Chef Ouita Michel to Speak at January Markey Women Strong Lecture

On Tuesday, January 30th, the 2018 Markey Women Strong lecture series will kick of with acclaimed chef Ouita Michel presenting the topic “Neurogastronomy: Food for Life,” which will offer insight into how one’s senses of taste and smell can be adversely affected by cancer treatment, as well as her very personal account of how she navigated the challenge during her mother’s battle with cancer.

Owner of Central Kentucky restaurants Holly Hill Inn, Smithtown Seafood, Wallace Station Deli, Windy Corner Market and Restaurant, The Midway Bakery, Smithtown at the Summit and Honeywood, as well as chef in residence at Woodford Reserve Distillery, Michel is renowned and revered throughout the country for making locally-sourced ingredients a priority in her world-class cuisine. The James Beard Award-nominated chef has appeared in/on CBS This Morning, USA Today, Southern Living and Garden & Gun.

It was in 2013, when her mother was receiving chemotherapy for lung cancer at the UK Markey Cancer Center, that Michel began to look at food through a new lens. Committed to finding ways to make nutritious food palatable for her mother, whose appetite and taste sensations had been affected by her treatments, she began exploring what would one day become part of her life’s work – neurogastronomy and how food and the experience of eating is vital to life, as well as how it can be enhanced for those in treatment for cancer.

This lecture is open to Markey Women Strong and their guests. Started in 2016, Markey Women Strong is a philanthropy group that aims to make a meaningful difference in cancer research by funding female researchers focused on groundbreaking cancer research at the University of Kentucky Market Cancer Center. Each member of Markey Women Strong makes an annual contribution of $1,000. Contributions are pooled and together, members will listen to a group of female researchers selected by UK Markey Cancer Center Director Dr. Mark Evers about what their research is focused on and how the Markey Women Strong funds would further their work.

Then, members of Markey Women Strong decide collectively how to disperse their funds as grants. Throughout the year members are welcome to attend a lecture series focused on some of the most recent and thought-provoking advances in cancer research and treatment and will also receive updates on how their contributions are having a real-world impact on current research efforts.

To become part of Markey Women Strong, go to or contact Amy Morgan at

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