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Friday, May 24, 2024
Forage Kitchen emphasizes healthy ingredients. 

Forage Kitchen emphasizes healthy ingredients. 

Forage Kitchen blends food, health and style

This fall, co-owners Doug Hamaker and Henry Aschauer, along with chef Katie Brozen opened Forage Kitchen — a restaurant where delicious and healthy food meets convenience.

Hamaker and Aschauer both graduated UW-Madison in 2010, but the idea for Forage Kitchen was dreamt up long before then.

Forage Kitchen was conceptualized while the two were still attending school and noticed a lack of, as Hamaker puts it, “homegrown or healthy restaurants to eat at.” Thus, Forage Kitchen was born.

“[People] don’t have to stress about eating healthy, because everything in the restaurant is healthy,” Hamaker said.

The duo wanted to create a setting that had a sophisticated vibe comparable to a sit-down restaurant in New York City or Chicago. Fortunately, they were able to do so with their talented chef, Katie Brozen, who trained and worked in Brooklyn.

While the menu mainly consists of diverse salad options, Forage is more than a typical salad bar. Hamaker and Aschauer envisioned a multi-dimensional kitchen that was able to create all kinds of healthy options for the public.

One idea they are currently working on is hot plates inspired by traditional comfort food, but with greater nutritional value.

To create more innovative salads, the team is working to create themed salads where the ingredients highlight each other and create a delectable, unique and inspired salad. The “Big Fattoush” is currently Hamaker’s favorite, and to change up this Mediterranean favorite, he likes to add quinoa.

Growing up, Hamaker described his father as a “gourmand” who had a passion for cooking fine food. While he didn’t appreciate it as much when he was younger, he happily admits to his father’s influence in his work today. “Having experiences like that with your dad [puts that] into your soul,” Hamaker said.

At the start, the biggest challenge the young co-owners faced was trying to create a restaurant with 100% organic ingredients. The initial feedback for the restaurant was that the food was delicious but slightly unaffordable.

Fortunately, they were able to still bring mostly local and organic food to State Street at a reasonable price.

Forage Kitchen successfully and thoughtfully sources from local Wisconsin farms, such as cage-free eggs from “JR’s Country Acres” located in Lake Mills, Wis. Hamaker, Aschauer, chef Brozen and the staff at Forage Kitchen understand the benefits of supporting local economies and creating a healthier and more educated society in regards to food.

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When asked about advice for any young entrepreneurs in the food industry, Hamaker decided that the most important advice he could give was to realize that even though you’re opening your own business, you have to commit to the business day in and day out.

He also stressed the importance of “doing your homework” and knowing the monetary logistics, as well as having a good support system.

Ultimately, what makes Forage Kitchen successful is Hamaker and Aschauer’s passion for creating healthy yet delicious food and commitment to their ideals.

The team commits to trying new things until they are perfected, and makes sure that every customer leaves completely satisfied.

Although they are co-owners, Hamaker and Aschauer are frequently seen working on the line with their staff to create the unique and fresh food that they care so deeply about.

With this continuous pursuit, it seems almost impossible to come into Forage Kitchen and not feel at home surrounded by kind, passionate people who will hand-craft you a delicious one of a kind meal.

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