WAUWATOSA — Dozens of Wisconsin restaurants are openly sharing their recipes in a new cookbook. It’s an effort to help the industry statewide bounce back from COVID-19 closures.
The Wisconsin Restaurant Cookbook is now available exclusively at Pick'n Save and Metro Market stores. The books showcase specialties from chefs all over Wisconsin, and all of the money from the $10 apiece price tag will go back to restaurant owners in the form of grants.
Roundy’s, parent company for the grocery stores, spearheaded the project.
“We always like to be a part of the community that we're in, not just in it,” explained Jim Hyland, Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs for Roundy’s. “It's our way to help those who have helped us. So we put this cookbook together. It's a compilation of restaurants and recipes from all around the state where we do business. I believe there's 41 different recipes in here. Something for everybody.”
OnMilwaukee’s Senior Writer and Editor of Food and Dining, Lori Fredrich, was in charge of recruiting restaurants. She was asking them to publicly share a recipe with the world.
“I explained to them what was really the foundations of the project,” Fredrich recalled. “We wanted to give back, sort of, give them grants and this cookbook was seen as a way to partner and really make that happen.”
Molly Sullivan was on board immediately. “I thought it was really a cool idea. Anything to support small businesses. The fact that they're going to be giving grant funds to small businesses I just thought, why not? Why not be a part of that?” said Sullivan.
Sullivan, owner of Miss Molly’s Café and Pastry Shop in Wauwatosa, knows first hand how COVID nearly crushed the restaurant industry.
“When the pandemic first hit, it was so scary. I mean, scarier than even opening the business to begin with, because you've put your heart and soul and everything you have into this, so for it to all just go away without anything in your control would just be devastating," said Sullivan.
The 70-page book contains recipes for the expert chef and things as simple as chocolate chip cookies. Fredrick detailed some of them.
“There's some really good, just basic things. There's a couple that you just mix together. There's a chicken and avocado salad from Arepa’s Place in Brookfield. You have some really, really easy recipes. And then you have some that are more challenging, so there's kind of something for everyone in here. So if you want to spend a whole day on a recipe, there's at least one or two of them in here. And then there's easy dinner," said Fredrick.
Restaurants have already been applying for grants to grow their businesses, or just to stay afloat. Frederick believes the effort could return $100,000 to the industry.
“For me, I work with restaurants every day out of the year and throughout the pandemic. I've watched the ups and downs. For me it was really gratifying to be able to do something aside from giving them a good article.”
The books are available while supplies last. You can learn more about them or donate directly to the cause by clicking here.