Chefs and foodies: Come one, come all for Taste of Jessamine

Published 2:46 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Jessamine County food lovers and makers are invited to the 26th annual Taste of Jessamine event.

Twenty-seven years ago, Sam Lee, community president of the event’s sponsor, First Southern National Bank, wanted to develop a new way to invest money into the community. With John Swaim, Lee came up with the idea for the Taste of Jessamine Dinner.

The event started with about 25 cooks, including local dignitaries and business owners. That year, while being held at East Jessamine High School, around 300 people were fed, and $30,000 was raised. The organizations receiving donations that year were All God’s Children, which was just opening up, and the local YMCA.

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“They didn’t know what they were doing. They didn’t know what it was about. They just knew they were supposed to bring some dishes– maybe old family recipes, or nostalgic recipes a grandparent used to make,” Lee said.

A few years later, the event moved to West Jessamine High School. From there, it could host 4-500 people with 40-50 cooks. Within the last few years, though, it has moved to the RJ Corman Hangar. They now have 60-70 cooks and expect around 1,000 people to attend.

“And the dishes are incredible. It’s not like…you’re coming and just getting chips and dip,” Lee said. There will be plenty of entrees, appetizers, and desserts for attendees.

Lee said Taste of Jessamine is one of the largest events in the county.

“It brings everybody together. You’re not coming there just to eat, you’re coming there to socialize and see people that you might not have seen all year. Come and join us to try the dishes.”

At the end of the night, judges will choose a winner for each section and then an overall winner. Lee also said they had recently added a silent auction to the event to help raise more money for the benefiting nonprofits. The silent auction will feature 200 items to bet on.

This year, the event’s profits will go towards three nonprofits: Lord’s Legacy Ministries, The Family Food Center and Jessamine County Senior Center.

The event will be held at RJ Corman Hangar 2, 401 Enterprise Drive, Nicholasville, on Friday, May 10, starting at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the event or at First Southern National Bank in Nicholasville. Adults are $15, children 12 and under are $10, and children five and under are free.

If you are interested in being a “celebrity chef” for the event, pick up a form at First Southern National Bank on 204 Fairfield Drive.

If you’d like to sponsor a table, you can make a $350 donation in a check made payable to Taste of Jessamine, dropped off at First Southern National Bank.

You can also make a financial donation by visiting the same bank.