies and costs $125 per person (tax and gratuity not included.) Lamas said seating is tight, but “I don’t plan on turning anyone away.”

The On the Road day-by-day schedule:

Monday, October 15

• Opening reception and behind the scenes kitchen tour at Seviche with executive chef Anthony Lamas

• Five-course Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Dinner at Seviche (wine and/or bourbon pairings included) alongside special guest Julian P. Van Winkle, III and guest chef Bobby Benjamin of La Coop

Tuesday, October 16

• Private guided tour of Buffalo Trace Distillery (where Old Rip Van Winkle is distilled) led by bourbon artisan Julian P. Van Winkle, III

• Cooking demonstration, lunch, and wine at Bourbon Barrel Foods with Matt Jamie and chefs Anthony Lamas and Bobby Benjamin

• Free time to explore downtown Louisville

• Five-course French-inspired dinner complete with wine pairings with chef Bobby Benjamin at La Coop, with guest chef Anthony Lamas

Wednesday, October 17

• Breakfast and pastry demonstration at Ghyslain with chef and owner Ghyslain Maurais

Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 24-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Louisville magazine, Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass and Food & Dining Magazine. The author of two books, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and the "Home Distiller's Guide to Spirits," he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.


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