By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Nov 17, 2021 at 6:01 PM

A devastating car accident over the weekend has left a longtime restaurant industry veteran hospitalized and facing a long road to recovery.  

Stephanie Bennett, a restaurant industry veteran whose work has included a longtime post at Balzac Wine Bar, and more recently a general manager position at Bavette La Boucherie, sustained multiple severe internal injuries as the result of a car accident on Saturday evening.  She is currently hospitalized and doctors expect that her injuries will require an extended period of treatment for her full recovery.

Like many industry employees, Bennett is also without insurance, meaning that the medical bills she faces are likely to follow her for years. As a result, Chef Karen Bell and Bennett's partner Nicole Johnson launched a GoFundMe campaign to assist in defraying the cost for Bennett as she undergoes treatment for her injuries.

"Steph, our friend and general manager, was in a really bad car accident Saturday night and has sustained multiple serious internal injuries," reads a post on Bavette's Facebook page. "We are asking you to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. We created a go fund me to help her in her long road to recovery and with her medical expenses. Please consider donating."

In just 24 hours, the fund has raised just over $13,000. However, considering the average cost of an overnight hospital stay for an uninsured patient is $9,300, that amount may well be just a drop in the proverbial bucket. 

Friends, industry colleagues and readers who wish to contribute can access the GoFundMe page online.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.