‘Wisconsin Foodie’ host Luke Zahm shares sneak peek of new season premiering Jan. 19
January 9, 2023 Leave a Comment
I look back at the spring, summer and fall of taping Wisconsin Foodie, and I feel like I’m living in a dream.
It’s almost as if some of those events and times shared never happened, or at best they happened in a dream state. I will admit my own guilt and need to be constantly moving in the months when the sun shines brightest, and as the son of a farmer, the phrase “Make hay while the sun shines” was deeply embedded in my childhood psyche.
In the summer, I move fast. Life clicks. It happens, and it’s a time of intense celebration and discovery. Now, as we move into the rhythm of winter, I get a moment of time to look backwards and share my discovery and the greatest job in the state of Wisconsin.
This season on Wisconsin Foodie, we go deeper into the stories that create identity and our shared language of food. After all, everybody eats!
We get a chance to hang out with my friend, chef and television personality Yia Vang, and we get to cook! Yia grew up in Port Edwards, Wisconsin, and is keeping his stylized version of Hmong food alive and at the forefront of culinary conversation through his work, his culture and his restaurants in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Yia travels back to my home kitchen (The Owl Farm) to share his love of fresh, local food, and we cook with a live fire and mix it up. It’s so fun!
The Owl Farm makes her television debut. It’s an open air, wood-fired kitchen and dining space built in my yard by my college roommate and best friend, Adrian Ugo. Viewers get to see Owl Farm in all of her glory, and chefs visit to practice their craft over the fire. It’s gorgeous, to say the least.
The most powerful taping event of the season was easily our time spent at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek. This temple (or sangat), was the tragic home to an act of senseless violence on Aug. 5, 2012, when seven members of the Sikh community were killed in a mass shooting. Returning on the 10-year anniversary of such a tragic event, I expected to find deep wells of trauma and grief. What we found was nothing short of a miracle.
We were welcomed into the temple with love and open arms. Many from the community were busy readying for the anticipated crowd of thousands. As a crew, we attempted to do what we do best: talk about food and its significance.
As we built trust through smiles and a willingness to dig in and help, laughter and love filled the room. We prepared more than 3,000 samosa! The Sikh faith has a deep belief that food is a common baseline for all. In fact, their sangats are designed with entrances in the four cardinal directions to welcome all inside to commune and share a meal.
Through serving others with love in their hearts and intentions, the darkness that I expected to discover had dissipated and was replaced with communal joy and levity. I was awestruck. I was moved. I was humbled and reminded that in a world that can sometimes be filled with darkness and destruction, human beings have the remarkable capability to love so completely that we wash the entire world with light.
My faith in humanity was refilled. I’m still brimming with it as I write this letter.
This season, my friends, I implore you to open your hearts and minds to each other. Give yourself the grace to be amazed by the kindness and good we find in the world everyday. And, of course, remember that we all call this place home.
While it means something different to each one of us, it’s something that we all have in common. I look forward to sharing the season with you.