01 Aug

Kentucky Humanities to Celebrate 50th Anniversary at the Paducah Convention & Expo Center

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Kentucky Humanities, in partnership with American Queen Voyages, the Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet, the culinary arts program at West Kentucky Community & Technical College, and Paducah Bank, will host four esteemed chefs who will not only demonstrate their favorite “river recipes” but relate the stories behind the food and how cuisine can be a unifying and defining aspect of any culture on Saturday, September 17th at 10 a.m. (CDT). Presentations by each chef will be followed by access to a “tasting arena” where attendees will get to sample food items that were demonstrated as well as purchase culinary-related items from each chef.


The event will be held at the Paducah Convention & Expo Center, 415 Park Street in Paducah, and is free of charge, but reservations are required. 


Regina Charboneau, known as the Queen of Biscuits, is the Culinary Ambassador for American Queen Voyages, a restaurateur who has authored several cookbooks, appeared on numerous broadcast outlets including the Travel Channel and most recently the Hallmark Channel, and has been featured in Southern LivingThe New York Times, and various other culinary magazines. She mixes traditional French culinary training with tricks passed on through generations of Southern bakers. Regina is a Mississippi maven, born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi, where the River runs through her veins.


Phillip Ashley Rix, is one of the world's preeminent chefs and designers of luxury chocolate. An award-winning chocolatier headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, he has curated dining experiences at the James Beard House in New York City, as well as creating tens of thousands of chocolates for Hollywood’s elite at the EMMYS®, GRAMMYS® and OSCARS®. He competed as a finalist on Food Network’s Chopped Sweets and Forbes Magazine has named him the “Real Life Willy Wonka.”


Paul Signa is the owner of Paducah’s Doe's Eat Place. The original Doe's Eat Place was established in 1941 in Greenville, Mississippi, by Signa's parents. Paul will share the story about how Doe's Eat Place moved from a grocery store to a famous restaurant and how he came to Paducah. He will also demonstrate one of his signature dishes.


John Varanese is a restauranteur and executive chef in Louisville, Kentucky, settling there because of its successful independent dining scene and the fact that locals appreciate fresh ingredients prepared creatively and a culturally diverse menu. Dedicated to local farmers who provide the freshest local products as showcased in many of his signature dishes, he also serves on the Kentucky Restaurant Association’s Board of Directors, has received numerous culinary awards and recognition, and stars in and co-produces his own television show, Big World of Food, which educates viewers on the importance of local farms to the food on their tables.


“We are thrilled to bring our 50th anniversary celebration to Paducah,” said Kentucky Humanities Executive Director Bill Goodman. “Paducah has always embraced Kentucky Humanities’ programs and supported us in our mission of Telling Kentucky’s Story. Food is an important part of Kentucky’s history and culture, and we look forward to hearing the personal stories from these renowned chefs and the discussion of how cuisine can be a unifying aspect of our culture.”


Since 1972, Kentucky Humanities has provided the Commonwealth with programs and services that create a legacy of pride in the wealth of Kentucky culture, build civic engagement and support local humanities events. Kentucky Humanities has invested more than $16 million in public programs for Kentuckians and the organization has provided funding for more than 18,000 public humanities programs that are held in familiar community settings and reach every corner of the Commonwealth.


Kentucky Humanities programs and services include Kentucky Chautauqua®, Prime Time Family Reading®, grants for community events/projects, Museum on Main Street, Kentucky Reads, Kentucky Humanities magazine, Speakers Bureau, Think Humanities podcast, Think History radio segments, the Kentucky Book Festival, and KBF School Days.


A year-long celebration is underway to commemorate Kentucky Humanities’ 50th Anniversary including six regional public events, 50 Faces of the Humanities videos revealed each week, and special issues of Kentucky Humanitiesmagazine.


This event, and all Kentucky Humanities’ 50th Anniversary events, are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Visit to register. Registration for Recipes from the River opens on Monday, August 1st.