The Wisconsin Foodie team takes to the road again to visit one of Wisconsin’s biggest culinary festivals – The Kohler Food & Wine Experience. This event has been going on for years drawing the likes of Jacques Pepin, Tom Colicchio, Tony Mantuano & Andrea Immer Robinson. Basically, talent that you could only see in the biggest cities and if you’re patient enough to withstand month-long waiting lists. Well, if you missed the experience first hand, fear not! Turn on the fireplace, grab your cup of Joe and sit back – because we are giving you a behind-the-scenes taste of this year’s Food & Wine Experience.
If you are a fan of cooking shows (which by the way, we are…) this was the place to be. Kyle makes the rounds through the festival meeting people like the amazing Gail Simmons (Judge on Bravo’s Top Chef), Ilan Hall (Winner of Top Chef Season 2) and we are fortunate enough to walk the market with Hung Huynh (Winner of Top Chef season 3). This episode was hard work, the cast and crew all got to meet their heroes as well as take part in all the festivities (someone has to do it). Kyle also gets to meet the likes of Chef Tony Montuano, owner of Spiaggia (Chicago), which also happens to be President Elect Barack Obama’s favorite restaurant. And let’s not forget that Tony is also a local boy from Kenosha, where of course Mangia is located. Tony has also done his fair share of television, most recently making an appearance on Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods.”
Not to name drop (OK, we are), but we also meet Chef Guiseppe Tentori of Boka restaurant in Chicago, recently named best new chef by Food & Wine Magazine for 2008. Last, but not least, we also get a moment with one of the people that makes this all possible – Christina Grdovic V.P / Publisher of Food & Wine Magazine. You might be thinking at this point that this is plenty to make a half-hour show… You’d be wrong. It is only the beginning.
After all the festival mayhem, Kyle gets a little one-on-one with Chef Ulrich Koberstein (Executive Chef American Club / Destination Kohler). Chef Koberstein in his own right is a celebrity chef in the making (those words also came from the mouth of Food & Wine Magazine Publisher). He is a native of Namibia, Africa and has lived all over the world before he landed in Kohler, Wisconsin. Trained at London’s Le Cordon Bleu, Koberstein went on to jobs at the Michelin three-starred Chez Nico at Ninety Park Lane, and the
Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Boston, cooking his way from tournant to executive chef in only eight years. Kohler’s prized landscape became Koberstein’s new home in December 2004, when the chef took over the American Club’s three award-winning restaurants, including The Immigrant Restaurant and The Winery Bar, which holds four consecutive Awards of Excellence from Wine Spectator. Koberstein now oversees all culinary operations in the Midwest’s only AAA Five-Diamond resort, creating the kind of regionally inspired menus that make dining at this historical landmark a singular experience.
Our tour starts in the Demo kitchen of the Food & Wine Experience were we get the lowdown on this year’s chefs. After that we make our way to Cucina, an Italian restaurant that features a range of regional Italian specialties. As a side note, we actually came across fans of the show dining there – go Wisconsin Foodie!
After our trip through Kohler’s Little Italy, we make our way to a place even Willy Wonka would be jealous of, The Craverie. The Craverie is home of Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates. This is definitely a chocolate lovers destination. The story goes, Mr. Kohler challenged his chef’s to create a chocolate, the best chocolate out there. After thousands of batches, they finally found the right blend that satisfied Mr. Kohler. If we were Mr. Kohler, we would do the same.
Our journey then takes us to The American Club’s showcase restaurant – The Immigrant Restaurant. The Immigrant Restaurant is a AAA Four Diamond restaurant that has won a host of prestigious awards. The highlight of our tour? The evolution of cheese. Chef Koberstein shows off his exceptional selection of Wisconsin Cheese. (One thing that I wasn’t able to include in the show, but should be noted.) The Immigrant Restaurant also has a selection of teas that is pretty amazing, the finest we’ve seen. One in particular is a white tea that has been picked by monkeys…yes monkeys. The highlight is a 1949 Vintage Cave-Aged Private Reserve Pu-Erh that lists for $150 per cup!
The American Club
419 Highland Dr
Kohler WI 53044
Moving right along, our very own Chef Brian Moran gets a chance to cook with Chef Koberstein in the Kohler Demo Kitchen. (All you Milwaukee Public Market fans, we will be back there next week…).
Chef Koberstein prepares a dish from his menu at The Immigrant Restaurant: Seared Scallops with a Cream Vodka Sauce. We challenge you to make this at home… If you are successful, let us know. The recipe will be available Saturday morning. But the crew salivated over this dish, and wiped the plates clean once the shoot was over. DELICIOUS.
The end of the show signals only one thing: The Fabulous Wine Aficionado – Jessica Bell. This was a benchmark episode for Jessica. Not only does she get to meet her hero, Master Sommelier Andrea Immer Robinson, but she also coins the term (now used by every wine teacher) velvet couch…watch and you’ll see.
Andrea Immer Robinson, one of the country’s leading wine educators, is one of only 14 women in the world who have been appointed Master Sommelier by the prestigious Court of Master Sommeliers. She was the first woman ever chosen “Best Sommelier” in the United States by the Sommelier Society of America. Andrea also became the first appointed Dean of Wine Studies for The French Culinary Institute in New York City, where she graduated with honors from its renowned 600-hour professional culinary program.
Luckily, you are not stranded on a desert island (although with the temperature outside, I wish I was), so you can watch this episode over and over again (if you DVR it)!
Thanks for watching, tell a friend, or two, or ten. We’ll love you for it, and it will keep our humble show on the air for many more seasons to come.
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