By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jun 09, 2015 at 3:40 PM

In May, we brought you the news that Chef Peter Gebauer was leaving Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. And there was a great deal of speculation about where he might end up.

Today, Sendik’s Food Markets announced that they have hired Gebauer as executive chef for the family-owned, local grocer.

Gebauer brings more than 40 years of culinary expertise to the role, which will include development of additional Sendik's signature recipes, finding innovative ways to meet the needs of the consumer, including with Sendik's Fresh2GO-branded products, and coaching chefs in each of Sendik's 12 kitchens.

"Peter has a passion for developing talent," said Mark Kahl, executive director of retail operations. "People are the most important part of our business, and Peter's great success has come from focusing on people. He is not only an incredibly talented chef, but someone who knows how to share that knowledge with others."

And coaching is one of the areas in which Gebauer has particular expertise. When he first joined Potawatomi nine years ago, Gebauer evaluated and reclassified staff, and then implemented a training program based on the standards of the Culinary Institute of America.

Today, the program features four different levels comprised of 31 classes taught by Gebauer and other senior chefs. Gebauer focused his attention on challenging staff and offering them opportunities to grow through a variety of  contests and training opportunities, including an annual "offal challenge" for casino chefs, which encouraged them to employ creativity and technique to lesser-used ingredients.

Gebauer also brought a variety of changes to the casino’s restaurants, including a laser-like focus on locally grown and produced food products, as evidenced most clearly by the menu at Locavore.

In a conversation with Gebauer on Monday, he noted that Milwaukee has really become home. And, despite a life spent on culinary adventures around the world, he was excited about the opportunity Sendik’s offered.

"Sendik's is a company I've always admired, and I'm very excited to be joining their team," said Gebauer. "Working with local companies providing high quality, fresh food made with local ingredients has always been a passion of mine. It's a natural fit for me, and I look forward to helping Sendik's build and grow its culinary reputation."

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.