"Wisconsin Foodie," the Emmy Award-winning production aired locally on Wisconsin Public Television, announced today that Chef Luke Zahm will formally join the show as the host for the 2020 season.
Zahm is the owner and head chef of Driftless Cafe, which he has operated with his wife in Viroqua, Wisconsin since 2013. He is a two-time winner of the Edible Madison Local Hero Award, and was named a 2017 James Beard Best Chef Midwest semifinalist, a rarity for small-town culinary talent.
"As a kid growing up in a small, rural town in Wisconsin, I found my identity in food," Zahm said. "I’ve enjoyed my guest role with Foodie immensely; I can’t wait to continue to explore and create broader awareness of the culinary scene with viewers as permanent host of Wisconsin Foodie."
Zahm has been previously featured on "Wisconsin Foodie," such as season 11, episode 13, "Love Letter to Summer," and is most known for his ever-changing menu of local foods at the Driftless Cafe, which showcases the bounty of the Driftless region, highlighting local farms by spending 85 percent of its food budget on ingredients that are sourced within a 100-mile radius of the restaurant.
He replaces Kyle Cherek, previous host of "Wisconsin Foodie."
"Kyle [Cherek] was the first face of 'Wisconsin Foodie,' and played an integral role in helping thousands of Wisconsinites fall in love with local food and culinary culture," notes Arthur Ircink, founder and director of "Wisconsin Foodie."
"We will continue to break bread as friends, and he will always be a part of the 'Foodie' family even as we continue to learn, grow and expand our culinary horizons."
In addition to several exciting events happening this summer, a special dinner celebrating Zahm is planned for Saturday, Aug. 10 in Spring Green. The dinner will feature Pleasant Ridge Reserve by Uplands Cheese cheesemaker Andy Hatch, among several exceptional offerings for Foodie fans in attendance. Tickets are available for purchase here.
Cherek will continue to be engaged in the Wisconsin food scene post-'Foodie.'
"As host of 'Wisconsin Foodie' for the past 11 years, it has been a deep and abiding honor to represent my state's food ways through the stories of its farmers, artisans, makers and chefs. I look forward to the next chapter in my role as a food storyteller and focusing on my extraordinary new role as father to my newborn daughter," says Cherek.