Meet the Chef: Adam Siegel of Bartolotta Restaurants

At D’Artagnan we proudly work with chefs across the country, providing them with quality ingredients to express their creativity in the kitchen. Today we introduce you to Chef Adam Siegel, the James Beard Award-winning Executive Chef of Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro in Milwaukee, WI, and Corporate Executive Chef for Bartolotta Restaurants.  Read on to learn more about this chef and the Bartolotta family of restaurants. 

Since 1993, brothers Joe and Paul Bartolotta have elevated dining in the Milwaukee area, beginning with their first restaurant that focused on Northern Italian cuisine. Ristorante Bartolotta dal 1993 in Wauwatosa, has consistently been named the best Italian restaurant in the Milwaukee area ever since, and Thrillist recognized it as One of The 25 Best Italian Restaurants in America.

Today they oversee 12 different restaurants, 4 catering facilities and employ nearly 1000 people. They are known as much for their big hearts and community support as for serving fine Italian and French food.

Chef Adam Siegel 

Chef Adam joined the Bartolotta group in 2000 as executive sous chef at Lake Park Bistro, which is located in a historic pavilion overlooking Lake Michigan. Over the years, he has taken on a number of roles at the restaurant, including chef de cuisine and executive chef. In 2010 Chef Adam became a managing partner and executive chef for the Bartolotta group’s entire portfolio of restaurants.

The dining room at Lake Park Bistro.

Chef Adam began cooking at the age of 14 in his stepfather’s restaurant and attended The Culinary School of Kendall College in Chicago. His formative training was at Spiaggia under his mentor and James Beard award-winning Chef Paul Bartolotta. He worked throughout the U.S. with three James Beard Award-winning chefs on both coasts and in some very prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy and France.

Nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Midwest in 2007, Adam ultimately won the prestigious award in 2008.

Chef, what was the first kitchen job you held?

Michael’s Chicago Style Red Hots in Highland Park, Illinois.

Has any crazy stuff happened during your time in the kitchen? What takes the gold medal?

In this industry, you are surrounded by crazy stuff all the time and I’ve seen many crazy situations. Probably when Robin Williams came into the kitchen in San Francisco, I was a cook, he ate at our restaurant all the time. He was friends with our chef. One time that he came back he put on about a 30 minute routine for all of us … pretending to be like our chef (yelling and starting to cook stuff), it was hilarious. It just went on and on and on. He was messing with all of us in the kitchen and we were dying laughing so hard.

Favorite music to work to in the kitchen?

Classical or jazz. But typically I like a fairly quiet kitchen. Often times the music becomes a distraction.

What’s your favorite post-shift snack?

Depends on time of year, time of day and mood. I always love good cheese, But I am also a sucker for leftover at my house. My wife is an amazing cook so usually, I luck out with some great pasta dishes or roast chicken, etc.

Favorite meal to cook at home?

Eggs cooked at home are always a favorite. Any time of the day. But I do love to cook for friends and family, usually roast chicken or a large roast, I love to make paella at home. I just cooked lamb racks the other night.

What is your favorite D’Artagnan product?

Where to begin! Probably duck, I love the Moulard duck legs. We use them at Lake Park Bistro for the duck confit dish. It’s been a Bistro staple. We have also used D’Artagnan’s mushrooms and foie gras.

D’Artagnan duck as served at Lake Park Bistro.

Name one ingredient you can’t live without … or one you’d be glad to never work with again.

I love piment d’espelette, one of my favorite ingredients for seasoning. I always have it at home with eggs or cheese. There isn’t too much I don’t like, I am highly allergic to blue cheese so that is my least favorite ingredient.

Weirdest or most interesting ingredient you’ve ever cooked with?

Frogs legs. Having the whole frogs come in was like being back in 8th-grade science lab and dissecting. Gross.

Best meal of your life so far?

I’ve had many best meals, from food to service experience to just plain old situations. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with my kids are probably the best meals ever. Best restaurant meal? Possibly L’Ambasciata in Italy, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in NY, Le Comptoir in Paris …

D’Artagnan foie gras at Lake Park Bistro.

If you could share a meal with anyone, who would it be? What would you eat?

I would love to have just one more meal with my grandmother, I used to love to sit and talk with her when I was a teenager and in my early 20s. I would often visit her or drive her places. We would sometimes go to a deli near her condo and get lunch. Typically corned beef on rye with mustard and matzo ball soup!

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

I have no idea … this is all I know.

Thanks, Chef Adam for talking with us!

Hungry for more? Head to the Bartolotta group website or find them on Instagram and Facebook. Learn about Chef Adam’s Lake Park Bistro

Since 1985, D’Artagnan has been at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, producing superior tasting products by partnering with small ranches and farms. We are committed to free-range, natural production, sustainable and humane farming practices and no use of antibiotics or hormones. That’s why D’Artagnan products have been revered by America’s most renowned chefs for over 30 years. We offer the same high-quality products to home cooks at, along with recipes and guides to help you live the tasty life.

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