September 22, 2021 – West Bend, WI – Corporate Executive Chef Duncan MacDonald has quietly slipped into West Bend, WI. Customers at Vino con Volo Bar + Italian Kitchen, 110 Wisconsin Street, have deliciously found him and are having a hard time keeping it a secret.
“I’ve been blessed to be all over the United States cooking and being able to make these phone calls to have Tyler from Tampa, or Ryan from Charleston, South Carolina, to have Darnell coming in from Buffalo, New York. These guys are all over the United States. They’ve worked under me; I’ve taken their kitchens and molded them as chefs. And they’re already like, Chef, I’d love to be up in Wisconsin doing what you’re doing whatever team you’re building, I want to be a part of it.”
Born in Glasgow, United Kingdom, MacDonald studied at the University of Strathclyde.
“I work as a chef. I work with numbers. This is what I do for a living.”
MacDonald speaks with an urgency, like he left a pie in the oven. But the hot topic at the table is food and he is engrossed in the conversation; sharing experiences, high standards and lessons on how food plays a part in every aspect of life.
“You don’t want to upset guests. You want everybody happy,” said MacDonald. “That’s what we strive to do as a chef is to make sure these people have a remarkable experience. They’re coming in spending their hard-earned money and they expect this is the caliber. So if I can surpass that caliber, and they have a wow factor, I’m happy as a chef.”
It was July 9 when MacDonald arrived in West Bend. “We moved everything. We’re here to stay,” he said.
MacDonald is the creative force behind a new menu at Vino Con Volo.
“You’re going to see a lot of good things including bringing in mussels,” he said. “We’re going to have braised lamb shank, fresh calamari cut in house and freshly fried.
“This is an Italian restaurant and we’re going to step it up. Let’s cook real time food. Let’s have some fun with real food.”
Some of the menu items include: grilled salmon over asparagus with a vinaigrette salad, Yummy Pesto Orzo with scallops seared in duck fat, finished in black summer truffle oil and lemon zest,
“I really want to push a business lunch so people know they can get in and out in 30 minutes and we are implementing brunch on the weekends.”
MacDonald is still tweaking and adding things to the brunch menu but the overall main overhaul was the main course dinner menu.
“I wanted to really get away from the Olive Garden. When people say Italian food and they mention Olive Garden it’s like fingers on a chalkboard,” he said.
“I want the menu to be structurally sound. I want real food cooked fresh from scratch every day. The sauces made from scratch every day. I want proper Roma tomatoes that are grilled and peeled in the ice and you do it right and you’re gonna taste that.”
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