Jyll Everman, co-owner and head chef of Gather, discussed the complexity and creativity that comes with setting up the frequently rotating menu at Gather.
Everman’s creations set up the atmosphere for the evening, filling the patrons up to enjoy the live music on a full belly, but this ever-changing menu of eclectic bites and entrees takes more planning and playing with food than one might have thought!
The planning and coordination around the rotating menu starts in March, stemming off of the Fall and Winter tastings Everman experienced for inspiration.
“Because Wisconsin is very predictable in their farming, we know what’s seasonal,” Jyll explained. “You'll see the first couple of menus don't have much going on other than asparagus and green onions, we have to get more creative because there's nothing else really in season. So we start planning about three months out, and we're usually about a month ahead before we release the new one. This is so that we have time for recipe development, practice to perfect the recipe, and letting the rest of our managerial staff try them so that I can work off of their comments and critiques.”
As the summer picks up, more produce becomes available to work with, and Chef Everman is able to play around with different ideas from locally sourced farms.
“I love the creative process of all of it, I crave it, I am a creative by nature. I would change the menu every week if I could, there's just not enough time. It's just my turn to play and have fun. It's my favorite thing to do,” Jyll smiled. “Adam’s Heirlooms has produce that I've never seen before that they'll throw at me and I’m always dying to incorporate it into a dish and play! And you can't be in Wisconsin if you don't try the Sunny Hill corn. You're not living if you're not eating Sunny Hill Corn, so that will get incorporated into August’s menu once corn is in season.”
What makes this year’s Farmer’s Market so much more exciting to Everman than the previous years is that she has finally taken a step back from managing the kitchen, and is now enjoying her time playing in the kitchen.
“The Farmer’s Market menu this year is my turn to play. We’ve appointed our sous chef, Maddy Meyer, as our new catering manager, which she is just knocking out of the park, but it just gives me more time to now do exactly what I’ve wanted in the kitchen.” Everman said. “When it comes to how I cook, I love bold flavors. I love taking foods people recognize, and pushing the limits a little bit. I feel like at this point, our customer base knows when they come in it's going to be something they're not going to find everywhere, to me that's really important. They see that we care and that our creative juices are constantly flowing.”
Creative and bold are definitely accurate when it comes to describing Chef Jyll Everman’s creations. Gather has quickly become known for the unique Mashed Potato Tacos that will remain on the signature menu, and the Shrimp PoBoy Tacos on the rotating menu.
“People love those Mashed Potato Tacos, they're something you can't find around here! It's portable comfort food in the most delicious way.” she giggled. “The Shrimp PoBoy Tacos were a dish that I did on Food Network 11 years ago – they're a Bobby Flay approved recipe. People love these freakin shrimp tacos, they are so on demand. By far they will sell the most out of everything else that will be on that menu, just like they did two weeks ago. They always do.”
Though the menu rotates frequently, patrons and visitors can always be sure to find two entrees and a collection of appetizers and shareables, as well as three signature items that are not affected by the menu rotation.
“80% of the menu will always be share plates, with one or two entrees. Some people come in and they just don't want to share, they want maybe a deliciously beautiful Panini and they want it to themselves,” Everman explained, “but you'll always find the Mashed Potato Tacos and the Gather Fries, as well as a dip of some sort. The Shrimp PoBoy Tacos have been a huge seller for the last six years, so we always have to rotate those in. You'll often see a good combination of brand new things we're excited to introduce, as well as some classics that you've had before as we change the menu every three weeks.”
If you missed out on Chef Jyll Everman’s creations this summer during the Farmer’s Market, watch for Gather’s Taste events, where Everman is able to continue her creative concoctions for the extravagant, upscale meal and beverage pairings.
Below you can find the vendors Chef Jyll Everman prefers:
A video recap of Gather's Taste Seafood Dinner that happened last Wednesday & Thursday night. Be on the lookout for the next round happening this spring, and be sure to sign up for our mailing list to get notified as soon as the event goes live!
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