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  • Chef Ouita Michel to Deliver Keynote at Midway University Spotlight Awards

July 17, 2015

Midway, Ky. – Midway University has announced that Chef Ouita Michel will deliver the keynote address at its second annual Spotlight Awards on May 28. Michel is the owner and executive chef at several local restaurants, including Holly Hill Inn, Wallace Station and Windy Corner Market and Restaurant, Smithtown Seafood, and the Midway School Bakery. She is also the chef-in-residence at Woodford Reserve Distillery and operates Glenn’s Creek Café and Glenn’s Creek Catering.

“Not only does Ouita excel in her professional endeavors, she, like our Spotlight Award winners, is a tireless advocate for the causes she champions,” said Dr. John P. Marsden, President, Midway University. “It is a pleasure for us to call such a renowned chef and speaker our friend and neighbor, and to welcome her to Midway University.”

She is devoted to using locally-sourced foods to help sustain Bluegrass family farms and provide her customers only the freshest, best-tasting fine cuisine. Her restaurants have purchased more than $2 million of Kentucky-grown meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables over the last 13 years. Her reputation and commitment to sustainability have earned speaking invitations and awards from local, regional and national organizations.

Michel’s work earns accolades from local and national fans of her cuisine. She has been a James Beard Foundation Award nominee as Best Chef in the Southeast numerous times, competing against chefs in major metropolitan areas. Her restaurants are regularly featured in local and national media, such as USA Today, Wine Spectator, Garden & Gun, Southern Living and The New York Times.

She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. Active in her community, Michel is a member of Slow Food USA; congregational coordinator of Kids in the Kitchen and free community supper programs for Midway Christian Church; board member of FoodChain, a non-profit food incubator in Lexington, Ky.; and is a member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a statewide citizens group working to improve education for Kentuckians. She lives in a 200-year-old cabin with an expansive garden adjacent to the Holly Hill Inn with her husband, Chris, and daughter, Willa.

Midway University’s Spotlight Awards highlight women (and men) who have been leaders in representing women’s issues, have made an impact that benefits women in the state of Kentucky and beyond, and innovative women in their chosen field. In addition, the awards ceremony is a time for the University to bestow the Legacy Award on someone who has directly impacted Midway University. This year’s honoree is Libby Lloyd Jones, a longtime University Trustee and former First Lady of Kentucky.

For more information on the Midway University Spotlight Awards, including how to purchase tickets, visit or call 859-846-5300.

Media Contact: Ellen Gregory, Vice President Marketing & Communications, 859-846-6046,