News: Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts

Junior Chefs Conquer Kitchen as ‘Future Restaurateurs Camp’ Debuts

Campers prepare daikon radishes for a salad garnish.

Campers prepare daikon radishes for a salad garnish.

Chef Frank M. Suchwala, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, helps a student learn knife skills as she minces parsley.

Chef Frank M. Suchwala, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, helps a student learn knife skills as she minces parsley.

The students’ final buffet (just a portion is shown here) shows off their hard work.

The students’ final buffet (just a portion is shown here) shows off their hard work.

– A student dices carrots using safe cutting procedures.

– A student dices carrots using safe cutting procedures.

Chef Craig A. Cian, associate professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, shows a student how to shave a tomato to create a rose-shaped garnish.

Chef Craig A. Cian, associate professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, shows a student how to shave a tomato to create a rose-shaped garnish.

A new addition to Penn College’s hands-on summer lineup, this week’s Future Restaurateurs Career Camp gave high school students a two-day taste of the restaurant life. Students entering grades nine to 12 learned such important kitchen basics as knife skills and safety, as well as menu planning and dining room etiquette, as they spent their time planning and preparing a buffet lunch that culminated the camp. Among their finished products were fruit and vegetable carvings, salad and dressing, ice cream, sorbet and a variety of sauces to top them, crème brulee, guacamole, and more.

Faculty Trio Receives ‘Excellence in Teaching’ Awards

Pennsylvania College of Technology bestowed Excellence in Teaching Awards upon three faculty members during commencement ceremonies held May 15-16 at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport.

As part of the Distinguished Teaching Awards program, Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour presented Excellence in Teaching Awards to Roy H. Klinger, instructor of collision repair; Charles R. Niedermyer II, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts; and John G. Upcraft, instructor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing.

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Hospitality Students’ ‘Derby’ Contribution Merits USAToday Coverage

In an atypically calm moment, Penn College students and faculty take a photographic pause from their Derby duties.

In an atypically calm moment, Penn College students and faculty take a photographic pause from their Derby duties.

The annual trek by Penn College students participating in the “culinary Olympics” that accompanies the Kentucky Derby recently drew the attention of USAToday. The article, headlined, “Churchill student chefs prep for 140,000 fans,” details the colossal work involved in food preparation for Churchill Downs and other Derby venues. Whether dicing beef, poaching shrimp or marinating turkey, the students relished the assignment as one more step toward their chosen career. “I have never seen this much shrimp before,” said Sarah B. Fiedler, a culinary arts and systems student from Lock Haven. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Chef Paul E. Mach, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, was interviewed by WHAS11 in Louisville for a segment that also features students seasoning beef and making apple cobbler.
Photo provided by School of Business & Hospitality

Students’ Pursuit of Passion Evident in Sparkling Hospitality Events
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President Davie Jane Gilmour introduces student representative Julie H. Carr (right), recipient of the Student Leader Legacy Scholarship.

In a matter of days, students in hospitality majors produced two eye-popping events that showed off their food artistry. On April 24, the Penn College community – along with high school groups – were invited to Penn’s Inn, where seniors in the culinary arts and systems bachelor-degree major cooked live, offering up free samples of an entrée and a dessert while being judged by industry representatives according to American Culinary Federation standard rules. Also on display were the final projects of students in Advanced Patisserie Operations, Cakes and Decorations, Principles of Chocolate Works and Classical and Specialty Dessert Presentation courses, which were also judged. Chef Frank Priore, executive chef of the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre; Chef Drew Kendall, store chef for Wegmans in Williamsport; and Christopher R. Grove, ’08, a dining services manager for Penn College, judged the culinary entries, while Chef Callie L. Proctor, ’04 and ’08, bakery manager for Weis Markets; Chef Michael Davis, executive chef for Susquehanna Health; and Chef Samantha L. Liedtka Gundlach, ’10, owner of Samantha’s Kitchen in Lock Haven, judged pastry entries. On April 26, students in two sections of the Pastry Food Show and Buffet Presentation Concepts presented a “Grand Pastry Buffet” for scholarship donors and their recipients. The “Viva Las Vegas”-themed event represents a comprehensive finale to baking and pastry arts students’ college career, requiring skills gained throughout their coursework. Nursing student Julie H. Carr, a recipient of the Student Leader Legacy Scholarship, offered remarks. “I have received financial aid as well as numerous grants in order to pursue my education; however, there were still out-of-pocket expenses that my parents could not cosign a loan for,” Carr told the gathering. “The Penn College Foundation enabled me to finish school and pursue my dreams while still participating and being an integral part of the Penn College community. I cannot thank you and the entire faculty, staff and students enough for enabling me to finally pursue my passion of becoming a nurse and helping others.”

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Penn College Students Selected to Cook at Kentucky Derby

Penn College students Brianna R. Helmick, a culinary arts and systems student from Hershey, and Eileen N. Harrington, of Etters, who received an associate degree in hospitality management and is continuing her studies toward a bachelor’s degree in technology management, pause above the iconic Churchill Downs track during the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

Thirty-eight Pennsylvania College of Technology students have been selected to cook for thousands at the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2.

