Stephanie Larson discussing her vision in the space Mama Bear Bowls will inhabit this Summer on Downer Avenue across from the Downer Theater.
Stephanie Larson, a working mom of one, had a dream. A dream to build something and leave a legacy of 'strong female restaurant ownership' to her young daughter. Inspired by the growing trend of "healthy bowls and smoothie" franchises, she first looked at investing in an already existing concept. But the more research she did, the more she felt she could do it better herself. That's when Mama Bear Bowls was born.
"It will be a fast casual restaurant, serving fresh, unprocessed foods. Instagram-worthy Smoothie bowls with Açaí, Dragon Fruit / Pitaya, Avocado, Kale, and Oatmeal based blends topped with fresh fruit and toppings. Additionally we’ll offer Anodyne coffee and healthy on-the-go options." said Larson.
To aid in the operational development and menu R&D, Larson enlisted the help of Sustainable Kitchens, which will on...
In April, 2018 Kessenich's, a Madison-based food service design, equipment, and supply store, opened a new 24,000-square-foot showroom and design center at 3226 Progress Road. The facility is just a few blocks north of Broadway and east of Stoughton Road.
Shortly after opening, Sustainable Kitchens of Milwaukee and Madison's Bierock (a restaurant that opened on the north side last June) requested the use of the yet-unused demo kitchen for recipe development. And a partnership was born.
SK CEO, Justin Johnson quickly saw an opportunity. An opportunity to kick-start the development of Kessenich’s Culinary Event center with a cooking class series to be offered to the Madison Community.
Marketing Director for Kessenich’s, Diane Sorenson, agreed. Kessenich’s is celebrating a 90-year anniversary this year and this series is the first of many fun community focused events Kessenich’s plans to offer in the future with SK.
In November of last year, SK and Kessenich's collaborated on a pilot class...
Headquartered along Howell Avenue in Bay View just north of Mitchell Airport, Sustainable Kitchens and the 'back-to-scratch' movement have been turning heads on a national scale. In just the past few months SK has connected with food service operations in San Francisco, Arizona, Washington DC, Connecticut and New York City.
Chelsea-based soup kitchen, Church of the Holy Apostles, which boasts the 2nd largest feeding operation in the country has secured SK for a project set to kick off in January of 2019.
The scope of the ambitious project includes a minimum of 40 fully-vetted recipes for an updated menu cycle and nutritional standards; all operational systems, policies, procedures and communications; an ingredient statement and local supply chain along with the SK Culinary, Leadership and Customer Service Training packages.
Program director Mike Ottley saw, within an already well-performing operation, great opportunities to bring a fresher, healthier appro...
On a Wednesday in early Sept 2017, a huge line of Madison West High School students snaked around their cafeteria, waiting to sample the new scratch-made lunch option: Chicken Nachos with Beans, Corn, Fresh Pico and a melty cheese sauce that, surprisingly, was half butternut squash. It was a sign for the Madison Metropolitan School District Food Service Director, Steve Youngbauer and the Sustainable Kitchens team, that their vision to shake up the mold of school lunch just might succeed.
In 2017, SK partnered with MMSD to bring scratch-made school lunches to the district. This was a daunting task due to the many constraints faced by lunchrooms across the county - a tight budget, limited ingredient options and kitchen equipment, strict nutrient requirements and the perceived notion that high schoolers are picky eaters.
However, over the 2017-2018 school year, SK developed and tested 40 scratch-made recipes, that met all nutrient requirements and cost under $1.30 a plate. These recip...
Justin Johnson, CEO (left) Dan O'Hearn, VP, Partner (right)
Just about any food service operation-- assuming they want to be relevant to food enthusiasts-- should, in some way, utilize local produce. However, the realities of how to source locally in a cost effective and sustainable way are not quite as straight-forward. Especially when you get into the high volume purchasing of institutional food service operations.
On July 13th, 2018, Reinhart Foodservice (with distribution centers in Oak Creek, WI, Shawano, WI and La Crosse, WI) and Sustainable Kitchens, (headquartered in Milwaukee) came to terms on a partnership aimed specifically at utilizing Wisconsin meat and produce for all participating kitchens. The partnership is the result of a project contracted between Sustainable Kitchens and the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources to implement healthy, scratch food into the congregate senior dining sites and home-delivered meal hubs throughout 70 Wis...
