By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Oct 08, 2012 at 9:03 AM

For the sixth straight year, October is Dining Month on, presented by Concordia University. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2012."

Thomas Keller, the acclaimed chef-owner of The French Laundry in Napa Valley and winner of almost every culinary award given in America, is coming to Milwaukee.

Keller's latest book, "Bouchon Bakery " – a tome paying tribute to all the French bakery classics he fell in love with as a young chef apprenticing in Paris: the baguettes, the macarons, the mille-feuilles, the tartes aux fruits – will be released Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Prior to its release, Keller will embark on a 11-city book tour and take part in four dinner events, one of which will be hosted here in Milwaukee by The Bartolotta Restaurants.

The dinner, which will take place Monday, Oct. 29 at The Grain Exchange, 225 E. Michigan St., will feature delectable dishes and desserts inspired by Keller's cookbooks. For $150 per person, guests will enjoy passed hors d'oeuvres beginning at 6:15 p.m. with dinner to follow at 7. Each ticket-holder will also receive a signed copy of "Bouchon Bakery."

Paul Bartolotta, chef and co-owner of The Bartolotta Restaurants and two-time James Beard Award winner, will be present, and the event's chef team will be led by Corporate Chef and James Beard Award winner Adam Siegel. Top Bartolotta chefs, along with co-author Sebastien Rouxel, executive pastry chef for The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, will prepare the five-course dinner.

"Chef Thomas Keller visited Milwaukee and The Bartolotta Restaurants in 2009," Bartolotta remarked. "We were honored to hear Chef Keller mention that visiting Milwaukee was the highlight of his 'Ad Hoc' cookbook tour and we look forward to welcoming him back."

The dinner will be accompanied by a silent auction to benefit the Bocuse d'Or USA Foundation, the aim of which is to build a sustainable community of young American chefs who will be lifelong ambassadors of quality and excellence in the world of gastronomy. The organization supports young chefs through educational scholarships, internships and access to a culinary council of established professionals.

Keller is president of the Bocuse d'Or USA Foundation and Chef Paul Bartolotta serves on the Bocuse d'Or USA Culinary Council.

Keller has received six James Beard Awards (including Outstanding Chef in America and Restaurateur of the Year), six Michelin Stars (three each for The French Laundry and Per Se), Time Magazine's "America's Best Chef" and Bon Appetit's "Chef of the Year." The French Laundry and Per Se vie for the title of best restaurant in America, and rank in the top five restaurants in the world.

In addition to his restaurants, Keller has created a line of fine china (Hommage Point), consulted on movies ("Spanglish" and "Ratatouille") and is an award-winning cookbook author. His first book, "The French Laundry Cookbook," won three IACP awards, and the Julia Child "First Cookbook Award." This was followed by "Bouchon" and "Under Pressure."

The "Bouchon Bakery" dinner event with Chef Thomas Keller is presented in partnership with Artisan Books, Gonzalez, Saggio and Harlan, Cornerstone Cellars, Clos Du Val Winery, Somerston Vineyards, 24 by Charles Woodson Wines, Rock Wall Wines, L'Aventure Winery and Rainy Day Books.

For more information or to make reservations, visit or call (414) 727-6980. Table seating can accommodate groups of up to 10.

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.