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October 15, 2013 | 01:54 PM
WALWORTH — Big Foot High School senior Tyler Vara has big goals for his life, but after this fall, those plans don’t include football.

The defensive end for the Chiefs said it’ll be hard to give up the game after this season.

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“The guys on the team are like brothers,” Vara said. “It’s hard to leave all that. It’ll be different without it in my life.”

After graduation, Vara plans to attend Western Technical College near LaCrosse to study culinary arts.

“Life goes on,” he said. “Hopefully, we end this year by going to State. It’ll be very hard to give up.”

Football, though, isn’t his passion. This year, he’s been helping in Candy Petersen’s food classes as a teaching assistant.

“My mom, Michelle, she really influenced me,” he said.

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“Ever since kindergarten, I knew I wanted to be a chef. When we started cooking simple meals (at home), it was something that I loved to do. Plus, I love food.”

Petersen’s food class hosted a burger cook-off Friday.

Students asked other teachers to taste test their burger creations.

Vara said the other players on the varsity team think his professional goals match his personality.

“They cheer me on,” he said. “I love to see people smile, and I do that with jokes. But I also do that with food.”

Vara, who was Homecoming King this fall, said he intends to start in the catering side of the food business after he finishes college. His cook-off burger featured jalapeno peppers and homemade barbecue sauce.

“I want to do catering and hope that does well,” he said. “After that, I want to purchase my own kitchen and work my way up to owning my own restaurant.”

Petersen said she’s impressed with Vara’s goals.

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“He knows what he wants to do after high school, and he’s going to get it,” Petersen said.

His future restaurant menu features comfort foods.

“A lot of pastas, burgers and pizza,” Vara said. “I’m not much of a baker, but maybe some cookies and pastries, too. Just general comfort food that everyone likes.”

He said he hopes to keep his restaurant in Wisconsin.

“I’d like to stay here,” Vara said. “If I have to leave Wisconsin, it’d be to Illinois.”

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And he hopes to continue making his favorite dish. — stromboli. Stromboli uses Italian bread dough to create a rolled sandwich with cheeses and meats that’s baked together.

“There’s a lot of time you have to put in to make it and difficult ingredients (to find).,” Vara said.

“There is a lot of time spent working with the dough to make it right.”

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