Shawn Ward: Ward 426 - Louisville Article
His upscale, Southern-inspired menus have garnered local and national accolades for more than 18 years. Chef Ward has been invited to cook for the revered James Beard House in New York City on four occasions, each time bringing his inspired use of regionally sourced ingredients to a national audience.
How did you develop your love of cooking?
Washing dishes at the age of 15 was my first experience in a restaurant then progressing to prep work and cooking lunch I quickly realized I enjoyed cooking and the lifestyle. Getting the chance to work nights and cooking with the much more experienced chefs I soaked up and tasted whatever culinary knowledge I could until moving on to different kitchens and styles of cooking before going to Johnson and Wales university and being fortunate to work for chef Louis Osteen in Charleston SC. Moving on to the Grove Park Inn, Lexington KY, then finally to Louisville where I grew up and realized that southern food had influenced my entire career.
How did you choose to work in Louisville?
Living in South Carolina the Kentucky derby was not what it is in Louisville and I found myself missing home and the people who make up the Louisville restaurant community.
What is your favorite thing about cooking?
I love the mobility that a restaurant provides you can start out as a dishwasher then move to a prep cook, then cook, sous chef, chef, executive chef, owner, teacher, etc. and the feeling you get from guest after a great meal.
What is your favorite thing about Louisville?
Besides the growing restaurant community and the respect and since of family that we all share Louisville is a great place to raise a family.
Your thoughts on the future of Louisville’s foodie scene?
The food scene in Louisville like the rest of the world is redefining itself there is great food everywhere from a street vendor to a fine dining establishment Louisville chefs will evolve in the future to hone our craft and ensure that the food scene stays at the level that we all deserve and work so hard to maintain.