Foreword by Chef Paul Bartolotta

Four-time nominated, and two-time James Beard award-winning Chef Paul Bartolotta is the co-founder and owner of The Bartolotta Restaurants, the premier restaurant group in the Greater Milwaukee region. An internationally celebrated chef and restaurateur, Chef Bartolotta has brought his culinary talent and vision to kitchens all over the world – from Italy to Paris to New York to Las Vegas – for more than 30 years. With an education and training steeped in tradition and authenticity, Chef Bartolotta’s culinary skills have earned him many accolades from the James Beard Foundation, Michelin Guide, New York Times, the Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRoNA), AAA, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and others.

a headshot of Paul Bartolotta with a green background

I love Milwaukee.


I was born and raised in Milwaukee, went to culinary school in Milwaukee, and began The Bartolotta Restaurants with my late brother Joe in Milwaukee over 30 years ago.

We opened our flagship restaurant, Ristorante Bartolotta dal 1993, as a tribute to our Italian heritage and traditions. Our concept was simple. We wanted to recreate our early family experiences that took place around the kitchen table for our guests. Today we refer to this as having a Bartolotta hospitality heart and welcoming guests to “The Bartolotta Table.”

The 60+ chefs featured in this book are true artisans and represent the incredible diversity of Milwaukee’s culinary landscape. Each one of them has a story and an inspiration, similar to my own, that led them down the path to becoming a chef. It has been my great honor to mentor, learn from them, and work alongside many of the talented faces featured in this book. Together, these chefs have created a culinary ecosystem within the neighborhoods of Milwaukee by sharing their heritage, culture, and stories with our communities.

Milwaukee has evolved into a world-class culinary destination throughout the past three decades, and each chef featured in these pages has played a part in that evolution. As chefs and artisans, it is our duty to continue to elevate our great city through our dedication to the community, and the passion we deliver to each guest that walks through the door of our restaurants.

I am proud to be from Milwaukee, and I am grateful for all that this city has done to nurture the great culinary minds that fill these pages and beyond. Without the support of our communities, we would not be here today. So, thank you, Milwaukee, for all that you have given us.

My sincere congratulations to all of the artisans in this book. May you each continue to grow, evolve, and share your stories with the world.

Chef Paul Bartolotta

Co-Founder and Owner, The Bartolotta Restaurants