Wisconsin Foodie host Luke Zahm leans against a bar in a red plaid shirt, smiling

‘Wisconsin Foodie’ host Luke Zahm judges a three-chef cooking contest

March 7, 2022 Luke Zahm Leave a Comment

Wisconsin Foodie airs 7 p.m. Thursdays on PBS Wisconsin.

As some of you may know (or are about to know), I’m no stranger to a cooking contest. Every year, I compete in the Aluminum Chef competition at Canoecopia, part of an outdoor/paddlesport convention. I’ve also shared my talents with the Food Network, both as a judge and a contestant (Guy’s Grocery Games: Express Lane Extreme – spoiler alert, I got robbed).

When Arthur and I were approached with the opportunity to create a special for PBS, our creative juices started to flow. What type of program would differ from the Wisconsin Foodie format? What do we want to feature? How do we action-pack one hour of television time with fundraising breaks?

After much consideration, a cooking contest was devised.

We’d give three contestants 60 minutes, $60 and the Dane County Farmers Market to shop for ingredients for a dish that captures their love of food and this amazing place. Then, once the shopping had completed, we’d take them back to L’Etoile Restaurant and give them another 60 minutes to complete the cooking portion of the challenge. Finally, Chef Tory Miller (owner/chef L’Etoille and Graze) and I would sit down in the dining room and taste the challengers’ creations.

The chefs were an amazing group of humans (some of my favorites). Each one brings a different style and vision of cuisine to the table. Also, each one brings a different perspective on what it means to be from Wisconsin and what it means to cook from this place.

Tune in and watch the drama unfold!

Forever forward,

Luke Zahm
Wisconsin Foodie

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