Don’t get all your ingredients from one store

Foodie: Someone who cares about food, takes pride in the variety of his eating habits and enjoys getting quality ingredients for his home cooking. Did you know you can buy many of the products we use in the restaurant business without ever setting foot in a retail grocery store?

Louisville boasts a great range of restaurant-industry suppliers whose products are also available to the public. Through the warmer months, restaurant types haunt the local farmers markets, where fresh, homegrown produce is always on hand and priced right. One of the city’s largest markets is at Beargrass Christian Church in St. Matthews on Saturdays. It’s just across the street from where I work. The big Bardstown Road market in the Highlands (at Deer Park) is open Saturdays, too, but others open on Sunday, some on Wednesday – heck, there’s at least one every day. Search “farmers markets” at for a comprehensive list of all 22.

Creation Gardens and the Kentucky Bison Company, both near East Main and Hancock streets, are reliable sources for gourmet items, produce and specialty meats. Gordon Food Service has three “Marketplace” stores in Louisville and another in Clarksville, Ind. They are great sources for the dry goods and frozen items we use in restaurants. Need hors d’oeuvres for a party? Don’t stress – go shopping! You can get ingredients or ready-made treats at these outlets.

Blue Dog Bakery in Crescent Hill provides artisan bread to Louisville restaurants. If you dine out often, you’ve surely had (and loved) it. Why wait for a restaurant dinner to enjoy it again? The bakery on Frankfort Avenue is open to all, and the bread is affordable and baked fresh daily.

Schuckman’s Fish Company and Smokery in the West End supplies gourmet smoked fish and seafood to local restaurants. Smoked trout and salmon, Kentucky spoonfish caviar – these luxury items aren’t just for the career chefs. You can buy Schuckman’s products at Lotsa Pasta on Lexington Road, Doll’s Market on Brownsboro Road and other specialty stores, or request your own catalog from

If you’re really motivated to learn where industry professionals get the products you love, send an e-mail to your favorite restaurant and ask. Most chefs love to talk about food and where it comes from. Make your list, plan your trip carefully to conserve gas, then buy your ingredients and wow your friends and family.

The writer, a graduate of Sullivan University, has worked at many Louisville independent restaurants, including Limestone, Jack Fry’s, Jarfi’s and L&N Wine Bar and Bistro. She is now the pastry chef at CafĂ© Lou Lou.