Pennsylvania College of Technology students are scheduled to travel to Louisville, Ky., for the 134th Kentucky Derby and its sister race, the Kentucky Oaks, where they will help feed thousands of guests.
The students, accompanied by Chefs Paul Mach, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, and Charles R. Niedermyer, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts, will be stationed at the storied Churchill Downs April 29 to May 4, where they will help prepare dining venues and serve thousands of guests throughout Derby Week, which concludes with the Kentucky Derby on May 3.
School of Hospitality students returned to the Derby last year after a five-year absence.
“In a brand-new corporate catering area, School of Hospitality students worked in conjunction with NASCAR chefs and Levy Restaurants’ football stadium executive chefs from Seattle, Detroit, Jacksonville, Green Bay and our own alumna Emilie Frye, “exec’ at Philadelphia,” Mach said. “Our students immediately demonstrated skills and leadership that allowed them to take over the satellite kitchen operations that were directly responsible for feeding 26,000 people from Tuesday through Saturday, Derby Day.”
Levy Restaurants hired 26 School of Hospitality students for this year’s “Run for the Roses” following a visit to campus earlier in the semester to conduct interviews. Levy operates dining facilities in many of the nation’s major sports venues, including Churchill Downs.
Several of students who were hired last year will return to the event for 2008.
“It was something that each American should experience once in their lives,” said Jacqueline A. Lovecchio, of Dallas, also a senior in the culinary arts and systems major. “I’ve never worked so hard and such long hours in my life, but also never had such an immense sense of accomplishment at the end of each day. I can’t wait to return at the end of April.”
“To be able to cook and serve food at the Kentucky Derby is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Eric R. Lynch, of Orangeville, a senior in the culinary arts and systems bachelor’s degree major. “I greatly enjoyed my experience last year and am looking forward to gaining valuable experience again from my time at the Derby. Probably the best part of the experience is working with great chefs who have worked around the country and some around the world. I worked with the executive chef from the Detroit Lions football team last year, as well as with a chef who worked with Mario Batali from Food Network’s “Iron Chef.’ It is truly an amazing experience, and I would recommend it to all students in hospitality with the opportunity to go.”
Most of the students will help prepare food for racing fans in Marquee Village, an area of Churchill Downs where corporations rent climate-controlled tents complete with buffet, bar, closed-circuit TV monitors and private patios. Two students will take on “front-of-house” duties serving clients in the facility’s upscale Millionaire’s Room and Jockey Club Suites.
Students selected to attend the event include: Kimberly J. Caputzal, Lebanon; Callie L. Chalmers, Galeton; Akacia Klick, Kingston; Allyson J. Roan, Pennsylvania Furnace; and Ashley M. Wolfe, South Williamsport, all pursuing degrees in baking and pastry arts.
They will be joined by Jeffrey S. Byron, Milford, Conn.; Christopher D’Annibale, Center Valley; David L. Davis, Kingston; Matthew W. Dickey, Franklin; Christine L. Faherty, Williamsport; Scott A. Fowler, Williamsport; Lynzi K. Green, Port Matilda; Lisa Greenberg, New City, N.Y.; Russell J. Hackenburg, Pittsburgh; Kayla M. Keever, Mechanicsburg; Jacqueline A. Lovecchio, Dallas; Eric R. Lynch, Orangeville; Tyler S. Shoup, Montoursville; William Brady West, of Wyomissing; and Michael R. Yaw, Trout Run, all of whom are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts and systems.
Also making the trip are culinary arts technology students Katelyn M. Dymond, Dushore; Sara C. Erdley, Millmont; Angela L. Hess, Williamsport; Marco G. Romano, Danville; and Kayla L. Stabley, Jersey Shore; as well as graphic communications management student Angela R. Lewis, of Cogan Station, a member of the part-time waitstaff at Le Jeune Chef.