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Top Chef, Architectural Digest, and the Culinary Renaissance at Taliesin

Elizabeth Maske June 13th, 2024

In a convergence of culinary creativity and architectural admiration, Taliesin finds itself in the spotlight. The recent appearance of Taliesin on Bravo’s Top Chef has sparked new interest in this iconic destination, drawing attention not only to its architectural grandeur but also to its culinary offerings. As viewers witnessed chefs translating Frank Lloyd Wright’s innovative designs into duality-inspired dishes, Taliesin appears not only as a destination for architecture, but of gastronomy, inviting visitors to experience the intersection of food and design.  

The Top Chef exposure has resulted in an increase in visitors to our website with a notable spike in tour bookings and online interactions highlighted by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin State Journal, and in a recent speech by Wisconsin’s Secretary of Tourism and Taliesin Preservation board member, Anne Sayers. 

Adding to Taliesin’s moment in the limelight is the exposure garnered by Riverview Terrace Cafe, the only remaining Wright-designed restaurant in the world. Architectural Digest and Madison’s WMTV15 recognized the building’s recent placement on the National Register of Historic Places, highlighting its significance as Wright’s intended “Gateway to Taliesin” and a cultural landmark that harmonizes history, architecture, and agriculture. For Taliesin Preservation’s Executive Director, Carrie Rodamaker, “The recognition not only honors Wright’s legacy but helps preservation and education efforts.” 

According to Rodamaker, “In building the restaurant, Wright intended to convene the local and greater community—forming a gathering place and a place of education…His apprentices were to grow the food on the Taliesin property and learn to cook and serve the guests—both local people and visitors from around the world—as part of their holistic education.” So, Riverview Terrace is a place that “represents the enduring effect of Wright’s organic architecture and the interconnected systems that promote the building’s harmony with the land.” 

Amidst this flurry of attention, Taliesin Preservation begins a new culinary journey with the relaunch of the Riverview Terrace Cafe and Field School. Led by chef Jena Blocher, the cafe features a seasonal menu that balances new and familiar flavors, while highlighting local producers. Guests can expect delightful surprises like house-made curry-dusted potato chips in addition to elevated comfort-food classics like cheeseburgers and grilled cheese.  

With its commitment to celebrating local flavors and regional resilience, Riverview Terrace Cafe embodies the essence of Taliesin’s ethos, offering patrons a taste of Wisconsin’s culinary heritage amidst breathtaking architectural surroundings. Whether you’re a seasoned Wright aficionado or a curious traveler, we invite you to take a tour of Taliesin — a place where architecture, history, and cuisine converge.