This Year's Kentucky Derby Menu Will Make You Want to Book a Flight to Louisville ASAP

This year's menu will feed more than 22,000 guests

137th Kentucky Derby - Arrivals
Photo: Getty

Aside from the elaborate outfits and betting on horses, when most people think of the Kentucky Derby, they think of delicious southern food.

David Danielson, who has been the Churchill Downs executive chef since 2013, told PEOPLE he wants to showcase foods unique to the Louisville area, while also offering people healthy options as well.

“I feel like everyone thinks Southern food is just fried chicken and biscuits, and there’s really a lot more to it, because the people down here are eating a lot of fresh vegetables out of the garden and different type of things,” Danielson says. “We have people who are out here, it’s a long day, and we feel that we want to give people a lot of choices, show them a lot of different things, and get everybody fed without really filling them up.”

Although the options are on the lighter side — there’s more than enough to go around. About 1,592 pounds of baby carrots and 1,950 pounds of beef tenderloin will feed the more than 22,000 guests eating in the premium dining areas.

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“It takes a lot of time for us to work with these people to make sure they have the amounts of food that we’re going to need,” Danielson says. “We use about 4,500 pounds of New York Strip and almost 9,000 pounds of turkey breast between those days carving. It’s an enormous amount of food.”

See the full menu below.

Chef’s Appetizers

Roasted and pickled asparagus salad


Charred onion-bacon pimento cheese

Poached shrimp tomato aspic with basil syrup

Strawberry Caprese salad with sweet basil dressing


Spinach salad with sweet potato, blue cheese, pecan, and herb buttermilk dressing

Pole beans and shrimp salad with heirloom tomatoes, lemon, and parsley

Chef’s Sides

Oven roasted baby carrots with local honey and rosemary

New potatoes with bacon and garden chives

Chef’s Entrees

Chilled beef tenderloin with Kenny’s farm blue cheese, arugula


Woodland country ham with melon, burrata, pear thyme vinaigrette

New York strip loin with bourbon barrel smoked, pepper crusted

Chef’s Desserts

Bourbon sea salt and chocolate caramel tart

For more exclusive food news, follow People Food on Facebook.

Derby festivities kick off Saturday, May 6.

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