An Interview With Chef Jeff Dailey

November 17, 2021
An Interview With Chef Jeff Dailey

Hey, y’all! Louisville is chock-full of amazing restaurants – and amazing chefs. The chefs that populate Derby City make it the culinary epicenter that it is. Recently, I had a chance to sit down with one of the city’s best to chat about his career and new role at Proof on Main. I hope you will enjoy reading my Interview With Chef Jeff Dailey.

An Interview With Chef Jeff Dailey: Louisville, Kentucky

1. Chef — thank you for taking the time to sit down with me for an interview. Please start by introducing yourself.

My name is Jeff Dailey and I am the Executive Chef here at Proof on Main.

2. Tell me about your culinary training and experience, as I know it’s extraordinary.

Education wise, I started at Sullivan University in 2005 and I have an Associates in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts along with a Bachelors in Hospitality Management. I’ve been working in the industry for 20 years now and I have been Executive Chef at Corbett’s Restaurant, Brix Wine Bar & Bistro, Harvest Restaurant and Matt Winn Steakhouse at Churchill Downs.

3. What brought you to love food?

My mother started my love of cooking. She was a veteran of the industry and ran her own catering company for a quite a while. I spent many an afternoon at restaurants that she worked at rolling silverware and vacuuming dining rooms in exchange for shrimp cocktail and virgin daiquiris.

Enjoy reading my Interview with Chef Jeff Dailey? Read my other blog posts here.

4. Do you have a distinct memory of food tied to childhood? For many, myself included, that is where it all started.

The first and most vivid food memory that I have is cooking scrambled eggs when I was 6 years old after seeing Jacque Pepin demonstrating his method on Julia Childs cooking show.

5. What is your favorite cuisine? A favorite dish?

Its hard to pick just one but if I had to, French and Japanese cuisines would be my favorite. One of the best dishes I’ve had in recent memory is a Ricotta Dumpling from Boka in Chicago.

6. What’s the best meal you’ve had while traveling?

The one meal that stands out most in my head is the dinner that I had at The French Laundry years ago. I had been looking forward to that meal for so long and romanticizing it so much in my head that I figured there would be no way that it could live up to the image that I had created. Sure enough though, it did. 

Enjoy reading my Interview with Chef Jeff Dailey? Read my other blog posts here.

7. As the chef of Proof on Main – which, in my opinion, is one of the best restaurants in the city – what’s your vision? What can we expect to see coming out of the kitchen?

My vision for the restaurant is the same that it has always been pretty much everywhere I go. I want to create a place that I want to eat at. The food should have a minimalistic approach but still be very technique driven. Approachable but still unique, while paying homage to all that 21c and Proof on Main are. There is a lot of history in this restaurant and it would be foolish to think that I can ignore that, so I try to blend my style with what I would consider the “brand”.

8. Lastly, when readers come and dine with you at Proof — what dish would you most recommend that they order?

The Chicken. The testament of a restaurant is how they treat a chicken. 

Cornbread at 21C, Proof on Main

JC’s Note

Sitting down to chat with Chef Dailey was a joy. We talked for over an hour — everything from what makes Louisville special, the ultimate type of Kentucky fried fish, Kentucky agriculture, and anything else you can imagine. Chef Dailey understands Kentucky; I’m excited to see what he accomplishes at Proof on Main. Do yourself a favor and dine downtown at 21c!

About Proof on Main

Proof on Main showcases a unique, modern approach to locally-sourced cuisine. Partnerships with local farms and regional producers highlight the bounty of the Ohio River Valley + the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Located in Downtown Louisville inside of the 21c Museum Hotel, Proof on Main captivates a devout local following, while also being a must-dine location for tourists. Their cuisine is unique + their bar is chock-full of the Commonwealth’s spirit: Kentucky Bourbon. Visit Proof on Main at the intersection of 7th and Main.

Chicken at 21C, Proof on Main

Follow Proof on Main on Facebook, Instagram, + check out there website here.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

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Thank you so much for visiting the blog today! I’d love to keep in touch via social media. You can follow my content on InstagramFacebookPinterestTik TokTwitter, and LinkedIn. I also author a sister website to Unabashedly Southern, JCP Eats, on which I write about southern food. Read JCP Eats here.

Enjoy reading my Interview with Chef Jeff Dailey? Read my other blog posts here.

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