On February 23rd, Sustainable|Kitchens added another school district to its roster of clients. This time in Hartford, WI, the second largest city in Washington County. Hartford Union High School, home to some 1300 students has strong leadership and a high level of organization.
It also boasts high student satisfaction and a state of the art kitchen. You may wonder then-- why, with such a strong foundation, HUHS would even need to work with Sustainable|Kitchens. In reality, these types of operations are the best candidates for back-to-scratch projects. Despite having many of the essential building blocks in place, the operation is looking to elevate offerings by eliminating most processed items, expanding staff culinary skills and to work more efficiently.
"The goal of this project," said Charlotte Litjens, S|K Project Manager "is to increase participation and revenue." With an eye turned toward the future, Monica Glorioso, the district food service director sat down with the S|K te...
On January 1st, 2018 the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources began a multi-year contract with Milwaukee consulting firm, Sustainable Kitchens.
Sustainable Kitchens, founded in 2015, aims to bring fresh, local, scratch-made meals to the institutional kitchens found in hospitals and schools who notoriously rely on frozen, pre-cooked convenience products. The goal of the partnership between the agency known as GWAAR and Sustainable Kitchens is to create and implement a universal nutrition program for elderly recipients of home-delivered meals in Wisconsin, as well as participants of the congregate senior meal site programs across the state.
GWAAR first partnered with Sustainable Kitchens in July of last year on two pilot projects that brought updated menus and recipes to Washburn and Eau Claire counties. Now, the two organizations have their sights set on nearly the whole state. The reach of the project will include up to 70 counties and 11 tribes. The services Sustainable...
On April 17th 2017, Karen Gill of Down To Earth Chef will join Sustainable|Kitchens as our new full time corporate chef. Gill has been a personal chef since 2004, first as “Karen Cooks It” and then as “Down to Earth Chef.” Her personal mission is to make practical and simple cooking a thoughtful part of people’s daily lives. Gill says working as a personal chef allows her to be immersed in cooking and help those who want to get “down to earth” with food. S|K had been recruiting to fill the position for the past year. In January, Chef Karen threw her hat into the ring.
CEO/Founder, Justin Johnson said, "With the incredible team of people we've already assembled, it was critical that we find the perfect addition to our team. And frankly, we have grown to the point where we needed more hands on deck to ensure that all our clients' needs where being met. I had been looking for someone with a culinary point of view that aligned with ours but who was also a skilled educato...
From out of the ashes of early morning violence has risen the post-modern, industrial-chic, hipster haven known as Walker's Point. A hard-bitten bird with once-broken wings now soars below the Third Ward amidst the rusty sights and pungent smells of industry; boasting what some nationally renowned chefs might argue is the best damn food in the city.
For my first stop on this tour of Milwaukee's so-called "Fifth Ward," I was graciously welcomed into the kitchen at Thomas Hauck's c.1880, formerly owned by V. Marchese Produce and known then, as The Olive Pit. Chef Hauck, with his cuttingly dry sense of humor, recalled his mother's dismay upon seeing the green and purple color palate left behind; a sight that drove her nearly to the point of tears.
c.1880 is located along a highly motored stretch of Walker's Point where one good restaurant after another has staked its claim in recent years, drawing foodie-types with an adventurous appetite to an area of town that they'd have virtually no oth...
On a perfect autumn afternoon, with the mercury sitting at an almost absurdly perfect 72 degrees, my wife and I rolled over crunching gravel and crackling leaves along a sun-dappled path to an open field at NuGenesis Farms.
Swaying tall grass and the smell of fertilizer infused the crisp fall air as we walked from our parked car to a tasting event at the surging non-profit that – on this day – featured culinary duos of doctors and chefs for the purpose of forging farm-to-table culinary delights; an idea that (by the way) ranks near the top of my list of things that I wish that I had thought of first.
Once I accepted the reality that I did not think of it and someone else did, I was able to settle in and enjoy the afternoon. Our small group was quickly approached, almost before we even entered the fenced-in festivities, by the very person who did come up with this idea: NuGenesis founder, Kathy Bero.
Kathy Bero is a self-described "chronic volunteer." She stands tall with a commanding...