Madison College resumes the Chef Series

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PROVIDED TO THE CLARION BY TESSA MORHARDT

Carolina Diaz, chef at Terzo Piano in Chicago, creating a dish at the Chef series event.

Hailey Griffin , Arts Editor

The Chef Series, presented by The Vollrath Company, hosted by Kyle Cherek, and held at Madison College, features multiple different chefs from across the nation. Through the series, viewers hear chefs share their stories and get an up-close look at how they prepare their meals.

Last March, after dealing with the onset of a global pandemic, Madison College had to put a momentary halt on the Chef Series.

Now, after about a year, the Chef Series team is ready to pick up where they left off. Associate Vice President for Strategic Partnership and Innovation Bryan Woodhouse is one of the many people who have been a part of getting the Chef Series up and running again.

The plan to get things started again began back in the fall. The Vollrath Company, Cherek and Madison College met to discuss how they’d be able to proceed with things amid the ongoing health crisis.

At the time, the team decided that it’d be best to hold off on resuming things awhile longer. However, recent changes in regard to the pandemic have prompted them to change their minds.

“Now that things do seem to be improving and now that vaccines are being administered, we figured it’s time to get ahead and start rolling on it again,” said Woodhouse.

Nonetheless, they’ve still had to take the necessary safety precautions. Woodhouse relays that the production setup, the travel precautions and the sanitary and screening precautions that have been implemented in the demonstration kitchen have added “a fair amount of work for everybody.”

However, in that same vein, the team hasn’t had to put in as much work when it comes to things like preparing a large amount of food for a live audience or setting up the reception area.

It is not just the Chef Series team that has had to adapt to the new norm spurred by the pandemic. The chefs being hosted have also had to adapt.

While chefs have not been able to interact and talk with a whole room full of students as they once would have been able to, “they understand and have been very accommodating,” said Woodhouse.

As someone who has been a part of making the Chef Series happen, the best thing about the whole experience to Woodhouse has been the commitment that he’s seen from every party involved.

“It would have been easy for us to say, ‘Ah, that was fun for a while, but we can’t really do it,’ and kind of just shut it down. That would have been an easy thing to do. But we didn’t do that, and we committed to keeping it going.”

In order to continue to keep the series going, the crew will have to continue to be wary of ongoing health precautions.

This means that the Chef Series will not be catering to a live audience, at least for now; instead, they’ll be filming videos, editing them and uploading them on the Madison College Entrepreneurship Center’s YouTube channel.

Additionally, “everyone that signed up for the series last year to attend is having that distributed to them,” said Woodhouse. People can email the Entrepreneurship Center using the link https://madisoncollege.edu/center-for-entrepreneurship if they wish to be put on the distribution list.

The center started reissuing clips of last year’s Chef Series on their YouTube account last week, and they plan to post their most recently filmed clips starting May 27. To visit their YouTube channel, follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEu80lnlFYBFpXCAl5k9hsQ.

Come May 27, viewers can expect to see chefs like Caitlin Cullen, owner of the Tandem in Milwaukee; Diane Moua, pastry chef at Soigne Hospitality in Minneapolis; Carolina Diaz, chef at Terzo Piano in Chicago; Gavin Kaysen, owner and chef at Soigne Hospitality; Erling Wu-Bower, executive chef and co-owner at The Laurel Room and Pacific Standard Time in Chicago.