Known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” the tradition-steeped Kentucky Derby attracts more than 150,000 guests, including its fair share of celebrities.

At Churchill Downs, students will spend a week helping to mix, chop and cook thousands of pounds of ingredients that they’ll serve to guests in suites and luxury boxes throughout the facility, including The Mansion, a lavish, invitation-only venue.

Students are also assigned to the main kitchen, Jockey Club Suites, Turf Club Lounge, Finish Line Suites and the Plaza Balcony. In addition to cooking for the main event, several students will prepare food for “Dawn at the Downs,” a popular Louisville tradition that gives visitors an opportunity to enjoy breakfast in Millionaires Row while watching the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders conduct morning workouts.

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Faculty Member, Culinary Student Cook on Live TV

A selfie from the set

A selfie from the set

Penn College on "PA Live!"

Penn College on “PA Live!”

Fennel bulbs and orzo pasta await preparation in this chef's-eye look at the ingredients at hand.

Fennel bulbs and orzo pasta await preparation in this chef’s-eye look at the ingredients at hand.

Mary G. Trometter,  assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, assisted by James E. Culp, a culinary arts technology major from Northumberland, prepared Toasted Orzo on WBRE-TV’s “PA Live!” on Wednesday for co-host Jasmine Brooks. Here’s the recipe to try at home: Toasted Orzo

Winners Named in ‘Love Songs’-Themed Cake Competition

Kelsey L. Park, of State College, was named first-place winner of the 2015 wedding cake competition at Penn College. The theme for her cake was Frank Sinatra’s “Come Rain or Come Shine.”

A cake inspired by Frank Sinatra’s “Come Rain or Come Shine” took the top prize in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s annual cake competition. The theme for the March 3 contest was “Love Songs.”

The cake was designed by Kelsey L. Park, of State College, whose winning techniques included pulled-sugar roses, piped “cornelli lace,” hand-piped lettering and fondant piano keys. Park is enrolled in the baking and pastry arts major at Penn College.

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Chef Charles Denied Spot on Paris-Bound ‘Team USA’

Chef Charles R. Niedermyer II, during "World Cup of Baking" competition at Johnson & Wales University.

Chef Charles R. Niedermyer II, during “World Cup of Baking” competition at Johnson & Wales University.

After a 15-month effort that culminated in last week’s final round in Providence, Rhode Island, Chef Charles R. Niedermyer II was not selected to compete at the 2016 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie in France. The instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts and 2000 Penn College alumnus learned Thursday that he did not make the cut in the breakfast pastry category as a member of the three-person Team USA. “Penn College is an amazing place to work with amazing individuals in all departments. I would not have made it to the finals without the help I received,” the School of Business & Hospitality faculty member said. “Trying out for the team was an awesome experience from beginning to end. I was proud to wear Penn College on my chef jacket along the way.”
Photo provided

Turnabout ‘Fare’ Play in Second Half of Culinary Competition

A unified 'Grateful Bread' shows its team spirit.

A unified ‘Grateful Bread’ shows its team spirit.

The first course: fresh citrus salsa with spinach salad served in a crisp-angel-hair-and-Parmesan basket, with drops of pomegranate juice reduction.

The first course: fresh citrus salsa with spinach salad served in a crisp-angel-hair-and-Parmesan basket, with drops of pomegranate juice reduction.

The judging team, diligently meeting its responsibilities in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.

The judging team, diligently meeting its responsibilities in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.

The team's entree: pan-seared fresh trout, red quinoa and roasted sweet potato dice, topped with sauteed kale and leeks. The plate drizzle is scallion oil and an orange-and-teriyaki-sauce reduction.

The team’s entree: pan-seared fresh trout, red quinoa and roasted sweet potato dice, topped with sauteed kale and leeks. The plate drizzle is scallion oil and an orange-and-teriyaki-sauce reduction.

A "photobombing" Moriarty fails to break Helmick's concentration.

A “photobombing” Moriarty fails to break Helmick’s concentration.

In Friday’s flip side of a recent Mystery Basket challenge, Team Grateful Bread took its turn preparing dishes to be judged by classmates in the Culinary Competition and Skills Assessment capstone course. The students were assigned to use fresh kale, scallions, crystallized ginger and angel hair pasta to create two courses for their peers, Team Pork Buttz, to taste and evaluate. Two mystery ingredients, fresh trout and pomegranate juice, were revealed at the last minute and were added into the creations. Comprising Team Grateful Bread are Elizabeth M. Ball, Brianna E. Bucklin, Brianna R. Helmick, Rachel A. Mertz, Bradley M. Moriarty and Ashley R. Post. Members of Team Pork Buttz are Kyle H. Abel, Alexander R. Campolongo, Jenna E. Haas, Patrick J. Kelly II, Darren J. Layre, Zachary A. Mausteller and Victoria L. Zablocky. First-year assistants are Spenser D. Baron and Arden F. Campbell.
Photos by Mary G. Trometter, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts

Wedding Cake Competition Pays Tasty, Tuneful Tribute to ‘Love Songs’
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The theme of the day

Penn College’s annual wedding cake competition and display Tuesday offered a look at the talents of students in a Cake Decorating II course taught by Chef Sue L. Mayer, assistant professor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts. The competitors edibly expressed the theme “Love Songs,” with cakes representing memorable lyrics from several eras.

