For over a year now, major events have been put on hold or altered significantly to meet safety requirements. And the same is true for one of May’s most anticipated affairs: The Kentucky Derby. Though the 147th running will happen on the traditional first Saturday in May this year, the number of reserved seats is 40-50% of capacity, limiting the thousands of revelers that typically flock to Churchill Downs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a racetrack experience. The famed Churchill Downs’ Executive Chef David Danielson is hosting virtual cooking classes to teach fans how to create classic Derby dishes at home.
For the first time, the Kentucky Derby is also launching an all-new free virtual cooking class series to coincide with the release of the highly coveted at-home viewing menu. The easy-to-make dishes, crafted by Danielson himself, are inspired by the culinary classics served up for the Run For The Roses. Featuring individually served “Jarcuterie” appetizers, kid-friendly bites, and decadent bourbon caramel desserts, the recipes will allow anyone to travel to Louisville via their taste buds and get the rare opportunity to learn directly from the experts at Churchill Downs.
The online classes will be taught by Danielson, who will provide step-by-step instructions for recreating some of the southern staples. Examples include Pulled Pork Sliders, Chicken Nuggets with Kentuckyiaki Glaze, and Masterful Mixology: Mint Julep & Woodford Spire. Danielson selected two recipes that people can whip up using popular kitchen gadgets – air fryers and crockpots – to make these dishes even more approachable when creating the classes.
“My chicken nuggets and pulled pork sliders are not only delicious, but they are simple to make, so home cooks of all levels can bring a taste of Louisville into their own kitchens,” Danielson told me.
And to enhance the at-home experience, the dishes will be paired for the first time with wine and cocktails by Bourbon Ambassador Tim Knittel and other expert sommeliers and distillers.
“Each year, we’ve innovated by adding different enhancements to the menu to give fans across the country new ways to celebrate Derby from their homes,” said Danielson. “The Kentucky Derby is more than just the ‘Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,’ it’s one of the most fun events in food, cocktails, entertainment, and style. We will continue to bring together these different elements to make the Derby experience possible no matter where you are celebrating from.”
Churchill Downs aren’t the only ones curating something special for at-home viewers. This year Woodford Reserve partnered with chef-driven meal company WeFeast to create a Derby feast for two. The menu items include Country Ham & Cheese Biscuits and can be delivered anywhere in the U.S. on time for the big race.
“The Kentucky Derby has looked different for everyone these past two seasons, and at Woodford Reserve, we’ve looked for ways to bring the Derby experience into people’s homes,” said Elizabeth McCall, Woodford Reserve Assistant Master Distiller. “Though we’d all love to cheer on our favorite horses together, the past year has shown us all that the best Derby celebrations don’t necessarily have to take place at Churchill Downs as long as we’re connected with our friends and family.”