Top Chef host Kristen Kish recently visited Culver's, a farm and more
New "Top Chef" host and Season 10 winner Kristen Kish is continuing her exploration of Wisconsin cuisine, from Culver's to a farm stand that took her back to her Midwestern childhood.
The competition-based cooking show is filming its 21st season in Milwaukee and Madison this year. While in town, Kish has been checking out what our local dining scene has to offer.
It looks like Kish crossed off quite a few Culver's essentials during a recent visit, per a bird's-eye view photo she shared on her Instagram story. She posted a ButterBurger, cheese curds, onion rings, fries — and ample dipping sauce options.
Kristen, we're going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you added custard to the spread after snapping the pic. If not, next time.
Also for your next visit, may we suggest the Buffalo chicken tenders?
Months after the spicy, breaded pieces of meaty goodness disappeared from menus in the summer of 2021, a Twitter account was launched to put pressure on Culver's to bring 'em back. Yes, really. The tenders made their official return to all Culver's restaurants in November 2022.
Culver's was founded in 1984 in Sauk City by members of the Culver family. More than 920 locations are now across the country, per the chain's website.
Kish found Mukwonago's Craigland Farms "off a highway & down some side streets," she said in a Sunday Instagram post. According to the farm's Facebook page, it's sixth-generation family-owned since 1843.
Kish shared a series of photos from her time there: One of her shucking corn, the farm's fresh produce stand, a sweet corn sign, and a video of the property with fields as far as the eye can see.
"A core memory unlocked and a happy throwback to my Michigan childhood today," Kish said in the post.
"Empty highways, fields for days, summer heat, Van Morrison playlist, and finding sweet corn off a highway & down some side streets that worked off the honor system - couldn’t have brought me more joy. Shucked my corn, dropped some cash in the slot, and went on my merry way, just as I did as a kid."
Kish also visited another Mukwonago farm stand of sorts, The Elegant Farmer.
In 1946, two brothers, Dave and Elmer Scheel, created a roadside food stand near their 65-acre farm just south of the village of Mukwonago, according to a previous Journal Sentinel report. Twelve years later, it became the Davelmer Market, a business that included an uncommon concept for the time: allowing customers to pick their own strawberries from the farm.
When Elmer's son and daughter-in-law, Dan and Sharon Scheel, took over the business in 1970, they rechristened it The Elegant Farmer and introduced new elements that turned the local market into something with broader appeal.
They created farm kitchen, bakery, deli and market sections at the store, at 1545 Main St., along the village's southwestern edge.
It became known for its trademarked Apple Pie Baked in a Paper Bag, followed by other specialty items including CiderBaked Ham (also trademarked), applesauces, fruit crisps, large muffins and cookies, seasonings, sauces, cheeses and gourmet popcorn.
The Scheel family sold the business in 2006 to two longtime employees, John Bauer and Keith Schmidt, and John's brother, Mike Bauer.
Now, getting back to that pie baked in a paper bag, that's what Kish got there.
"I'm not a pie person but when the sign says 'best pie baked in a paper bag' one must try it,'" she said on her Instagram story.
Over the weekend, Kish went back to Three Brothers Restaurant in Bay View for Round 2. And, we totally get it.
It's actually one of the restaurants Journal Sentinel dining critic Rachel Bernhard recently recommended to new Brewer/foodie Mark Canha.
Three Brothers, 2414 S. St. Clair St., has been family-run since 1956, serving homestyle Serbian classics like stuffed cabbage, raznjici, chicken paprikash, roast goose, roast suckling pig and musaka. It's famous for its burek — beef, cheese, or spinach and cheese.
Milwaukee shoppers and social media users at Whole Foods on Prospect Avenue spotted what appeared to be "Top Chef" crews filming in the grocery store.
Kish and judge Gail Simmons tried the Milwaukee delicacy of custard at Leon's Frozen Custard, and dined at Vientiane Noodle Shop.
"Top Chef" Season 21 plans to air in early 2024 on Bravo and the Peacock streaming service.
Jim Riccioli of the Now News Group staff contributed to this report.