With the currently airing season of Bravo’s Top Chef being set and filmed in Wisconsin, our state’s culinary scene is attracting worldwide attention on a whole new level. Featuring renowned restaurants to iconic Wisconsin products like cheese, cherries, and beer – this season is all about celebrating Wisconsin’s unique flavor.

Join us as we highlight some of Janesville’s own culinary stars and how their one-of-a-kind experiences, unique style, and love for cooking are being infused into each and every dish.

Meet Lillian McMahon at Blackhawk Technical College:

Lillian is diving into her first year as a student in Blackhawk Technical College’s Culinary Arts program, all while balancing high school life too. Currently a junior in high school, she will soon have an Associate’s Degree in the next few semesters to help her reach her goals in the culinary world. Lillian’s passion for cooking and commitment to excellence are already shining through, setting her on a very exciting career path.

Let’s chat with Lillian about her inspiration to start this professional chapter before graduating high school, skills she’s learned in the program so far, and more.

1. What inspired you to pursue a career in the culinary arts and why did you choose Blackhawk Tech in Janesville?

Lillian’s answer: I’ve always had a passion for cooking ever since I was young. I love cooking to create new things and try new recipes. Blackhawk Tech had very high reviews and was extremely close to my area. The instructors are so willing to help anyone in the place they are.

2. How has your experience at Blackhawk Tech prepared you so far for your future career?

Lillian’s answer: I’m currently in high school and I’m 16 years old. This is my first year, and I was extremely nervous because everyone in the program is older than me but the instructors have been extremely patient and have helped with things like problem solving and time management skills. That’s helped a lot for what I plan to do after culinary school.

3. Does your education connect back to the Janesville community in any way?

Lillian’s answer: The culinary program at Blackhawk is very big on giving back to the community. We do many events that tie back to the community so they can see what we’re doing and learning here at school.

4. Looking forward, what are your aspirations and goals within the culinary field?

Lillian’s answer: I would love to help people who might not have the experience or tools to try new foods because it’s truly an experience to be able to cook. It’s such a rewarding career so I’d love to be able to help people do the same.

5. Do you have a favorite restaurant in Janesville?

Lillian’s answer: My family and I love going to Lark in downtown Janesville. Their food and the community there is so nice. I’ve always gotten to try something new on their menu, and it’s always so good.

6. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Lillian’s answer: I love sushi, and you can tie different cultures into sushi too so I could definitely eat that everyday for the rest of my life.

Step into the college’s industrial kitchens as Lillian makes one of her favorite recipes: Birria Tacos!

More about Blackhawk Technical College’s Culinary Arts Program:

In this program, students learn the principles of food preparation, quantity production, equipment layout, and operation management skills, as well as delving into food science and artistry and the business skills needed for a variety of career paths. Students also learn the art of catering, ice sculpting, and food presentation.

Program graduates have gone on to intern at world-class facilities in Chicago, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Miami, and New York, open their own restaurants or catering business, and work as executive chefs, sous chefs, hospital chefs, country club managers, restaurant managers, and more.

Program start dates include May, August, or January with the option to take classes in a full- or part-time capacity. And, to make the schedule even more flexible, many of the general education courses are available online or blended.

More about the Culinary Arts program

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Find more information about Janesville, Wisconsin

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Date Posted | May 07, 2024