By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jun 07, 2021 at 4:45 PM

For over two decades, Chef Adam Siegel has been a name synonymous with the Bartolotta Restaurants. But the longtime corporate executive chef and managing partner will be leaving the restaurant group to pursue other opportunities.

"I will be leaving The Bartolotta Restaurants after 21 years," Siegel said in an email today, noting that he will be finishing out the week with Bartolotta's. "Saturday the 12th will be my last day. I will then be taking a much needed vacation to spend time with my family."

Siegel did not share details of what is to come for his career, but noted that he would be in touch soon: "I am really excited about the future!" he wrote in closing.

Siegel, who trained with Chef Paul Bartolotta at Spiaggia in Chicago after graduating from culinary school and worked with Todd English in Washington D.C. began his Bartolotta’s career in 2000 working under Chef Mark Weber at Lake Park Bistro, a restaurant where he was promoted to executive chef in 2003. 

“The food scene was minute when I arrived,” Siegel noted in a 2013 interview. “Bartolotta’s was only three restaurants at that time, and when Paul [Bartolotta] asked me to come here, I thought I’d be here for a year or two at most. It was Milwaukee, and I thought I’d blow in and blow out.”

But Siegel remained. And he grew with the Bartolotta Restaurants, contributing his vision and leadership. Along the way, he earned accolades for his work, including the James Beard Best Chef in the Midwest Award, for which he was nominated in 2007 and subsequently received in 2008.

In a statement, the Bartolotta Restaurants confirmed Siegel’s departure, noting:

“The Bartolotta Restaurants is grateful for Chef Siegel’s contributions, leadership, and overall commitment to the company. During his tenure, he contributed to the company’s growth from three locations to 17, including fine dining, catering, food halls, and airport locations, and he helped turn Lake Park Bistro into a Milwaukee dining destination. The Bartolotta Restaurants wish him the best of luck and will cheer him on as he continues his journey.”

The restaurant group noted that Chef Aaron Bickham has been promoted to Corporate Executive Chef for The Bartolotta Restaurants in Siegel’s stead. Bickham is also a long-term Bartolotta’s chef who has been a member of their culinary team on and off for over 20 years.

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.