By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published May 02, 2018 at 11:01 AM

One of Milwaukee’s multi-year James Beard semifinalists will soon take the culinary helm at the Lowlands Group restaurants, including Café Hollander, Café Benelux, Café Centraal and Café Bavaria.

The announcement comes on the heels of the April 28 closing of c.1880, a restaurant that helped change the face of the Walker's Point neighborhood.

Thomas Hauck, former chef and owner of c.1880, has accepted a position as culinary director for the swiftly growing local restaurant group.

"There were a lot of opportunities out there, but this one really appealed to me," says Hauck. "It’s definitely a change from what I was doing, but it’s also a real chance to make an impact on a growing business."

In the end, Hauck says, it’s all about making good food.

"It doesn’t matter if it’s a taco on the side of the road or the food at The French Laundry, good food is good food," he says. "And this is really about taking what they already do and elevating it. We won’t be busting out the tweezers, but we’ll be applying the same techniques and respect for food that I've employed throughout my career."

Hauck will start in late May, after which he’ll spend a few months acclimating to the position, engaging with the brand’s culture and staff and immersing himself in research, including a September trip to Belgium and the Netherlands to prepare for making changes to the Lowlands’ menus.

"We’re really excited to have Thomas join us," says Dan Herwig, director of brand and marketing at Lowlands Group. "We totally respect everything he’s done to elevate Milwaukee’s dining scene over the past few years and hope his creativity and high standards have an even broader reach through joining Lowlands."

Herwig notes that he feels Hauck’s extensive experience, including his time working in France, makes him a particularly good fit for the position. And Hauck agrees.

"Closing c.1880 was one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make," he says. "But joining Lowlands was one of the easiest. I like the people, I like the culture, and I’m excited about the direction we’re taking the culinary program."

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.