Exploring the Culinary Culture of Madison, Wisconsin and Surrounding Area

Spotlight on Chef Rod Ladson of Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse

By on February 1, 2010 in Flavors of Madison with 0 Comments

Chef Rod Ladson and Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse are proud participants of this year’s Flavors of Madison, a gala culinary event to benefit the American Liver Foundation.

Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse is an atmospheric, traditional 1940’s style supper club located in Middleton at Greenway Station.  Specializing in a wide variety of steaks and chops, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse also delivers unique twists on their menu, offering Italian slants to their steaks, seafood and pasta dishes.

Chef Ladson started at Universal Studios in Florida.  He was one of the managers opening the Island Adventure.  He became a manager and instructor at cooking school that was started there.  He moved to Wisconsin to become a personal chef to the University of Wisconsin football team. 

Currently the Executive Chef at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, Chef Ladson also has two cooking segments each week on the local NBC 15 news station.  This is his second year participating in the American Liver Foundation’s Flavors of Madison event.  “The exciting part of the Flavors of Madison is that you get to be creative,” he said.  “You are showing people exactly what you are made of, and you are with all of the other top chefs in Madison, you always try to be very competitive.  I like being a part of it, with my peers, the other chefs”.

Chef Ladson is particularly excited about his Sunday Brunch, which he puts on with the participation of his Sous Chef Efren Martinez.  “We take a lot of pride in this.  We came up with this Sunday Brunch where we can do anything that we want.  It is our fun day, where we create new dishes.  We sit down and come up with new things to make.   A recipe that someone else makes is just a recipe.  What you add is what makes the difference.  We make everything from scratch, and we change it up every week.  You can come each week and have something different each time.”

This creative energy has paid off, as Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse has been voted as the best Brunch in Madison and Middleton.

Photography by SucculentPhotography.com


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