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June 26th, 2019
Joe Muench is best known for his culinary career as a leading chef in Southeast Wisconsin for the past 25 years. A graduate of the MATC Culinary Arts program, Joe worked his way from short order cook to Chef and Owner of Black Shoe Hospitality (BSH) with partner Dan Sidner. BSH is comprised of Maxie’s, Blue’s Egg and Story Hill BKC, all of which are a large part of the Wauwatosa and Milwaukee communities. Joe has kindly lent the culinary expertise of BSH and himself as the organizing Chef for RMHC Eastern Wisconsin’s Chefs’ Dinner for the last 8 years.
Joe’s connection and compassion for RMHC grew when Joe had the opportunity to visit the House: “There was an opportunity through the church I was attending at the time to go out into the community and do mission work. Volunteering for RMHC was presented, specifically to help deep clean one of the kitchens. During the visit, this little boy walked in with his grandma. He was about three or four years old and totally content and loving life. After talking with his grandma, I found out he had been staying at RMHC for 18 months. After that I thought ‘Wow, I can’t just walk away from that experience and then not get involved.’”
Since then, Joe has remained true to his statement and volunteers once a month as a Van Driver, transporting guests to and from the hospital and the grocery store. Aside from his commitment to Chefs’ Dinner, Joe loves being a Van Driver because it allows him to see how the House has a direct impact on guest families. Joe relays it is also a time “where I can turn everything off and walk away from it.” When he’s at RMHC, Joe ditches the title of “Chef” and is simply known to families as the Van Driver. “It’s nice to get involved and, for once a month, be someone I’m not.”
Joe feels so connected to RMHC and its mission because of one word: hospitality. To Joe, “RMHC is this neighborhood, this community woven into our own community, and the service that the volunteers and staff provide to the people that are in need emulates a lot of what we do at our restaurants. It’s really just about creating a community.”
Joe is quite excited for our 35th year and wishes for 35 more! He has loved seeing how the House has changed and is ready to get Black Shoe Hospitality more involved. Whether through a fried chicken family meal or a Concrete Kettle. Joe is looking forward to feeding the RMHC and neighboring communities, fostering relationships and most importantly, building awareness for the House to help us keep families together.
We appreciate everything Joe and Black Shoe Hospitality do for RMHC and will be sure to savor their support for many years to come!