Penn College’s exciting two- and four-year majors were on display throughout the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg (Jan. 10-17), where representatives of the Admissions Office and the college’s six academic schools entertained, educated – and even fed – the throng attending the traditional agricultural expo.
News: Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts
Penn College Makes Friends, Memories at State Farm Show
The Spring 2015 edition of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Visiting Chef Series will feature Brian McClure, beverage director for The Greenbrier, widely regarded as one of the world’s finest luxury resorts.
Penn College’s Visiting Chef Series provides students pursuing associate and bachelor’s degrees in baking and pastry arts, culinary arts and hospitality management with an opportunity to work alongside renowned hospitality-industry professionals. As a culmination to the visit, the students produce a grand meal that raises money for scholarship funds. The Spring 2015 Visiting Chef Dinner will be held Feb. 27.
During the event, McClure will share his knowledge of wine with diners as they experience the elegant five-course meal prepared by students and faculty. While on campus, he will also speak to students in the Hospitality and Beverage Management Service and Controls course.
And then there were three. Chef Charles R. Niedermyer II, an instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts at Penn College, will compete in Providence, Rhode Island, in March for a spot on the American team at the 2016 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie. The School of Business & Hospitality faculty member learned this weekend that he made the cut on the basis of a recent competition among seven bakers in North Carolina. The two-day, nine-hour final round to decide who will compete on Team USA in the Viennoiserie (breakfast pastry) category will be held March 5-7 at Johnson & Wales University. Watch PCToday after the holiday break for more on Team USA’s final round, which will help shape the three-person team that will represent America during the 2016 competition in France.
A member of the baking and pastry arts faculty at Pennsylvania College of Technology will compete this month to become a member of the team that will represent the United States at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie – sometimes called the World Cup of Baking – in France in 2016.
“Everybody tells me it’s an enormous amount of work and energy,” said Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, of State College, an instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts. “But on the other side, you become so much better at your craft.”
Team USA is sponsored by the Bread Bakers Guild of America, for which Niedermyer has served as a volunteer for several years. Nine countries will be accepted to compete at the Coupe du Monde, held every four years. Team USA has an automatic bid to the competition based on its silver medal at the 2012 event.
The Centennial Legacy Celebration, recognizing the donors who help further Penn College’s mission – and showcasing the talented students in the School of Business & Hospitality – was held Saturday evening in the Hager Lifelong Education Center. Invited guests enjoyed dinner in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, bookended by appetizers and a Grand Pastry Buffet in the Keystone Dining Room. The phenomenal success of the Centennial-related Penn College Scholarship Campaign was noted by President Davie Jane Gilmour, who said more than $6.1 million has already been pledged … and more gifts are expected before a final total is announced in mid-January. “This additional scholarship support will help the college pursue its vision of being a national leader in applied technology education,” she told donors, “and it was only made possible thanks to your generous support and commitment to Penn College. The impact of your generosity is already being felt by students, as the (Penn College) Foundation has awarded more than $600,000 in scholarships this academic year – a 150-percent increase from the start of the campaign!” Support came from many members of the college community, who donated to an existing scholarship or established one of the 71 new funds added over the past three and a half years. The broad-based demonstration of support involved 653 alumni, 439 employees and retirees, 598 friends of the college and 197 industry partners.
The School of Business & Hospitality hosted 300 high school students on campus Friday for “Hospitality Day.” The students attended a demonstration by Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts, in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium, toured hospitality facilities, a residence hall and other parts of campus, and visited the Thompson Professional Development Center, where Penn College students and faculty provided demonstrations and samples.
In the World Seafood Championship, Pennsylvania College of Technology student Jessica N. Felton finished 14th among 45 competitors, just four spots from advancing to the Top 10 Round.
The World Seafood Championship was one of nine categories comprising 550 competitors in the World Food Championships, held in Las Vegas from Nov. 12-18. The champion of each of the nine categories faced off at the Final Table to determine the World Food Champion, who went home with $100,000.
Felton, of State College, is pursuing a degree in culinary arts and systems at Penn College. The college was presented with a “Golden Ticket” to the World Food Championships by Chef Ben Vaughn, host of a television show based on the championships, when he visited the college to share his knowledge with School of Business & Hospitality students. Felton was chosen to receive the Golden Ticket by winning a faculty-judged cook-off among other Penn College students.
