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Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008

Kohler 2008 Food & Wine Experience

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When Chef Jason Gorman participates for the first time at the 8th Annual Kohler Food & Wine Experience, in nearby Kohler, Wis., the Milwaukee-based chef will be showcasing his "New Wisconsin Cuisine." At 38, Gorman is the Executive Chef for Potawatomi Bingo Casino's upscale Dream Dance but his ingredients are as local as well, Sprecher Root Beer.

"I'll be preparing one of our [Dream Dance] signature dishes, our Sprecher Root Beer Cured Venison," says Gorman, who lives on Milwaukee's East side but was born and raised in Chicago. "People can actually eat the food while I'm preparing the dish and it's something people can replicate at home."

Food, wine and beverage enthusiasts seek out the Kohler Food & Wine Experience running Oct. 23-26 to spend four days and nights attending demonstrations and seminars with some of the country's leading chefs, wine experts and regional restaurateurs. Attendees learn about the latest trends in food and wine, watch demonstrations, and the best part? They get to taste, sip, nibble and eat to their heart's-and stomach's-- content.

There truly is something for everyone that's interested in food and wine.
Chef Andrew Ruiz from Bacchus-A Bartolotta Restaurant will feature Delafield's Strauss Veal in a demonstration while those interested in after dinner spirits can take in "Unlocking the Mysteries of Absinthe" or "The Bliss of Baileys Irish Cream." There are seminars on "Wisconsin Artisanal Cheeses,"
"Indian Classics with Spices," and for those a thirst to quench, plenty on beer, wine, champagne, a "Shake & Stir Martini Party," even a seminar on Patron Tequila.

While some events sell out early, there are events that are also complimentary such as Thursday's Organic Wine Tasting as well as other samplings and tastings at the Shops at Woodlake Kohler.

In addition to Gorman, other celebrity chefs include Ilan Hall, winner of Bravo's Top Chef Season 2 and Hung Huynh, winner of Top Chef Season 3. There are a host of cookbook authors signings, sommeliers (wine experts) tastings and special events, such as the perfect annual October event-Oktoberfest!
($25 per person). Here, visitors can sample microbrews from local, regional and national breweries as well as food to soak it all up. Throw in traditional polka music by the John Roehl Orchestra and this popular worldwide festival makes its official debut at the Food & Wine Experience

Then there's the themed dinners such as Masters Club Champion's Dinner ($150 per person), where Chef Bruce Sacino recreates favorite meals of golfers who've won the famous Green Jacket at the Masters Tournament. On tap at Kohler will be golfers Tiger Woods' Sushi Bar and Mike Weir's Roasted Rack of Elk.

But for Gorman, deer is on his menu. His dish features farm raised red deer from New Zealand which he says "has a really clean flavor. You don't get a lot of the gaminess people expect with it." Gorman also spent time in the south when his family moved to Atlanta. There he saw Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper being used in barbecue sauces. So he decided to experiment with root beer and Sprecher was top of mind. "The flavor profile has a lot of subtle nuances and it doesn't contain a lot of high fructose sugar syrup."

For his "New Wisconsin Cuisine" demonstration ($40 per person), Gorman mixes the root beer with roasted garlic and Worcestershire sauce to make a paste that actually cures the venison. In addition to the main dish, he and his staff will also prepare Spaghetti Squash Carbonara that mixes cooked "spaghetti" strands of the squash with pancetta (bacon), onions and aged parmesan cheese. Like many cooks, professional and otherwise, Gorman's style has evolved over the years.

"Every place I've worked, I've modified my style for my audience," he says.
"Not a whole lot of people were doing Wisconsin food from a fine dining experience. I'm taking my inspiration from Wisconsin in the style of my food."

For Gorman, cooking at the Kohler Food & Wine Experience is just as much about the simple joys of eating as it is the preparation of the food.

"Food doesn't always have to be cerebral," Gorman points out, adding "at the end of the day, your tummy has to be happy."

Chef Jason Gorman showcases his "New Wisconsin Cuisine" demonstration from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 26 at the Sub-Zero and Wolf Midwest Chef's Stage. For more information on the 8th Annual Kohler Food & Wine Experience, call 1-800-344-2838, ext. 978 or visit: www.KOHLERfoodandwine.net
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