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Chef Spotlight
Kady Gibowski - Cafe at the Plaza

Photos by Matt Haas

May 2016

For as long as Kady Gibowski can remember, she wanted to be a chef. "Instead of watching cartoons, I was watching cooking shows on Channel 10," quips the Newburg native. After receiving a degree at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Minneapolis, Gibowski interned at The American Club in Kohler, then went on to work at the Lafayette Club on Lake Minnetonka and at the Ozaukee Country Club, where she worked her way up from pastry chef to executive sous chef. In 2014, she took over the kitchen at the Café at the Plaza, 1007 N. Cass St., where she’s overseen a complete kitchen renovation and added innovative dishes to the menu. In between planning for the spring menus, and the seasonal, evening small plates menu, which returns on Fridays and Saturdays starting in May, Gibowski sat down with M.

M: Tell us about your start.

KG: "My first job was at No No’s in Newburg, and I worked as a dishwasher, eventually becoming lead line cook. Apparently, the skills I learned there helped me because right before school started, I entered a cooking competition with 50 other students. I took third place, so all my school uniforms were paid for. Also, both of my parents are great cooks, and every family gathering has tons of amazing food. My dad makes the best lasagna, and my mom’s meatloaf is amazing."

M: Tell us about your style of cooking.

KG: "I like using simple, good ingredients. I love working with local vendors. We’re part of the Braise RSA (restaurant-supported agriculture), and we use Sugar Bee Farm mushrooms in Milwaukee. We took a staff field trip there to see how they grow mushrooms."

M: I know you’ve added some fun things to the menu — tell us about them.

KG: "The breakfast poutine is really delicious, and the pork and spaetzle is also quite popular."

M: Is there anything you’re working on that people will see on your menus soon?

KG: "I want to do a breakfast pierogi and serve it with a breakfast Polish sausage. We do our own chicken apple sausage here, and I could see doing a nice, breakfast dish. I also want to do a sweet, breakfast, amuse-bouche kind of dish. Perhaps an apple fritter with crème anglaise. In May, we start our small plates on the patio on Friday and Saturday nights, and we have live music and serve wine, beer and cocktails."

M: What inspires you as a chef?

KG: "My biggest source of inspiration is going out to different restaurants. I really like to support local businesses. I love LuLu Cafe. Their specials of the day are fun. I also love La Merenda. I love small plates, and you can eat 15 different cuisines in a meal. Morel (Restaurant) is also one of my favorite places. They are really seasonal, and they change their menu frequently."

M: What do you cook at home?

KG: "I make a lot of Mexican food. I make a lot of fresh guacamole and tacos with mole sauce. I like to entertain, and this year, I did a ‘friends-giving’ where everyone came and brought a dish."

M: What are the kitchen utensils you can’t live without?

KG: "I love my microplane, and I have a juicer, which I use a lot." m



This story ran in the April 2016 issue of: