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Owensboro CC Names Michelle Pessia Exec. Chef

Spectra, the provider of venue management to the Owensboro Convention Center, has its first female top chef.  Michelle Pessia is now the executive chef for food services and hospitality for the venue.  She will be the first woman to lead the team since the venue opened in 2014.

A 2011 graduate from the Culinary Program at Owensboro Community and Technical College, she began her career with Spectra as the kitchen supervisor in 2017. She quickly showcased her skills as a saucier and pastry chef and was promoted to sous chef in 2019.

Chad Benefield WBKRHer experience and creativity for elevating food beyond what is considered to be typical convention center food has been highlighted at the venue’s signature five course Cork and Cuisine dinners. WBKR’s Chad Benefield (pictured left), who has been guest emceeing the events, says, “Michelle is always pushing the envelope and coming up with dishes that you can’t really experience anywhere else in Owensboro. She’s pretty fearless in the kitchen. And, I still stand by this…If I could legally marry that bowl of maple soup I had recently, I would be on paternity leave raising a maple child.”

Mark Pruett“Michelle has worked hard for this opportunity, and I am proud she has chosen to elevate her career and expand her skills at the Owensboro Convention Center,” says Spectra’s Director of Food and Beverage Mark Pruett (pictured right).  “She truly deserves this, and I look forward to seeing her growth in this exciting new role.”

“I am truly honored and excited to take on this role at the Owensboro Convention Center,” says Pessia. “From an early age, I learned to cook from my mother and grandmothers for Sunday dinners and holidays. This led me to pursue a culinary career.”  When asked what one of her favorite items to make on the menu is, she says, “One of the many things I love to make are my made from scratch soups that are featured at the Kentucky Legend Café.”

Ready for a taste?  The Kentucky Legend Café is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and the next Cork & Cuisine is set for July 29 or plan your next meeting, banquet, or wedding reception and enjoy in-house catering by the culinary team.  Choose from healthy and diet-restricted dishes to comfort foods and decadent desserts.

Western Kentucky’s premier meeting space—the Owensboro Convention Center—is a full-service meeting facility overlooking the scenic Ohio River in revitalized downtown Owensboro, Ky.  The multi-purpose center boasts just under 102,000 sq. ft.  of available space, including a 44,000+ sq.ft. exhibition hall, 8,900+ sq.ft. Kentucky Legend ® Pier outside over the scenic Ohio River and additional ballroom, meeting and pre-function space. For more info or to book an event at the Owensboro CC, the Kentucky Legend Café, Cork & Cuisine or A Taste of the Olympics, visit

Spectra is an industry leader in hosting and entertainment, partnering with clients to create memorable experiences for millions of visitors every year. Spectra’s unmatched blend of integrated services delivers incremental value for clients through several primary areas of expertise: Venue Management, Food Services & Hospitality and Partnerships. For more info, visit

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