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 Aria Clark at Blackhawk Technical College:

Aria is a first year, second semester student enrolled in Blackhawk Technical College’s Culinary Arts program! From making favorite childhood recipes in the kitchen with her dad to working in local businesses like Genisa Wine Bar and Blue Collar Coffee Co., cooking and baking have always had a special place in her heart.

Read more about Aria’s past experiences and future plans, plus Blackhawk Tech’s involvement in the Janesville community.

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

Aria’s answer: Ever since I was little, my dad has always had me in the kitchen. I would always go over on the weekends, and he would have a set day that we would cook dinner. It would always be something really simple but it just grew from there. I always had my own little cookbooks, and they are one of my favorite things to look back on. I chose to go to Blackhawk Tech because I’ve mainly lived in Janesville for my entire life and it was the closest culinary school. Up until my junior or senior year in high school, I wanted to go to business school in Green Bay but then I decided to stay local. With what I want to do with my life, culinary is actually better because I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I’ve always hovered toward the culinary side so I tried it out and I am loving it so far.

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

Aria’s answer: I’ve gotten to do a lot of really fun things. I’ve shadowed at different restaurants, worked at Genisa Wine Bar for a night, and I’m going to start working at the Lake Geneva Country Club too. We also do lots of events like a luncheon for Black History Month, contemporary meals with the second years, and the recent Charlie Berens comedy show.

3. If you had to pick just one favorite moment during your education so far, what would it be?

Aria’s answer: Probably the Charlie Berens event! We got to hang out with the second year students as they showed us the ropes, plus interact with people from Janesville. I got asked so many questions and a lot of people didn’t realize Blackhawk had a culinary program so it’s really nice to get out in the community.

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

Aria’s answer: I started out really wanting to own my own coffee shop but I’ve also really loved baking ever since I was little. I even catered my mom’s friend’s wedding when I was in high school. Coming into Blackhawk I was planning to only be a baker, but this has shown me a new love for cooking and learning new skills so I could go really anywhere!

5. Do you have a favorite restaurant in Janesville?

Aria’s answer: Definitely Genisa Wine Bar! I’ve gone there so many times with my family. Everyone is so nice and the food is so fresh, and it’s just really, really good.

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

Aria’s answer: Any kind of sushi from Zen Sushi in Beloit. Sushi is my favorite food ever!

Step into the college’s industrial kitchens as Aria makes one of her favorite recipes: whole wheat pesto pasta!

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

Discover uniquely local restaurants

Find more information about Janesville, Wisconsin

Watch Top Chef episodes

Date Posted | May 21, 2024