Ouita Michel is the owner and executive chef of the Holly Hill Inn in Midway, KY, which is the flagship of her six-restaurant group. Over the past 15 years, Michel’s restaurants have purchased over $2 million of Kentucky farm products, including produce, dairy, and meats. Michel has been a James Beard Foundation Award nominee for Outstanding Restaurateur as well as Best Chef Southeast numerous times. Michel and her restaurants are regularly featured in local and national media, such as USA Today, Southern Living, and Garden & Gun. She also is chef-in-residence at Woodford Reserve Distillery. Michel was invited to be executive chef of the 2017 Bluegrass Ball in Washington, D.C, a celebration honoring the presidential inauguration.

She, her husband, Chris, and their daughter, Willa, live in a 200-year-old cabin with an expansive garden adjacent to the Holly Hill Inn.

Accolades & Publications

  • James Beard Foundation – Outstanding Restaurateur semi-finalist (2016), Best Chef: Southeast semi-finalist (2008-2012)
  • Sweet, Sweet Sorghum: Kentucky’s Golden Wonder (Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2011)


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