Much of Kathy Cary's inspiration derives from her knowledge and love of her own Kentucky roots, where she learned to love food at an early age in her mother's kitchen. Apprenticed to a cordon Bleu-trained chef in Washington, D.C., she later started a small catering firm there and then became a chef at a stylish Georgetown restaurant.
She returned to Kentucky, and opened her first La Peche gourmet-to-go shop in 1979. Lilly's opened 24 years ago, with a menu that reflects Kathy's French-inspired use of traditional Kentucky ingredients with unexpected, contemporary twists.
Food at Lilly's continues to be influenced by our longstanding tradition of buying locally from farmers and producers, rather than pursuing fashionable food trends," says Kathy Cary, chef/owner. Kathy uses ingredients such as catfish, country ham, bourbon, seasonal produce and local artisanal cheeses and meats on an ever-changing menu that honors Southern foodways but doesn't hesitate to draw from Continental, Mediterranean and Asian techniques.
Kathy also heads a celebrated catering operation, known as La Peche. She is known and admired both regionally and nationally. The Louisville Dining Guide summed up Lilly's as "the most influential and celebrated Louisville restaurant of the past decade
Kathy has been honored to be selected as one of the few James Beard Award Nominees in the category of "Best Chef of the Southeast" – annually from 2002 through 2006.
A New York Times writer concluded, after a culinary visit to Louisville, "My eating expedition could actually have begun and ended happily in a sleek restaurant called Lilly's." (courtesy of Louisville Originals)