If you know me at all, you know I'm into any event that raises money for a good cause, especially sustainable food systems. Chef Week did just that by benefiting the Community Action Coalition's Double Dollars program, but the four events I was assigned to cover for ISTHMUS were great for all sorts of reasons.
Covering the event brought my love for hard-working entrepreneurs and Madison's ambitious food community full circle for me. I've worked behind the bar, on the floor, in the kitchen and as a door girl. I sweated in fields growing vegetables for a farm-to-table operation and I've watched places from the stage. But this week reminded me that my most useful role in that world is from behind a camera.
Throughout the week, I watched kitchen talent from all parts of the city spring into the new season with an extra surge of post-hibernation energy. The events paired Madison's most celebrated food wizards, not only together, but with students in the early stage of a career.
Unprecedented collaborations led to recipe reinterpretations and kitchen swaps, not to mention a unique social concoction, rejuvenating Madison's restaurant scene with excitement and camaraderie. The series ended with a lively indoor street food party complete with 20+ sampling tables, a latin jazz sextet, and an impressive backdrop of the the Capital building. Le Toile was transformed into an uncharacteristically inclusive space while Graze maintained a more relaxed vibe thanks in part to DJ FRP and his reggae collection.