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Milwaukee's favorite Italian restaurant, Mimma's returns (sort of)

Each Friday at 8 am on 88Nine, Milwaukee Magazine’s dining critic, Ann Christenson, and 88Nine foodie Tarik Moody discuss Milwaukee’s culinary and restaurant culture. ‘This Bites’ is sponsored by Society Insurance.

On this week’s show, we talked about the 2018 James Beard Awards. We also talked about Ester Ev’s Collaborative Dinner series and the return of Mimma's (sort of).

If you are a chef or a restaurant and have an announcement or an event, please send any information or press release to

2018 James Beard Awards

he James Beard Awards also known as the Oscars of the culinary world announced the semifinalists for their 2018 awards. Four chefs from Milwaukee, one chef from Sheybogen and one from Madison were picked for Best Midwest Chef.

Madison’s L’Etoile is a semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant and The Bartolotta group is a semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurateur.

Here are the Wisconsin semifinalists for Best Midwest Chef

Karen Bell, Bavette La Boucherie, Milwaukee
Justin Carlisle, Ardent, Milwaukee
Thomas Hauck, c.1880, Milwaukee
Jonny Hunter, Forequarter, Madison, WI
Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, EsterEv, Milwaukee
Stefano Viglietti, Trattoria Stefano, Sheboygan, WI
The 2018 James Beard Awards Gala will take place on Monday, May 7, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Mimma's returns to Milwaukee (sort of)

The legendary  Italian restaurant, Mimma's will be returning to Milwaukee for series of cooking classes and special dinner at Supper. On Feb. 25, Supper will host a six-course dinner prepared by Chef Mimma.  The cost of the dinner is $75.  Here is the menu:

  • 1st Course- Grilled calamari alla Griglia
  • 2nd Course- Caprese salad, prosciutto, crostini
  • 3rd Course- Farfalle Taormina
  • 4th Course- Spedini, beef, pork, red sauce, oven roasted potato
  • 5th Course- Red Snapper, cherry tomato-wine sauce, green beans
  • 6th Course- Tiramisu

Then there will be a series of cooking classes at the Public Market featuring Milwaukee’s own award-winning Chef Mimma from Mimma’s on Brady Street will be teaching guests the secret behind the taste her loyal customers enjoyed for over 30-years in her “Taste of Italy” cooking class series. In her classes, you will enjoy delicious authentic dishes and learn the history of cuisine from regions of Italy with featured recipes from Tuscany, Roma, Sicily, and Piedmont. Throughout these hands-on courses, you’ll be taught to make signature appetizers such as a Caprese salad with a homemade reduction and arancini (rice balls) as well as more complex meals such as Pappardelle con Ragu di Agnello (Lamb Ragu) and Pork Scallopine.

March 7 – A Tour of Italy on a Small Plate, 5:30 pm, $89

In this session, Mimma will walk you through how to impress your friends with a variety of tasty antipastos (appetizers). These appetizers are rich generous portions that can be served by themselves or as a meal. You will be making Gamberi Toscana (Tuscan shrimp), Arancini which is the traditional Italian rice ball. You can stuff your rice ball with meat, seafood or vegetables. And the house staple bruschetta made with fresh tomato and basil. After this class, you’ll feel like a pro in the kitchen.

March 27 – Easter in Sicily, 5:30 pm, $89

In this session, we will prepare a traditional Sicilian Pappardelle con Ragu di Agnello (Lamb Ragu). Lamb is a very traditional choice for Easter, in a Sicilian household. This version can be served as a starter, before the main dish, or as a "Prima Piatta". In addition, Mimma will show you how to make her version of the Caprese salad with colorful cherry tomatoes and her special homemade dressing. In addition to her marinated artichoke bruschetta, for starters. This session is appropriate for all skill levels.

April 10 – A Taste of Roma, 5:30 pm, $89

Spaghetti Alla carbonara is one of the most popular recipes in Rome. Theories about its origin range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Some insist carbonara gets its moniker from the large quantities of black pepper in it. Don’t worry, it’s not spicy! The pepper makes it look like it’s flecked with carbon (Carbone). I can guarantee you haven’t tried bacon, eggs, and cheese like this. It’s simple, satisfying, and impressive. This dish is accompanied by chicken parmigiana and a Panzanella salad.

