Esquire Magazine Sponsoring Back-to-Back Derby Events

Damaris Phillips will prepare a special dessert
Louisville's Dave Moisan will perform at 21C
Louisville’s Dave Moisan will perform at 21C

Partygoers looking for the ultimate Derby experience are invited to attend back-to-back events with Esquire beginning on Thursday, May 4, with the Inaugural Culinary Kickoff and continuing on Friday, May 5, with the Esquire Derby Gala. Both events will offer lavish food and beverage offerings.

The Inaugural Culinary Kickoff will be held at the Muhammad Ali Center at 144 N Sixth Street in Louisville on Thursday, May 4 from 6PM – 2AM. Celebrity chefs Todd English, Beau MacMillan, and Damaris Phillips will prepare a three-course meal for an intimate group of food and wine enthusiasts. Wine pairings will be provided by elite vintners AldenAlii, Tuck Beckstoffer, Charles Woodson, and The Withers. The evening will conclude with a special live music performance inspired by music partner, Take Me To The River (TMTTR) Educational Initiative, whose mission is to bring history to life and create a deeper understanding and relevance of civil rights, music history, and cross-generational collaboration. Event proceeds will benefit the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, a multicultural center with an award-winning museum dedicated to the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali. Tickets may be purchased here until May 2 or sellout. Esquire will serve as the official media partner of this inaugural event.

Damaris Phillips will prepare a special dessert. Photo by Bill Brymer

The dinner menu features a “Mint Julep” Wild Caught Salmon Poke by Chef Todd English and Bourbon Braised Beef Short Ribs by Chef Beau MacMillan. For dessert, enjoy bread pudding with Bee Pollen blackberries, sorghum caramel and orange blossom curd by Chef Damaris Phillips

The party continues on Derby eve with Esquire Derby held at the 21C Museum Hotel at 700 W Main Street in Louisville on Friday, May 5 from 8:30PM – 1AM. The initial allotment of tickets to Esquire Derby are sold out. In response to the high demand, event producers King Sixteen has released 50 tickets from reserve to give partygoers an opportunity to attend this exclusive evening. Tickets are available for purchase at

Esquire Derby will offer an over-the-top evening of food and drink. Acclaimed head chef Mike Wajda of Proof on Main will prepare world-class hors d’oeuvres. Cocktails will feature Rabbit Hole Distilling’s bourbon and rye and will be poured by Proprietors LLC, the company behind Death & Co., a world-renowned cocktail industry leader. Guests should expect modern takes on Derby classics like the Mint Julep, Old Fashioned, and Highball as well as the new liquid nitrogen infused Scofflaw Slushee. This is the first official Derby activation for this cocktail giant and will prove to be the most luxurious libation offering in the city over Derby weekend. Thrillist named Death & Co. as “NYC’s Most Influential Cocktail Bar.”

In addition, King Sixteen, the event producers of Esquire Derby are thrilled to announce that Grammy-award winning female artist, Kimbra will headline the party. Louisville native and “The Voice” contestant Dave Moisan will be the opening act.

King Sixteen is a collective of event producers and talent agents who have been involved in notable events including The Hermitage Grand Gala, Vanity Fair at 21C, and the last 10 years of 21C Museum Hotel Derby events.E