Host Luke Zahm looks ahead to a new season of ‘Wisconsin Foodie’

The new season of Wisconsin Foodie premieres 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20 on PBS Wisconsin.

The season of rest is upon me – and I loathe it.

Ten months out of the calendar year are spent researching, documenting, traveling, actively interviewing, editing, polishing and then promoting. But it’s the time when the episodes actually air that our schedule quiets.

And for me, it’s too quiet.

Rest is hard.

I usually tend to fill my time with work at the Driftless Café, on various boards, and I even coach strength and conditioning and freshman basketball at Viroqua Area Schools.

My thoughts drift to places I’ve been and stories we’ve shared, things I’ve learned and situations that felt real and sometimes complicated. Needless to say, I do a lot of emotional unpacking and as a result, feel vulnerable when I view the Wisconsin Foodie episodes for the first time with you!

Watching myself on television isn’t easy. In fact, the first couple of seasons, I couldn’t bear to watch. It was too much! However, as I age into this job, I’m constantly reassured by the work of Executive Producer and Foodie creator Arthur Ircink that he only wants to show the best that we all have to offer and to let the stories tell themselves in the best possible light.

I think it’s been an important lesson for me to learn: how to surrender and trust the community around me.

As a chef, I work hard to control as much of the dining experience as humanly possible in the restaurant. Often, the food itself is just a piece of the overall dining experience that we are striving to create. Lighting, decor, music, temperature, beverage and sight lines – all of these factor into the psyche of a chef and restaurant owner.

Wisconsin Foodie is my medicine. It teaches me to let go and just be myself on camera, it teaches me to listen, and it pushes me to grow and ultimately share a part of this unique experience with all of you.

So, as the 2022 Wisconsin Foodie season approaches its Jan. 20 airdate, I humbly surrender myself to you. The editors, producers and all of the fine folks at Wisconsin Foodie and PBS Wisconsin have worked hard to bring you this slice of us. I can only hope it’s as delicious on your screens as it was making it.

Thank you for the opportunity to share these stories with you – it’s a dream come true.

Forever forward,

Luke Zahm
Wisconsin Foodie

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