April 18 – A Taste of Piedmont, 5:30 pm, $89

The Piedmont region of Italy, famously known for its sophisticated cars and wines, is also the home of well-loved Italian comfort food - Risotto! In this session, you will make a delicious pork scallopine with a side of risotto ai Funghi e Zafferano (mushroom risotto with saffron). You’ll start this part on your pallet with Funghi Ripieni di Menta e Prezzemolo (stuffed Portobello mushrooms) that are sure to satisfy. This meal can easily be modified as a vegetarian meal or as a side dish.

EsterEv's collaborative dinner series

Chefs Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite are at it again! Starting in March, the Dans will be launching a new collaborative dinner series at EsterEv, called EsterEv+, which will run through November. Every month, EsterEv+ will feature a special collaborative 10-course dinner with a visiting chef from across the country. These talented chefs come from diverse backgrounds, specializing in a variety of cuisines ranging from Nordic to Southern to Italian to Korean. Chef Bryan Lee Weaver from Nashville’s Butcher & Bee will be kicking off the series on Tuesday, March 6, 2018.

Reservations are required and are available to the public starting today ($80/person).

· March 6 - Chef Bryan Lee Weaver, Butcher & Bee (Nashville): Chef Bryan Lee Weavers cranks out produce-driven, farm-to-table food offering dishes that are both sustainable and seasonal

· April 3 - Chef Brad Day, Tullibee (Minneapolis): Chef Brad Day offers hearth-driven food with a wood-burning oven at the center of his kitchen. His menu at Tullibee offers hearty smoked vegetables, sharable meats & fish and even offal

· May 1 - Chef Ryan McCaskey, Acadia (Chicago): Chef Ryan McCaskey offers classic dishes with a Contemporary American twist at his Michelin starred restaurant, Acadia. Inspired by his time spent in Maine since childhood, Chef Ryan’s cooking style pays homage to the flavors and abundance found across the state

· June 5 - Chef Zachary Baker, Pizza Man (Milwaukee): With a passion for food and wine, Chef Zak Baker creates homey Italian plates with bold flavors including artfully-made pizzas, fresh pastas and sauces at Milwaukee’s beloved pizza shop, Pizza Man

· July 24 - Chef Bill Kim, urbanbelly (Chicago): Born in Seoul, South Korea, Chef Bill Kim brings a fun and funky edge to classic Asian flavor at his Chicago restaurants, urbanbelly and bellyQ. This year, Chef Bill released his cookbook, “Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces”, a casual and practical guide to grilling. Kim’s time working under acclaimed chefs Jean Banchet and Charlie Trotter also means that he brings a certain elevation to all of his dishes

· August 7 - Chef Justin Aprahamian, Sanford Restaurant (Milwaukee): Chef Justin Aprahamian is the executive chef and owner of Milwaukee's iconic Sanford Restaurant. Chef Justin pulls inspiration from many local Milwaukee markets throughout the seasons to create dishes which showcase the farmer’s bounty

· September 4 - Chef Dan Snowden, Bad Hunter (Chicago): At Bad Hunter, Chef Dan Snowden creates veggie-forward cuisine in an inventive and satisfying way. Chef Dan’s creates hearty, vegetable-centered dishes that even the biggest meat-tooth will crave

· October 2 - Chef Alex Seidel, Fruition (Denver): Chef Alex Seidel offers fine dining flare with none of the fuss at Fruition. Chef Alex uses seasonally-focused ingredients with each component holding an instrumental place on the dish creating a well-rounded and streamlined bite

· November 6 - Chefs Mitch Ciohon and Shay Linkus, Snack Boys (Milwaukee): A new addition to the Milwaukee food scene, Snack Boys offers island-inspired drinks, eclectic small plates and raw bar offerings to create what Chefs Mitch Ciohon and Shay Linkus call “pure chaos with some food and booze”



Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee