By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Apr 24, 2023 at 2:15 PM

Milwaukee movie fans, rejoice! The best two weeks of the calendar year are back, as the 2023 Milwaukee Film Festival is back on a big screen near you April 20 through May 4. For ticket and pass info, click here – and we'll see you at the movies! 

The Milwaukee Film Festival is currently in full swing, with a wide range of films available for guests’ enjoyment. Among them is a documentary that recalls the life of Chef Charlie Trotter, a restaurant industry giant who revolutionized American cuisine, paving the way for celebrity chefs in his wake: “Love, Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Chef Charlie Trotter.”

Tickets are still available for the film, which will screen on Sunday, April 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the Oriental Theatre's Herzfeld Cinema [Get tickets here]. But guests can also celebrate Trotter’s work through a special five-course dinner inspired by both the film and Chef Paul Bartolotta's experiences working alongside him.

A Tribute Dinner to Charlie Trotter, an event curated by SamanthaStarr Events in collaboration with the Milwaukee Film Festival, will take place at Bacchus – a Bartolotta Restaurant, 925 E. Wells St.,  on Monday, May 1 at 6 p.m.

The event takes inspiration from Chef Bartolotta’s experiences during his work at Spiaggia in Downtown Chicago in the 1990s. Not only did he earn a James Beard award for that work (as well as his work at Ristorante di Mare in Las Vegas), but he built a friendship with Trotter, who was among the first chefs to welcome him to the Windy City and who would work alongside him over the course of his tenure at countless fundraising events as well as dinners at Lake Park Bistro and Bacchus.

On the menu

The menu, which takes inspiration from recipes in Trotter's cookbooks, along with personal experiences, will include:

  • Spring bean salad: quail eggs, Smithfield ham, hazelnut vinaigrette(p. 82 “Working more kitchen sessions with Charlie Trotter”, 2004)
  • Langoustines: braised artichokes, carrots, onions, chervil-infused broth (p. 38 “Charlie Trotters Seafood Book”, 1997)
  • Grilled tuna: sweet corn relish, avocado purée, cilantro vinaigrette (p. 38 “Working more kitchen sessions with Charlie Trotter”, 2004)
  • Wisconsin organic lamb: caramelized endive, morel mushroom purée, lamb jus (Charlie Trotter restaurant menu, Chef Aaron Bickham’s personal dining experience, 1999)
  • Passion fruit pudding cake (p. 185 “Spa Cuisine by Charlie Trotter”, 2005)

Tickets for the dinner are currently available online for $200 per person (plus service charge) and include five courses along with five beverage pairings.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.