I'll tell you why Honeywood, by Chef Josh

I'll tell you why Honeywood

by Josh Smouse

Honeywood executive chef Josh Smouse at the Holly Hill Inn stove

Honeywood executive chef Josh Smouse at the Holly Hill Inn stove



Honeywood owner Ouita Michel, who owns several Bluegrass area restaurants, has been besieged with, “Why another restaurant?”

As for me, a chef with a fine dining background, I am asked often lately, “Why did you agree to the executive chef position at Honeywood?”

The underlying question is really, “Why are you, a champion of and chef in small, fierce, free-standing restaurants, opening a 150-seat restaurant in a shopping center?”

In truth, the answer to that question revealed itself well after I agreed to participate in the project.

My answer is, “Because of love.” I love this company. I love what Roger (Solt, longtime Ouita business partner), Chris and Ouita have built. I love that we consistently do things that make sense to us, to our vision of hospitality and dining. I love that we have serious conversations about avoiding some efficiencies in order to create charm and character. I love that we leave money on the table because supporting local farmers and businesses is in our DNA. I love that there is a genuine camaraderie amongst ALL people working in the company. I love that Mike and Amy Perry — Amy is Honeywood Parrish Rouse’s granddaughter— were the first people to eat from the Honeywood menu.

This company is going to double in size in the next year and I believe I can help make Honeywood another Ouita Michel restaurant not only in name but also in action. We can become a faceless restaurant group or we can continue to nurture everything that has brought us here. I choose the latter.