By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Apr 21, 2018 at 6:01 PM

Milwaukee is filled with inspiring women. Twelve of them will be honored over the next year during a very special celebration at The Pasta Tree, 1503 N. Farwell Ave.

Owner Suzzette Metcalfe says she was inspired by the International Women’s Day celebrations this past March, and felt compelled to think about a way to honor women who’ve had a positive impact on her life.

"I wanted to find a way to showcase a large spectrum of women," she says, "Who work in a variety of careers, and really bring awareness to the things they bring to our city."

So she reached out to various women in her life and asked them to choose a dish which has special meaning to them. Some are favorite dishes from childhood, others are dishes the women themselves love to make or which they were eager to learn how to make. From there, Metcalfe worked with each woman to recreate their special dishes in The Pasta Tree kitchen.

Each woman’s finished dish will be featured on the Pasta Tree menu for a month, and a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of the dish will be donated to local charitable organizations including Savage Support Corp., a nonprofit that provides a wide variety of services focused on aid to individuals fighting breast cancer. 

In addition, Pasta Tree will host a special monthly dinner during which each woman will have the opportunity to mingle with guests, share stories and inspiration from their lives and careers and answer guests’ questions. In some cases, the women’s art, products books or other items will also be available for purchase.

I’m honored to be chosen as one of the women featured in this series. My dish, ricotta gnocchi, will be featured during the month of April. It’s a dish I fell in love with for its light texture and subtle fresh flavors. It’s incredibly versatile, and something I make frequently at home.

In the autumn, I serve it with browned butter and herbs. During the winter months, I’ll often serve it over sautéed garlic spinach with a bit of melted blue cheese. And during the summer, it’s perfect topped with freshly chopped heirloom tomatoes, basil and a drizzle of great olive oil. It’s a dish that brings together a number of my favorite things: Wisconsin cheese, fresh seasonal produce and the simplicity of rustic homemade Italian fare.

Scheduled International Women’s Series events are as follows:


Lori Fredrich, Senior Food & Dining Writer, OnMilwaukee
Featured dish (available all month long): Spring fling ricotta gnocchi with morel mushrooms, asparagus and peas
Dinner: April 24 from 6 to 8 p.m.; three courses for $25
[More information


Amber Frymark, military veteran and founder of Chowventions Inc.
Featured dish: Baked ziti
Dinner: May 16 from 6 to 8 p.m.; two courses for $25
[More information


Gale Gand, chef and cookbook author
Featured dish: Greens & Beans: escarole with Italian sausage and cannellini beans
Dinner: June 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.; three courses for $35
[More information


Sarah Fierek, Director of Underwriting Partnerships at Radio Milwaukee
Featured dish: Piedmontese tajarin pasta
Dinner: July 17 from 6 to 8 p.m.; three courses with one wine pairing for $40
[More information


Heather Hall and Amy Wallner, Farmers at Fine Fettle Farms
Featured dish: Summer panzanella salad (made with dishes from their Caledonia farm)
Dinner: August 16 from 6 to 8 p.m.; three courses for $35
[More information


Deanna Savage, wine representative and founder of Savage Support Corp.
Featured dish: Lamb bolognese with whole wheat pappardelle
Dinner: Sept. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m.; three courses with wine pairings for $50
[More information


Beth Cumbo, artist
Featured dish: Braciole
Dinner: Oct. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m.; three courses with wine pairings for $40
[More information


Megan Bassett and Danielle Neureuther of Miss Olivia’s Line Jewelry
Featured dish: Gnudi with a German twist
Dinner: Nov. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.; three courses for $30
[More information


Yollande Tchouapi Deacon, Owner of AfroFusion Cuisine & Irie Zulu
Featured dish: East African peanut curry penne
Dinner: Dec. 11 from 6 to 8 p.m.; three courses featuring AfroFusion cuisine products for $35
[More information

January 2019

Tonia Finbraaten, CRNA
Featured dish: Clam linguini
Dinner: Jan. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m.; three course dinner for $35
[More information

February 2019

Lisa Metcalfe, owner of Trinity Home Builders
Featured dish: Meat and spinach lasagna
Additional information about this dinner is forthcoming. Watch the Pasta Tree Facebook page for details. 

March 2019

Liv Mueller, singer and songwriter
Featured dish: Pasta puttanesca
Dinner: March 19 from 6 to 8 p.m.; three course dinner for $35
[More information

For questions about the series, contact Suzzette Metcalfe at The Pasta Tree Restaurant & Wine Bar by calling (414) 276-8867.

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.