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Visiting Chef Series and Hospitality Students: A Palatable Pairing
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Culinary arts and systems students Sarae D. Davis (left), of Nescopeck, and Brianna R. Helmick, of Hershey, help to assemble a “trout napoleon” for the first course.

The School of Business & Hospitality welcomed three guests during the latest edition of its Visiting Chef Series last week. Brian McClure, beverage director of The Greenbriar, a luxury resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, worked with the school’s faculty to develop a menu that exemplified how wine can be paired with foods that are salty, sweet, sour, bitter or umami. He then visited the school last week to share his expertise with students and with guests at the Visiting Chef Dinner, where he introduced each course and its accompanying wine and circulated to speak with guests about the pairings. Also sharing their know-how with students were Laura Tornichio-Vidal, northeast territory sales manager for Guittard Chocolate (which donates all of the chocolate the school uses each year) and Amy Rosenfield, owner of Mon Aimee Chocolat, a retail specialty shop in Pittsburgh (and the regional distributor for Guittard). The pair offered two chocolate-tasting sessions to School of Business & Hospitality students and employees, helping them to discern flavors and textures in chocolate and how they  might be paired with other flavors. The five-course Visiting Chef Series dinner on Friday, prepared and served by students and faculty, raised funds for student scholarships.

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Classmates’ Appetizer, Entrée Judged in ‘Mystery Basket’ Challenge

Team Pork Buttz enters the “field” of competition with confidence.

Team Pork Buttz enters the “field” of competition with confidence.

Inspired by a list of required ingredients, students produce house-made ricotta cheese quenelle with citrus salad atop a cauliflower and cheese crust.

Inspired by a list of required ingredients, students produce house-made ricotta cheese quenelle with citrus salad atop a cauliflower and cheese crust.

Team Grateful Bread carefully scores its classmates’ culinary creations.

Team Grateful Bread carefully scores its classmates’ culinary creations.

The team’s entrée: spice-rubbed and smoke-fired rabbit with dumplings.

The team’s entrée: spice-rubbed and smoke-fired rabbit with dumplings.

Senior-level students in the culinary arts and systems major completed their first Mystery Basket challenge of the semester on Friday as part of their coursework in Culinary Competition and Skills Assessment, a capstone class taught by Mary G. Trometter, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts. Half the class – known as Team Pork Buttz – was tasked with using not only a list of required “market basket” ingredients, but also a pair of “mystery ingredients” revealed the morning of the competition, to create two courses to be judged by their classmates, known as Team Grateful Bread. Using the required ingredients (dill pickle, juniper berries, elbow macaroni and cauliflower) plus the “mystery” ingredients of fresh, whole rabbit and Guinness beer, Team Pork Buttz produced an appetizer course of house-made ricotta cheese quenelle with citrus salad on top of a cauliflower and cheese crust, plus an entrée of spice-rubbed and smoke-fired rabbit with dumplings and Guinness/juniper berry with hint of chocolate reduction. The timed contests follow American Culinary Federation competition standards.
Photos by Mary G. Trometter, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts

Penn College to Host Student Wedding Cake Competition

A winning entry from a previous wedding cake competition at Penn College. This year’s competition is scheduled for March 3, with the cakes to be displayed for the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Thompson Professional Development Center.

Students in hospitality majors at Pennsylvania College of Technology will display their wedding cake creations on March 3 in the college’s Thompson Professional Development Center.

This year’s theme for the cakes is “Love Songs.”

The students spend weeks decorating their fondant-covered cakes for a competition that will be judged by industry professionals. Following judging, the cake display is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Professional Development Center’s Mountain Laurel Room.

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Video Follows Faculty Member’s Preparation for ‘World Cup’ Finals

A new addition to Penn College’s YouTube Channel focuses on Chef Charles R. Niedermyer II, an instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts, a finalist to represent the United States at the 2016 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (the “World Cup of Bread Baking”). He will compete in Rhode Island against two other talented chefs the first weekend in March to determine who will be Team USA’s breakfast pastry specialist during next year’s international event in Paris. While the competition brings distinction to Niedermyer and his colleagues in the School of Business & Hospitality, his preparation has proved inspirational for students. “I’ve been bringing in new flavors and new techniques to class,” the 2000 alumnus says. “It’s allowed me to be a good example to them about if you want to pursue something, you go for it. It’s in perfect harmony with class.”

Penn College Cook to Compete in Regional Competition

Cody J. Miller, head cook in Penn College’s Capitol Eatery, was selected to compete in the Mid-Atlantic Region Culinary Challenge sponsored by the National Association of College & University Food Services.

A head cook in one of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s most popular dining venues was selected as one of 10 participants in the National Association of College & University Food Services Mid-Atlantic Region Culinary Challenge.

Cody J. Miller, a 2012 graduate of the college with a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and systems, will compete against chefs from college campuses across the region on March 8, during NACUFS’s Mid-Atlantic Region annual conference.

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