Gold Medalist Shares Ice-Carving Mastery With Students
Chef Robert Lo Furno, a competitive ice carver, food service director for Aramark at the University of Delaware, and father of baking and pastry arts student Nicole C. Lo Furno, visited Pennsylvania College of Technology, where he and his wife, Monica – also an accomplished ice carver – spent Thursday in the courtyard outside the Keystone Dining Room working alongside School of Business & Hospitality students to share the tricks of the trade. Working well after dark, students in Chef Craig A. Cian’s Artistic Buffet Decoration course used the Lo Furnos’ specialty tools and lessons in technique to produce six ice sculptures that remain on display outside the dining hall’s atrium.
The Advanced Patisserie Operations course completed its Trade Show activity Wednesday. As part of the course, the students develop a product line or business concept and put their marketing lessons to work by creating and staffing a display that includes product packaging, menus or price lists, business cards and other marketing materials, as well as samples. Their innovations included gluten-free cookies, pretzel-bread croissants, and bialy rolls topped with onions and poppy seeds.
Chef Mary G. Trometter, assistant professor of hospitality management and culinary arts, assisted by Daniel A. Horst, a culinary arts and systems student from Harrisonburg, Virginia, appeared on WBRE-TV’s “PA live! Thursday afternoon. In segments with co-hosts Dave Kuharchik and Jasmine Brooks, they prepared Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.
Culinary arts and systems student Jessica N. Felton left Williamsport Regional Airport at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday to compete in the World Food Championships in Las Vegas. Felton earned a Golden Ticket to the event (presented to the college by championships host Chef Ben Vaughn) via a faculty-judged cooking contest against five other students. She will compete in the opening round of the World Seafood Championship on Friday against up to 50 other competitors, who have qualified by winning such prestigious contests as the Great American Seafood Cookoff. The opening round’s top scorers will move on to the World Seafood Championship Top Ten Round on Sunday, with the first-place winner competing for $100,000 against the winners of eight other World Food Championships categories on Tuesday, Nov. 18.
Pennsylvania College of Technology student Jessica N. Felton is packing her bags for the World Food Championships in downtown Las Vegas, where she will join hundreds of competitors in a six-day “ultimate food fight” that culminates with a $100,000 prize.
Felton, a State College resident in the college’s culinary arts and systems major, won the opportunity to compete at the championships after Chef Ben Vaughn, who hosts a television series based on the championships, visited Penn College in September and offered a Golden Ticket to the competition to one student.
Six Penn College students competed against one another in a faculty-judged cook-off to determine who would make the trip. Felton prevailed with her shrimp and grits dish.
The dish, inspired by her love of Southern cuisine and, particularly, the “low country” foods of South Carolina, consists of a base of creamy stone-ground grits with a roasted-tomato bacon gravy, butter-poached shrimp, pickled red onion and sweet pepper.
Students in the School of Business & Hospitality’s Catering course were busy behind the scenes at Penn State’s annual All-University Day football game on Saturday as the Nittany Lions faced the Maryland Terrapins. The class gained valuable experience and industry exposure as they assisted Chef Ken Stout and the rest of the catering crew from The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel to help prepare and serve food for the skyboxes in Beaver Stadium, the second-largest stadium in the nation. The Penn Stater offers Penn College’s Catering class several hands-on experiences alongside its staff, including a presidential tailgate at the Schreyer House (the official residence of the Penn State president); the annual conference of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, which is held at the Penn Stater each spring; and an event at the university’s new Pegula Ice Arena.
Photo by Chef Michael J. Ditchfield, instructor of hospitality management/culinary arts
Acquiring an appreciation of basic floral-design principles – and colorfully applying those elements in their course work – students in Karen R. Ruhl’s Art of Floral Design class produced strikingly original and stunningly beautiful projects at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center this past week. Those whose craft is displayed here are culinary arts and systems majors Brianna E. Bucklin, of Whitehall, Alexander R. Campolongo, of State College, and Darren J. Layre, of Hatboro; Chris J. Troxell, of Summit Hill, enrolled in landscape/horticulture technology: landscape technology emphasis; and Brandy N. White, of Lewisburg, a landscape/horticulture technology: plant production emphasis student.
Photos by Pamela A. Mix, secretary to the ESC executive director and assistant dean of transportation and natural resources technologies
The School of Business & Hospitality’s Catering class made its annual visit Saturday to the Williamsport Growers Market, where they prepared a menu of free samples made from ingredients donated by market vendors. It is a valuable learning opportunity for Penn College students, as they interact with growers and work with fresh, local ingredients while practicing their skills at off-site catering. The class is taught by Chef Michael J. Ditchfield, instructor of hospitality management/culinary arts, and the “customer appreciation” visit to the market is coordinated with the help of Anne Nordell, of Beech Grove Farm and a member of the Williamsport Outdoor Growers Association.