13 Questions with Proof on Main Executive Chef Jeff Dailey

We’re thrilled to welcome Kentucky-native Jeff Dailey to our flock, as Executive Chef of Proof on Main. Fueled by pasta, PBR and Old Fo’ on the rocks, Chef Dailey has spent the last 15 years in the Louisville fine dining scene, including tenure as Executive Chef at Corbett’s, Harvest and most recently Matt Winn Steakhouse at Churchill Downs. So, if you’re from Louisville and you love food, you may already know Jeff and his food well. For those looking to get to know him a little more or are meeting him for the first time, we sat down and asked him 13 questions about what inspires him and what he likes to eat.

What’s the last meal you ate? 

The last thing I ate was staff meal at Matt Winn — Fried Chicken and Loaded Tater Tots for the win!

What’s your favorite recipe to cook at home?

My favorite thing to cook and eat is Cacio e Pepe. I could eat pasta every day of the week and Cacio e Pepe is the perfect simple pasta dish.

What’s your favorite dish at a local restaurant? 

The burger at Toasty’s Tavern is the absolute bomb. It is everything a good hamburger should be. Also, the birria tacos at El Molcajete make me very happy.

At the top of your list to try locally? Nationally? 

Locally, I need to make it out to Barn 8 to try Alison Settle’s menu, which I hear is amazing. Nationally, I would like to go to Ever in Chicago. Curtis Duffy has always done very thoughtful and interesting food and I never got to try it at Grace.

Ingredients you can’t live without?

Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt and Bone Marrow.

What 3 things are always in your fridge? 

At least 4 kinds of pickles, multiple mustards and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Who’s a chef that inspires you? 

Thomas Keller has always been a big inspiration to me. I read the French Laundry cookbook my freshman year of high school and it was one of the driving forces behind why I started working in kitchens.

What’s your favorite food city (to visit) and why?

New York City is hard to beat. Between the number of great restaurants and the diversity, it’s a pretty easy win.

Is there a food-related business/type of restaurant that you think is missing in Louisville, and hope to see in the future? 

It’s kind of a long shot, but I would love to see a high-end 12-seat omakase sushi restaurant.

Currently in heavy rotation on your playlist? 

Neil Young, The White Stripes & Kayne West

What drink starts your day? Ends your night? 

The day usually starts with cold brew coffee and ends with an Old Forester on the rocks.

What can we expect from the menu at Proof on Main? 

Guests can expect to have thoughtful and playful food that highlights local producers.

Any dish you are particularly excited about?  

With Fall right around the corner, I can’t wait to start doing some big, shareable braised dishes that will definitely turn some heads in the dining room.