As new food trends emerge, restaurants across the country experiment with flavors and adapt their menus to share with guests the food they crave. At Bacchus in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Executive Chef Adam Siegel has created a new weekly menu aimed at the casual diner. A four-course meal, proudly presenting Wisconsin Cheese as a bold third course, Chef Siegel’s new menu is sure to draw a crowd and please every palate. Celebrating the new menu, Chef Siegel eagerly shares his love of food, details about the new menu, and his appreciation of Wisconsin Cheese.
How he got into food: I got into food because I was hungry. *Laughs* I grew up in the restaurant industry, so I always had a liking for the kitchen. I started working in the kitchen at a young age. My family always got together for the holidays and I would always get into the kitchen. As a child, I was very intrigued by all the cooking shows – Julia Child – all the food shows that were popular in the 70s and 80s.
On new food trends: People are becoming more casual with their food. They are trying to be truer to the ingredients that they are cooking with – more relaxed with ingredients and more relaxed with their atmosphere. That’s a big reason why we’ve decided to introduce the new menu at Bacchus.
On the new menu at Bacchus: It’s called Casual Sundays. It’s organized as a family-style meal and we host it once a month. It’s a completely different look for Bacchus. We serve the dinner in our bar and conservatory. I wear a t-shirt while running around in the dining room – people are used to seeing me always in my coat – it’s great fun. During a past dinner we served dinner to 80 people who enjoyed over 10 pounds of Widmer’s Cheddar. It was a great success.
On cheese in restaurants: Americans are beginning to discover and appreciate cheese more. Over Valentine’s Day we were selling cheese boards like crazy.
Cheese of the moment: Hands down, my favorite is Pleasant Ridge Reserve. It’s always going to be on our cheese list. It is probably one of the most consistent cheeses in the U.S. That’s their [Uplands Cheese’s] cheese. They make that and have made only that for years. Recently they came out with Rush Creek Reserve. It’s also an awesome cheese. Very well made. I also love Widmer’s Cheddar. I’ve always been a big fan of Joe Widmer’s Cheddars. We have a beer cheese soup with their Cheddars and it reminds me of the English-style cheeses. You see that with a lot of Wisconsin cheesemakers and their cheeses. They came from Europe, have a great European influence, then make the cheeses their own and Wisconsin originals.
On Wisconsin Cheese: Wisconsin is particularly proud of the amazing cheeses being produced here. It’s like wine in Napa Valley. People recognize the cheese in their region is fantastic and unique. To have a cheese so particular, that it comes down to the soil and the climate is just unbelievable and it’s all right here in this area, in this place in the country, it’s really region specific. People see that and are proud of the cheese here. The local vibe is big and I’m really into it.