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Culinary Legacy Delivers Contemporary Menu

April 7, 2021

Ethan Learned is a second-generation BTC culinary student who was the featured Chef of the Week on April 1, 2021. In attendance was Joe, the Head Chef at Legend of Bergamont, a restaurant connected to a country club in Oregon, Wisconsin, a man that Ethan happens to call dad. 

Each semester, culinary students are required to prepare and present a contemporary meal. This meal is their capstone project for the entire culinary program. Throughout their time, students take classes on soups and salads, entrees, bread, ordering and purchasing, menu design, and running a kitchen. Presenting their contemporary meal allows students to put all of their skills together. Along with planning the menu, featured chefs must guide their classmates in preparing different elements to the chef’s exacting standards, plate each course correctly, and provide quality service to guests. Seven students are rotating through the process of being the featured Chef of the Week this year as they close out their learning at BTC.

Ethan at center with his chef uniform, surrounded by his family

Ethan’s meal this year centered on the duck breast. “I have been working on getting a very colorful and flavorful meal,” he explained, “and taking something like a duck breast, which is kind of a hit or miss protein with people, and make it so even if you don’t like duck that you would be able to enjoy the meal I’ve produced.” Along with duck in both the appetizer and the entrée, Ethan included a roasted beet salad with baby arugula and goat cheese, and a sweet pea puree soup finished with parmesan and lemon oil. 

Dad Joe, a 2003 graduate of the Blackhawk culinary program himself, has been pleased with his son’s work over his time in the culinary program. “Ethan has a strong competitive drive,” Joe said proudly, “so it’s been fun to see him grow and use that to get a start in this industry. He’s been working with me for three years now, and he’s growing into a good leader, as well as a patient mentor for newer staff coming in. As a parent, it’s great to see the growth each day. “

Ethan’s work has been a great accent to his education, which has helped him develop more technical cooking skills and become a chef. He also praises the BTC culinary program for helping him grow into a true professional. He’s well on his way to having a career and not just a job. After BTC, he’s got his eyes on eventually taking over dad’s job and becoming the Head Chef at Legend of Bergamont. He’d also like to travel. Many chefs make plans to travel so they can experience the native cuisine of different cultures around the world. 

“If you are looking for an affordable, flexible, and overall great atmosphere to continue your education,” Ethan exclaimed, “I would recommend BTC most definitely! But also don’t take your work opportunities for granted either.”

As someone who’s been working in the industry since graduating from BTC, Joe’s recommendation to culinary students is to “Work in the industry. The Culinary Program is a great place to get started, but you really need that work experience to grow into a chef.”

While the current COVID restrictions limited the number of attendees who could partake in Ethan’s meal, he was able to share this experience with his parents, his grandparents, and his partner, Felicity, who is expecting their first child any day now. Who knows, perhaps she’s carrying a 2038 graduate of the culinary program who will continue dad and grandpa’s legacy of delivering fantastic food. 

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