Derby-Pie® Foodies Final Project

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What’s ooey, gooey, chocolatey, and nutty all in one? None other than Kentucky’s original Derby-Pie®! Race to get a piece today!

The Kentucky Derby is an internationally-renown horse race that takes place in Louisville. This year, the event will take place on May 6 for the 143rd running of the Derby. The Kentucky Derby features a number of festivities that take place that weekend. Among the famous event traditions surrounding the Derby is the Royal Court. The Court is a group of six women that are selected to preside over numerous Derby events. Celebrations and events are both a part of the Kentucky Derby tradition. Over the years, many different traditions have developed around the Kentucky Derby. One of the most famous of these is the Derby-Pie®. The Foodies visited Kern’s Kitchen, where the Derby delicacy is prepared, baked, and shipped all of the country.

Many people may not know that Derby-Pie® is a trademark name that was born more than a half century ago of the Melrose Inn, in Prospect, Ky. George Kern, manager of the restaurant, developed the Derby-Pie® recipe with the help of his parents, Walter and Leaudra. They spent many hours trying to find the unique secret blend of chocolate and nut that make up this classic dessert. The Melrose Inn served hungry travelers for more than 50 years before closing in 2000. But, the blend remains the same, still a secret, to this day. The family, unsure what to name the pie, wrote out on slips of paper and tossed them into a hat… Derby-Pie® won and the rest was history!

The Kern grandchildren now take the same pride in preparing Derby-Pie® products today that their grandparents did more than five decades ago. Alan Rupp is the current President of Kern’s Kitchen. The grandson of Walter and Leaudra Kern, Alan was the primary reason they settled in Kentucky. Walter and Leaudra had intended to move to Florida after having their fill of Pennsylvania winters and stopped temporarily in Louisville to visit and help out with baby Alan. The area worked its magic—and then Derby-Pie® came along. The Kerns stayed. Consequently, Alan grew up with the smell of pie in his nose and hints of chocolate in his veins. In 1973, he started working in the family business learning how to properly sort walnuts, crack eggs, and pour without spilling. Alan is always generous with a smile and a handshake. His son, Jon Rupp, also works for the family business as the Sales Manager.

At Kern’s Kitchen, all of the magic of creating the Derby-Pie® filling is done behind the veil of a mysterious curtain. You can count on one hand the number of people who know the secret recipe. The company uses the name in the form “DERBY-PIE®” in official literature and advertisements. Kern’s Kitchen diligently guards the trademark and has filed more than 25 lawsuits to protect it over the years. The makers of similar pies have had to use different names such as “Pegasus Pie,” a reference to the Pegasus Parade at the Kentucky Derby Festival and May Day Pie, in reference to the First Saturday in May, the day of the Kentucky Derby.

You can find Derby-Pie® products at many fine restaurants and specialty stores in the Louisville area, or you can have it delivered to your door. Local restaurants such as Bistro 301, Captains Quarters Riverside Grille, and Dish on Market, offer it on their menu. Each restaurant typically finds their own distinct way of presenting the classic dessert. Whether it be served as a warm, gooey treat with coffee or presented with a chef’s signature flair, Derby-Pie® is a sweet ending to your meal. Just remember-if you’ve never eaten Kern’s Kitchen chocolate-nut pie, you’ve never eaten Derby-Pie®!

However, it just wouldn’t be fair to not mention all of the other delicious and classic Derby desserts. Along with Derby-Pie®, there are a couple other traditional treats that people like to serve up for Derby time. The Red Velvet Buttercream Rose Cake is a favorite for the Run of the Roses, and Chess pie is an old Southern classic that has withstood the test of time. There’s even such a thing now as Mint Julep Bars, which is a famous Derby cocktail transformed into a decadent dessert. Derby-Pie® is undoubtedly the most famous and most popular, but the honorable mentions are worth a try as well.

The Foodies were treated to taste tests of the Derby-Pie® fresh from the oven, and it was enough to get us all into the Derby spirit.


White Hot Chicken Chili

Who doesn’t love a good party – or should I say fiesta? This morning, I opened my Facebook app and noticed I was tagged in an interesting timehop post from my mom. Seven years ago today, we won a Chili Cook-Off at our local Exposition Center. We placed first in the homemade division and second overall, competing against restaurant chefs.


As the colder weather rolls back into town, I am reminded of my family’s chili recipe. As opposed to a traditional red chili, we make a white chicken chili. White chicken chili is an affordable, healthy, and delicious food that is simple to fix. I am an expert at making this dish because my family and I make it for every special occasion – movie premiers, sporting events, holidays, you name it! I’m going to share with you my family’s award winning “White Hot Chicken Chili” recipe, a sure-fire way to curb the rainy-day (or snowy) blues.


Go to the grocery store and buy all your food ingredients. You will need: 3-4 chicken breasts, 1 stick of butter, 1 large white onion, ¼ cup flour, 1 can chicken broth, 1 pint half-half, 1 tsp Tabasco sauce, 1 ½ tsp chili powder, ¼ cup chopped jalapeños, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. white pepper, 4.5 oz. (2 cans) chopped green chilis, 4 cans navy beans (drained), shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips. Our secret is that we use chili powder that we purchase from farmers in New Mexico, so it’s high quality.  We also suggest using New Mexico’s famous Hatch’s green chilis, and if possible, Trappey’s navy beans are the best to use.


Now, get in the kitchen and collect all your tools. You will need a large pot, a wooden spoon, a knife, measuring spoons, and a cutting board. Now you can get to cooking! Cook chicken breasts (preferably grill them, but they can be baked or microwaved) and set aside to cool. Chop onions and sauté them in butter. Lower heat to medium-low. When onion is soft, add flour. Next add half the chicken broth and allow thickening before adding the rest of the chicken broth. Make sure to stir. Repeat process with half-half. Next, add the Tabasco and spices, constantly stirring. Add green chilis and jalapenos, continuing to stir. Add navy beans. Finally, add the chicken. You may choose to pull the chicken in small strips or chop the chicken in small chunks. Warm, but do not boil the chili. Serve topped with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream. Eat with tortilla chips (instead of crackers as with traditional chili).


That’s all it takes to successfully create your own delectable white chicken chili. Now, head to the store and whip up a batch because the cold weather is sure to not last long. Now that you know our recipe, it’s like you have officially been inducted into part of my family. Two years ago, we won another chili cook-off at my high school’s homecoming competition. Our white chicken chili was the best, then and now! Time sure does fly! Bon appétit!