Josh Stanley is bringing new ideas to the Waupaca Ale House.
Since becoming the restaurant’s executive chef last November, a number of new items have been added to the menu.
“We wanted to step it up a notch. We wanted quality. We wanted new cuisine and someone with the talents to bring it here,” said Justin Leick, general manager of the Waupaca Ale House.
Stanley was one of six different chefs interviewed for the position.
“Schooling is a big thing with Josh and his experience,” Leick said.
Stanley’s degree in culinary arts is from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas.
He has 19 years of restaurant and culinary arts experience.
“I started working in restaurants when I was 15,” Stanley said.
He grew up in Tomah and chose to study at Le Cordon Bleu because it is “one of the higher culinary schools,” he said.
The school in Las Vegas was a newer school when he studied there, with state-of-the art equipment.
After graduating from the school in 2005, Stanley worked at a variety of restaurants.
Among them was Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse, inside the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“Most of my experience is from there,” Stanley said. “It was voted top 10 steakhouse in the country several years.”
About five years ago, Stanley returned to Wisconsin.
Before joining the staff of Waupaca Ale House, he worked at Chula Vista Resort in the Wisconsin Dells and at Northern Bay Golf Resort in Arkdale.
While the Waupaca Ale House is keeping its sports bar theme and favorite menu items, Leick said Stanley is putting a new twist on many of them.
They now hand patty the burgers, use fresher ingredients and offer different steaks from different companies.
“The things we kept, Josh put a different twist on with maybe a new sauce,” Leick said. “We tweaked the salad menu.”
The Stuffed Mushroom Adventure on the appetizer menu is paired with new sauces, and the Whiseky Grilled Wings on the same menu is grilled in a special sauce.
New on the sandwich portion of the menu is the Juicy Lucy, a handmade burger patty with slices of cheddar cheese in the center and topped with Swiss cheese.
Stanley said the burger originates in the Twin Cities.
“I thought it’d be nice to put it on the menu,” he said.
The Ale House’s fish fry menu also includes new items – the Central Waters Mud Puppy Porter Fish Fry and Cajun Baked Haddock.
“The entrees have all pretty much been changed,” Leick said.
He said their tenderloin, chicken breast and duck breast are all top notch, with new sauces.
The big change with the pizza, Leick said, is the Ale House is doing its own dough.
He said the feedback on the changes has been great.
“We’re excited for Josh to be here,” Leick said.
Stanley sees cooking as being an adventure.
“I’ve always been passionate about cooking,” he said. “I like to be creative.”