Bartolotta’s Downtown Kitchen in the U.S. Bank Center transformed from a trendy lunch spot to a formal evening scene on April 19 as eight local chefs served small dishes complementing each of their cooking styles. The first ever Chef Event, presented by Milwaukee Magazine and Bartolotta Restaurants, sold out just weeks after tickets became available, almost guaranteeing a second year to be schedule in 2018.
Guests checked in from 5:30-6 p.m., then mingled for about an hour over cheese, crudité and craft cocktails. Small dishes slowly filled each chef’s serving line, inviting guests to start on dinner. Heading up the lineup was Jarvis Williams of Surg Restaurant Group, featuring garlic and herb stuffed prochetta, natural jus and a petite salad.
Next, Ristorante Bartolotta’s own, Juan Urbieta offered handmade ribbon pasta with white ragu of capon chicken, guinea hen, duck, turkey and rabbit. Peggy Magister of Crazy Water fittingly served crazy shrimp with chorizo sausage, tomatoes, cilantro, Asian barbeque sauce, jalapeno cornbread muffins and jasmine rice.
Video by Tyler Danielson
Around the corner, Thi Cao of Buckley’s Restaurant & Bar featured rice porridge, crispy shallots, scallions and chili ginger sauce with Sanford Restaurant’s Justin Aprahamian serving beef Basturma with pickled turnips, brandied apricots and labneh and apricot honey just to the right.
Occupying the middle of the kitchen was Justin Carlisle of Ardent Restaurant with beef tartare, bone marrow and a deviled egg, Thomas Hauck of C.1800 with grated beets with horseradish over smoked potatoes and caraway yogurt and lastly, Karen Bell of Bavette La Boucherie with a tongue bacon sandwich with pickled eggs and gribiche.
As dinner concluded, Milwaukee Magazine’s Editor-in-chief Carole Nicksin thanked guests for attending the event, then invited the chefs up for a short Q&A. Nicksin questioned each chef on their start in the fine dining industry, the cooking methods they prefer and the favorite flavors they are currently obsessing over.
Guests left with three goodie bags in hand, with fond culinary memories of the night’s many dishes.