I have to admit -- even the most ardent of foodies can feel a bit to far to the bacchanal side of things at the end-of-year; the Wisconsin Foodie production crew not excluded. We rallied ourselves to a true New Year's resolution -- a new airtime to coincide with the new year: Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. on WISN-TV Channel 12.
Our former pre-lunch airtime was brilliant at drumming up hunger, grabbing viewers by the television lapels and giving them great ideas and resources for that evening's dinner, or restaurant excursion or Wisconsin day trip. (At least this is what we heard from all of the e-mails.)
But, the 2009 Wisconsin Foodie is perhaps a kinder, gentler Foodie -- at least on your schedule. Our new spot allows enough time to rise and shine, and perhaps seek the hangover cure if you opted for that extra imbibe the evening prior. (I'll take my cure at Benji's, Comet Café or Kopp's, thank you very much.)
Or, if you lean toward the fitness / productive side of things -- you can go to the gym, grocery or bookstore -- all in time to be back before your television at 12:30 p.m. and still have time for that all important Saturday afternoon nap afterward.
And by a kinder, gentler Foodie, we mean the 2009 episodes will include everything from the Glendale Olympic gold medallist Garret Weber-Gale and a half-ton bison precariously close to our co-director and his camera, to the French-American culinary living legend Jacques Pepin, to Wisconsin's own recent James Beard award winner Adam Siegel, and a profile on Carr Valley master cheese maker Sid Cook, who has single handedly won more first place international awards than the entire state of Vermont! There will also be yours truly ice fishing with the fisherman of all fish men, John Gillespie.
I will break bread, dine on clams and an excellently filleted fish with Joe Bartolotta. I'll also talk to him about his childhood, career and his ascent to the top of the region's "foodie list."
Finally, we sequester ourselves to the aisles of Outpost Natural Foods with Ken Hnilo of Gilbert's in Lake Geneva to see if a AAA Four-Diamond chef really can create a 100 percent Wisconsin-grown organic menu in the dead of winter. And, because no foodie worth their water weight in sea salt would ever miss a chance to visit the preeminent Madison restaurant L'Etoile, we leap at the opportunity to talk to owner and chef Tory Miller.
So sleep late, tune in at 12:30 p.m., and use the good olive oil on the salad while you get back to your fighting weight. It's cold outside. You deserve it.
Kyle Cherek is host of the Emmy nominated Wisconsin Foodie, now in its 6th season on PBS, and has made regular appearances on both The Travel Channel and Food Network. He is a frequent contributor through his column Amuse Bouche, regular commentary on Public Radio, Fox 6’s Real Milwaukee and hosts the video series "Chef Talk with Kyle Cherek."