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Michel earns award nomination for outstanding restaurateur

Kentucky restaurateur Ouita Michel was named Feb. 17 as a semifinalist for a James Beard Foundation Award, a prestigious honor for culinary professionals. Michel was nominated as 2016 Outstanding Restaurateur by the foundation. She owns Holly Hill Inn and The Midway Bakery, Midway; Wallace Station Deli, Versailles; Windy Corner Market and Restaurant and Smithtown Seafood, Lexington; and Glenn’s Creek Café at Woodford Reserve Distillery, where Michel is chef-in-residence. “When a band is nominated for a Grammy, it’s not because of the lead singer,” Michel said. “I would not get the nomination if I did not have such a talented group of people to work with.” For the Outstanding Restaurateur Award, a semifinalist is judged as a working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Candidates must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years, according to the foundation. Finalists will be announced in March; winners will be announced at the foundation’s annual gala in Chicago in May. James Beard Foundation Awards honor the best and brightest in the food world, from cookbooks to rising chefs to best restaurants in North America. Time magazine called the awards “The Oscars of the food world.” Michel has been nominated several times as Best Chef Southeast.

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