Chef Josh Moore serves up Modern Italian Cuisine with a Kentucky Influence | Courtesy Photo
By Nick Carter | Food Photos & Styling by Josh Keown
Nestled just east of Louisville’s bustling downtown, you will find a pair of neighborhoods that have become synonymous with the River City’s world-famous* culinary tradition.
Clifton and Crescent Hill collectively house some of the best food in the region, and if you take a drive down Frankfort Avenue, you can bear witness to the incredible variety of cuisine the neighborhoods have to offer. Mexican, Irish, Persian, Mediterranean, Cuban, Southern Barbeque, Vietnamese – there is literally something for everyone. Sitting right in the middle of it all, you will find one of the premiere eateries in the city, Volare Ristorante.
A short 10-minute drive across one of the bridges (barring any traffic, of course), and you can indulge in some of the most decadent, delicious food you’ve ever eaten, courtesy of Chef Joshua Moore and his team. Chef Moore, who has made Volare his home for the last decade, not only brings some serious chops to the table but also a pretty mean steak (and salads and desserts and pasta and…) as well. Chef and his staff serve up modern, Northern Italian cuisine with a Kentucky influence.
Moore never went to formal culinary school but started his training at the young age of 14 in the kitchen of the much-revered Italian restaurant, Vincenzo’s, located downtown Louisville. After graduating from high school, Moore worked up to 80-hour weeks in the kitchen, honing his craft and jumping at every opportunity. “When I was first starting out, no one wanted to do dessert,” Moore said, “so I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve done pastry and food service wherever I have worked.”
After leaving Vincenzo’s, Moore worked in the kitchen at Porcini, another famous Italian restaurant in the city, staying there for several years before finding his current home at Volare.
Today, Chef Moore’s passion and drive are displayed in the food he presents. With features like Certified Angus Beef and goat cheesed-stuffed Agnolotti, his love of food and fresh, local ingredients is alive and well. Take a look at the menu at Volare and you will see a number of local sources including Groganica Farm, Marksbury Farm and chef’s own Moore Farm. Yes, the chef actually grows much of the produce he uses. “It’s really cool to walk out into the dining room, go up to a table, see them enjoying your food, and say, ‘Yeah, I grew that,’ ” Moore confessed. On his modest 10-acre property, the chef is able to grow various lettuces, kale, 600 tomato plants with 35 heirloom varieties, 400 basil plants, and he even has his own beehive. Everything the farm produces is used by the restaurant.
Chef Moore was able to proudly use his homegrown kale when he was honored to make his famous Kale Salad with Lardon and Candied Walnuts for a crowd of 2,500 at the New York Food & Wine Festival in 2014. But this was just one of the Chef’s many accomplishments. Moore had the distinct honor of presenting a six-course dinner for 90 people at the prestigious James Beard House in July 2013. He received a return invitation for this meal, as his dinner sold out, which is a noteworthy accomplishment. And, not only is he a Certified Angus Beef Ambassador for the Midwest, but he heads to Napa Valley, Calif., later this year to lecture at the Culinary Institute of America.
Despite all of his successes, Chef Moore has admittedly experienced had some turbulence along the way, but he’s dealt with them creatively and quickly. For example, when the nation’s economy flipped in 2008, many restaurants were forced to downsize their menus as a cost-cutting measure, but Moore did not want to remove anything from his menu. Instead, he decided to expand and feature a small-plates menu for the bar in the restaurant and offer half-priced bottles of wine to those who chose to dine at the bar. This was revolutionary, as no restaurant in the city of Louisville was then offering a small-plates menu, which is still a strong feature at Volare (and numerous other establishments) today. Chef Moore has since expanded Volare’s bar program after partnering with the Big Green Egg company, which makes specialty grills and smokers, to offer a variety of flatbread pizzas for bar patrons, all of which are made on a Big Green Egg.
Two years ago, Chef Josh Moore decided to take another step with the restaurant and created a special-event catering program. In that short timeframe, Moore and his team have catered events throughout the Louisville Metro area and Southern Indiana, including numerous charity affairs, weddings and the grand reopening of Koerber’s Fine Jewelry in 2015. “For our grand opening, Koerber’s Fine Jewelry wanted a culinary experience that paralleled our own passion for local quality and elegance,” explained Jacquelyn Koerber. “With his commitment to fresh local ingredients and house-made products, Josh Moore crafted a delectable dinner that combined Italian fine dining tastes with classic Southern hospitality service. If you want delicious food combined with creativity and fresh ingredients, then Josh Moore and his Volare team deserve your consideration.”
Those sentiments were shared by everyone I spoke with about Volare and its leader, which is no surprise, considering Moore has always walked the walk and proven himself by doing far more than talking.
“The restaurant business is my life and I love every minute of it,” Chef Moore said. “Whether it’s creating a new menu, cooking on the line, seeing how happy a meal has made a guest or farming our own produce, I love it. There is nothing else I’d want to do. I’ll have spent 22 years in the restaurant business this year and am looking forward to another 22.”
EXTOL MAGAZINE LAUNCH PARTY
Join Extol Magazine for our one-year anniversary celebration and the launch of our February-March issue from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. February 25 at Volare Ristorante, 2300 Frankfort Ave., in Louisville. Click for Launch Party Details.
VOLARE ITALIAN RISTORANTE
2300 Frankfort Ave, Louisville KY 40223 | 502.894.4446 | www.volare-restaurant.com
Executive Chef Joshua D. Moore Sous Chef Seth Cunningham
*Think I was being dramatic about calling Louisville world-famous for its cuisine? Think again. National Geographic recently named the River City one of the top 10 food cities in the world, thanks to the Brown Hotel’s Hot Brown.