On the Road to Kern’s Kitchen in Louisville, Kentucky – Home of the Derby Pie ®
Happy Saturday to you! The weekend is here and I hope you have some fun things lined up for your enjoyment. We have been traveling all week again, so I missed writing a Casual Friday post. We will get home later today after another week filled with lots of interviews, food and booze. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. 😉
I thought we would head back to Louisville, Kentucky today and share with you another one of our stops while in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. How about some Derby Pie since it is almost time for the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby? The only place you can get the one and only original Derby Pie® is from Kern’s Kitchen right outside of Louisville. Derby Pie® is the official pie served at Churchill Downs on Derby Day.
We met with Jon Rupp, Sales Manager for Kern’s Kitchen, and the 4th generation of family baking the famous Derby Pie® along with his father Alan Rupp, who is President of Kern’s Kitchen. It was Jon’s great grandparents that invented this famous pie in 1954.
The first Derby Pie® was created by Walter and Leaudra Kern at The Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky. Jon told us that his great grandparents were looking for a signature dessert for their inn. After creating and testing many recipes, the Kerns decided on this pie. They had family members put their favorite names for the pie in a hat and they literally drew the name Derby Pie® from that group of names one evening.
This recipe is so famous and so secret that the family went to the U.S. patent office in Washington to register their pie in 1968. Since that time, there have been several arguments over the right to the name Derby Pie®, however, the Kern family has been able to keep and protect their rights to their trademarked product over the years.
Jon said that originally the pies were baked at home, four at a time and were cooled by sitting on the back porch. Today, at their facility outside of Louisville, they are still essentially made by hand, but the pies are now baked eighty at a time in two industrial ovens.
This time of year is certainly their busiest and they are currently making about 6,000 pies a week. They will bake between 120,000 – 130,000 pies every year. Churchill Downs alone purchases about 2,000 sheet pies and will serve 25,000 slices of Derby Pie® on Derby Day. That’s a lot of pie!
Jon told us that there have only been two people outside the Kern Family to know the secret recipe. In fact, the pie baker is the only one allowed in the room when the pies are being filled and baked. This is a double secret mission to bake these pies. 😉
It must be so interesting being able to personally see the behind-the-scenes operation for a secret family recipe! And the Bourbon Whipped Cream, don’t leave home without it!
It was fun to visit Kern’s Kitchen. They have a great product and I don’t blame them for keeping it a secret. I agree with you, never leave home without the bourbon for whipped cream or just over ice! 😉
“another week filled with lots of interviews, food and booze” – sounds like a good week to me! 🙂
what fun to see behind the scenes! thanks for sharing. the pie looks fabulous and that whipped cream – Yes Please!
Yes, it was a great week! I will be sharing our experiences in the coming weeks and months.
Bourbon whipped cream is something that has found a very happy home in my kitchen. 😉 It tastes good on just about every dessert. Must be the bourbon.
It’s always the bourbon. 🙂
Hi, I found your blog through foodblogs. I was wondering if you’d be interested in joining my monthly link-up that features blog posts about locally owned and independently operated food sources and businesses. I keep it open for a month and start a fresh one the third Friday of every month. You can find the current one here: http://quickeasycheaphealthy.com/2011/04/have-a-cupcake-birthday-celebration-new-link-up/ . If you’re interested in joining on a regular basis, let me know and I will add you to my reminder email list!
I need to try Derby Pie ASAP! 🙂 Love seeing the behind the scenes pictures!
Gwen, this looks fantastic! I never head derby before before I moved to the south. Now it seems to be everywhere I look. 🙂
hey alan, i remember helping you make those pies and crust in your grandma’s kitchen in 1973 or 74, do you remember??? still kicking and sure do miss those pies. isn’t life funny