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In Dining

Former Milwaukee chef Jason Gorman is running the dining operations at the Art Institute of Chicago these days.

Gorman weds art with food at Kohler Food & Wine Experience

For the seventh straight year, October is Dining Month on, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi. 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 2013."

Chef Jason Gorman, who many of us first met at Dream Dance Steak, left for Chicago a year ago now, but he's still got Wisconsin on his mind.

Gorman, who now runs the food operations at the Art Institute of Chicago and recently completed a massive makeover the venue's Museum Cafe, returns to the Badger State to take part in the Kohler Food and Wine Festival this weekend. We caught up with him to find out what he'll be doing up at The American Club. What do you like about being a part of Kohler's Food and Wine Experience?

Jason Gorman: It's a chance to celebrate great food and wine at one of the Midwest's premier resort. I love the opportunity to cook for people, meet other chefs and the team at Kohler not only takes what they do very seriously, they make you feel special.

OMC: There are a number of food and wine expos around the upper Midwest, but is there something about Kohler's that makes it extra special?

JG: I think the history of the beautiful resort and the longstanding tradition of excellence truly makes it an honor to be a part of this event.

OMC: What kind of events have you done there in the past?

JG: This is my fifth year I have been asked to teach a class at Kohler Food and Wine. I have been a featured chef at Kohler's Chef and Shorts Beer Fest, which is a really fun outdoor event featuring chefs grilling all sorts food that is paired with microbrews.

OMC: What are you going to be doing up there this year?

JG: This year's theme is inspired by a new art exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago titled, "Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine." This art exhibit really takes an in depth view into how food, art and culture have been intertwined throughout the years. It seemed like perfect timing to showcase how some of the artwork in this upcoming exhibit inspired me to create food for this year's demonstration.

We start with a modern take on a citrus salad inspired by John F. Francis who was known for still life paintings featuring fruit and desserts. The next dish showcases venison paired with an almond spoon bread and kumquat chutney that was inspired by an Indiana born De Scott Evans. And for dessert I took inspiration from pop artist Wayne Thiebaud and have created a classic Chocolate Phosphate using Milwaukee's own Omanhene chocolate.

OMC: Have you seen the schedule yet – are there any chefs you're going to make sure to see yourself?

JG: Absolutely, my picks would be to see; Jacques and Claudia Pepin, Marc Mondavi comparing Howell Mountain Cabernets, Top Chef Fabio Viviani with Death's Door Spirits which has to be entertaining and my top pick would be Roman Pastas with Tony Mantuano.

OMC: Will you stop over in Milwaukee on the way up there or on the way home to check in on what's happened in the culinary scene here since you left?

JG: I'm not sure if I'll have time but if I do, I will most likely try to visit some of my favorites: Rocket Baby Bakery, Leon's or Polonez.


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