Rod Ladson

Well-known and beloved local chef Rod Ladson died today of an apparent heart attack, friends confirmed. He was 50.

Ladson had previously worked as executive chef at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse in Middleton and most recently as the chef at Bonefish Grill on Madison’s west side. He was also a culinary and restaurant consultant, assisting in restaurant startups around Dane County. He also had two cooking segments on WMTV.

Ladson was also strongly connected with the community, helping One City Early Learning develop a healthy menu for students, worked with the Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association to improve health outcomes for black men and headlined last year’s Men Who Cook scholarship fundraiser.

Ladson also produced a cookbook, titled It’s What You Add, sponsored by 100 Black Men of Madison.

Ladson is survived by his wife Lisa and daughter Nichela. A funeral service is scheduled for Tuesday, July 17 at Mt. Zion Baptist Church and a community memorial and celebration of life will take place Saturday, July 21 from 5 to 10 pm at Marshall Park, 2101 Allen Blvd, Middleton.