The surprise snowfall last night didn’t keep guests from flocking to our third annual Chef Event hosted by the Bartolotta Restaurants’ Downtown Kitchen.
What made the snowy journey worth it was the dishes prepared by nine of Milwaukee’s best chefs:
– Goodkind’s Paul Zerkel and Lisa Kirkpatrick presented a hearty goat ragu with smoked farina, guajillo and cocoa.
– Kyle Toner of Glass + Griddle took inspiration from a “loud, boisterous beer hall,” with his beer-braised brat balls served with spent grain from Milwaukee Brewing, bread & butter onions and pretzel pieces.
– Andrew Wilson of Cedarburg’s new Brandywine offered a beautifully plated braised pork ravioli with roasted tomato, giardiniera, mascarpone, garlic and breadcrumbs.
– Newcomer Yosub Yoon from Char’d prepared fall-apart-tender braised short ribs, with radish and mashed potato, ginger and yuzu. Yoon’s dish created a long line at times as guests clamored for seconds.
– Nick Wirth of Bacchus, known for his seasonal tasting menus at the Bartolotta restaurant, offered a delightful mix of flavors with his smoked oxtail croquette with fava bean puree, red onion mostarda and micro herb salad.
– Kristen Schwab from DanDan brought a dish worthy of her Indonesian roots: a cumin beef dumpling with Sichuan red oil and herb garnish. Savory, but with a kick at the end.
– Next to Kristen was Miles Borghgraef, the innovative chef and owner of Birch + Butcher, who served the simple but delicious pickled rainbow trout with fresh cream on Danish rye bread.
– Finally, Justin Aprahamian of Sanford, our March cover star and Milwaukee Magazine’s Chef of the Year, prepared keufteh with spiced pumpkin preserve and yogurt broth. This savory dish was a perfect bite and a nod to his Armenian heritage.
Dessert prepared by pastry chef Anneliese Linton of Bacchus was a butterscotch verrine with caramelized apples and a sticks of crispy crust topping. It truly was the “icing on the cake” to the whole event.
After dishes were served and bellies were filled, the chefs were invited onto the stage for a Q&A with Milwaukee Magazine Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Carole Nicksin to allow the guests to learn a bit more about each chef. Topics ranged from influences on their dishes to what makes a lively restaurant space to their favorite Milwaukee places to dine.
The Chef Event kicked off with cheese, crudité and sampling of the night’s signature craft cocktails: Bulleit Bourbon with vermouth, bitters and a curried cinnamon chili syrup, and basil-infused Ketel One vodka with cucumber maceration topped with seltzer. Milwaukee jazz scene veteran Mark Davis provided the evening’s accompaniment with lovely piano stylings.
Proceeds from the sold-out event, put on by Milwaukee Magazine and The Bartolotta Restaurants, benefited the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee. Sponsors included OpenTable, The Jar, Ketel One, Bulleit Bourbon, Design for a Difference Milwaukee and Gruber Law Offices.