Meet the Wisconsin Chef with Multiple TV Competition Shows Under His Belt

Credit: Chef Adam Pawlak

By Christina Lorey

May 17, 2023

You might recognize him from season 19 of Hell’s Kitchen. Or maybe you’ve seen him at his restaurant inside Milwaukee’s Crossroads Collective. Simply put: Chef Adam Pawlak is a man worth knowing.

Pawlak learned he was selected as a contestant on Season 19 of “Hell’s Kitchen” weeks before his first restaurant was set to open. 

And since the reality show hinges on secrecy, he could only tell a handful of his partners, investors, and newly hired employees he’d be taking a month-long hiatus.

Although he didn’t win the Fox show, he was a fan favorite. 

Called one of the sanest contestants in the competition, Pawlak finished in the middle of the pack: ninth out of 18. And he ended up having to keep that secret much longer than expected! The season was shot in 2019, but didn’t air until January 2021.

Pawlak’s the brains (and hands) behind one of Milwaukee’s most innovative restaurants. 

His Egg & Flour Pasta Barrelies on its two namesake ingredients for all of its dishes. All ingredients are sourced locally and served inside Milwaukee’s first-ever food hall, Crossroads Collective.

His second stint on TV was an even bigger success. 

Earlier this year, Pawlak squared off against his former Hell’s Kitchen teammate Declan Hogan in an episode of Food Network’s “Superchef Grudge Match.” Not only did he win $10,000, but as a prize, he got to keep his opponent’s knife.

He’s been a frequent face at Wisconsin charity dinners since 2017. 

Pawlak uses his talents to do a lot of good, too. Last year, for example, he collaborated with six other Milwaukee-area chefs to prepare a seven-course meal with the proceeds from the event going to seven different charities. 

Credit Chef Adam Pawlak


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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