They met at a James Beard Boot Camp. They own successful restaurants from Chicago to Atlanta to Washington, D.C. But this is the first time they will all be cooking together for the public to sample.

Central Kentucky's own Chef Ouita Michel will bring these five women chef friends to Lexington to prepare a dinner to benefit FoodChain on Tuesday, March 14 at the Apiary. It will be the first-ever F.E.A.S.T. (Food Equity and Access Sustains Tomorrow), a new event that will spotlight great food from top chefs while tackling today's tough questions about America's food system.

"I'm so honored that these women were so enthusiastic to come display their culinary prowess here in Lexington," Michel said. "They will spotlight new ways to provide fresh food education and access to our community. The fact that each of these women are committed to food justice in their own home communities shows the power that chefs can yield by using their culinary skills to cultivate change in our local food systems."

The F.E.A.S.T. will feature:

Six highly accomplished, James Beard-celebrated women chefs
Six unique dishes exemplifying each chef's distinct style
Hors d'oeuvres by Michel
Craft cocktail pairings
Dessert station by Apiary's Pastry Chef Susanna Henderson
The event will run from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $75 and include dinner, a welcome cocktail and two drink tickets. The event is expected to sell out, so purchasing tickets early is advised.

The event will support FoodChain, which was started in 2011 by Lexington native Becca Self. The organization has Kentucky's first indoor aquaponics system, which has produced 5,400 pounds of fresh food. FoodChain also has provided 33,000 hours of education on urban agriculture and local food systems, and brings cooking education into area elementary schools. This year, FoodChain is opening a teaching and processing kitchen in the Bread Box on the corner of West Sixth and Jefferson. It will provide cooking education for youth, meal planning for families, and a culinary workforce development initiative for underemployed individuals

As a nonprofit, FoodChain is providing a new local food production model, which is equitable, sustainable, economically viable, and supports the social and ecological well-being of this community and region.

"We are so fortunate to have such strong advocates in chefs, particularly Ouita, who's been a board member of FoodChain since our inception," Self said. "F.E.A.S.T. provides a unique new platform to show our Lexington community how innovative food access solutions are taking place right in their hometown. And doing so while enjoying delicious food from nationally recognized chefs is really the icing on the cake."

The featured chefs are:

Abra Berens is a chef and former farmer who cooks to celebrate the bounty of Midwestern food production. She is the Executive Chef at Local Foods Chicago and co-founder of Bare Knuckle Farm. She utilizes her sense of seasonality to show off the best of our Midwestern farms on each plate.

Jamilka Borges is the Executive Chef at Spoon, one of Pittsburgh's premier dining destinations, and part of the S+P Restaurant Group. With expertise in regional, French, Italian and Latin cuisine, Borges brings a diverse and dynamic culinary style to Spoon and the S+P team.

Joy Crump, a Pennsylvania native is known far and wide for crafting the seasons' best locally-sourced and organic ingredients into comfortably refined dishes. A graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta, Crump honed her skill while working at Woodfire Grill alongside Chef Kevin Gillepsie, an industry pioneer credited with bringing organic farm-to-table culinary practices to the Atlanta restaurant scene.

Amy Brandwein is the chef and owner of Centrolina, a combined seasonal Italian restaurant and market that opened in Washington, D.C., in spring 2015. Prior to opening her own restaurant, Chef Brandwein was the opening chef de cuisine at Alba Osteria in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Previously, Chef Brandwein launched Casa Nonna, the BLT Restaurant Group's first Italian concept in Washington D.C and New York.

Asha Gomez launched Cardamom Hill Restaurant in January 2012 in Atlanta. An instant success, the restaurant received praising reviews, Cardamom Hill was named one of Bon Appétit's 2012's 50 Best New Restaurants, was on the 2013 James Beard Semi-Finalist List of 20 Best New Restaurants, one of Southern Living's 5 Best Restaurants in the South. Gomez was also named one of the 2013/2014 Food & Wine Magazine Best New Chef - People's Choice semi-finalists. Her Kerala fried chicken, was voted by Fox Television Network as one of the 10 best fried chicken dishes in the country and has received numerous national and international acclaim.

For more information on F.E.A.S.T. or to purchase tickets, visit

Full bios and photos of the chefs, as well as the F.E.A.S.T. logo, can be downloaded at