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Museum Director Marcelle Giving a Press Preview

Christopher Hatleli Named Chef de Cuisine

Posted on March 7th, 2008

Milwaukee, WI, March 7, 2008—
The Milwaukee Art Museum is proud to announce that chef Christopher Hatleli has been named Chef de Cuisine for its renowned in-house restaurant, Café Calatrava. A Milwaukee native, Hatleli has worked alongside some of the country’s top chefs, including Mario Batali, Rocco Dispirito, Gordon Hamersley, Herbert Keller, Norman Van Aken, and Charlie Trotter.

Chef Hatleli has been a staple in Milwaukee’s dining scene since graduating from culinary school in 1994. Most recently, he was involved in the successful openings of The Social in Walker’s Point-named Best New Restaurant of 2001 by the Shepherd Express-Sol Fire on the lower East Side, and Coquette Café in the Third Ward.

Hatleli credits his ten years at Sanford, named one of the top fifteen restaurants in the United States by the restaurant guide Zagat Survey, for providing him with the necessary skills to undertake these opportunities. Among his other notable accomplishments, in 1992, Hatleli cooked alongside owner Sanford D’Amato for Julia Child’s 80th birthday party, and in the past two months, he has overseen a pair of banquet dinners in Atlanta for the Grammy award-winning recording artist Usher. The next major side project for this talented chef, whose culinary prowess has been featured in Esquire, Gourmet, Milwaukee Magazine, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is a book of healthy foods and snacks co-created with Allen Rossum of the San Francisco 49ers.

Inspired by the Museum’s current feature exhibition, Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945 (on view through May 4), Chef Hatleli has added a number of European-influenced delicacies to the menu at Café Calatrava. These include Strauss veal goulash served over cracked pepper and lemon spätzel; baby spinach and white wine potato salad with a warm bacon dressing and pickled red onion; and a delicious Hungarian hazelnut torte. As Chef de Cuisine, Hatleli is committed to preparing a variety of ever-changing selections for the menu, while continuing to provide the recognized favorites.

As the son of restaurant owners, Hatleli developed a love for the restaurant business at a young age. When he was 14, Hatleli and a friend started their own cooking show for teens on MATA Channel 14, in which they made simple dishes that kids could prepare themselves. At age 16, Hatleli was hired as a dishwasher at Sanford, and later worked his way into the kitchen. He attended culinary school at Milwaukee Area Technical College.  

Café Calatrava is open every day 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located inside the Museum’s Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, the café offers meals for visitors in its lakeside dining room, buffets and box lunches for tour groups, and full-service catering for on-site dinner parties and events. Café Calatrava also features a lakefront terrace for dining al fresco in the spring and summer. For more information on the menu or catering, call 414-224-3831 or visit http://www.mam.org/.