Jonathan Searle, Executive Chef
Searle began his culinary career in 2008 at Lexington staples Dudley’s on Short, Bourbon n’ Toulouse, and Bellini’s. In 2011, Searle joined the team at Proof on Main, the acclaimed restaurant at 21c Museum Hotel Louisville, and quickly rose through the ranks to become executive sous chef. Searle helped the restaurant earn numerous accolades including a place on Bon Appétit magazine’s list of “10 Best Hotels for Food Lovers.”
With a successful tenure at Proof on Main and a strong network of the region’s craft purveyors, Searle returned to Lexington to open Lockbox restaurant at 21c Museum Hotel Lexington. He rejoins Louisville’s vibrant culinary community as executive chef of Proof on Main. True southern hospitality is interpreted by Searle’s thoughtful preparations that let the ingredients do the talking.
Charlie Cronin, Food & Beverage Director, Proof on Main
Charlie Cronin, a Los Angeles native, has more than a decade of food and beverage experience and proudly cut his teeth with 21c Museum Hotels as a banquet bartender. He went on to manage numerous bars and restaurants across the world, including New York, Philadelphia, and Ireland. Over the years, Cronin developed his self-described “old-school,” thoughtful and honest approach to bar management and precise control of operations as general manager for a number of establishments, including Prohibition in New York City. Most recently, he served as Food and Beverage Director of Lockbox at 21c Lexington. He returned to Kentucky and 21c because of his love of bourbon and his attraction to the flourishing culinary scene.
Cronin comes to Proof on Main having traveled to and experienced more than 20 different countries. His most influential experience was in a bar in Tokyo, where the cocktail creation was at a level he had never witnessed before. “I came across this little cocktail bar with only fifteen seats. I am not exaggerating when I say it changed my life. There are a lot of cocktail bars in the world and I’ve been to some of the best, but Bar Tram was something special. The presentation is what struck me the most. My friend got a drink called Jet Black Bird which was colored ebony by charcoal powder, presented in a coupe glass on a disk of wood, covered with a gilded birdcage which was then removed for theatrical effect. I had never seen anything like it. The bartenders took so much pride in their craft, meticulously using tweezers and razor blades, making each drink a work of art. This attention to detail, creativity and contemplative handling of ingredients is part of a constant dialogue I have with my staff at Proof on Main.”