News about Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts

Alumna’s Return Yields Product Insight, Student Aid

Kate Hunter, a 2000 culinary arts alumna, offers career insight to students in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts majors.

Chef Paul Mach records the mathematical results of students’ bacon-cooking tests.

Chris Eckard, of Anchor Food Professionals, talks through boiling point and resulting evaporation – and loss of yield – of cream.

Dylan H. Therrien, left, of Reading, was named a 2017-18 recipient of the Jones Dairy Farm Culinary Scholarship. With him (from left) are: Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations for Penn College; Kate Hunter, ’00, manager of Peak Sales and Marketing; and Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, instructor and department head of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts.

Dylan H. Therrien, a culinary arts and systems student from Reading, learned during a visit to campus by Kate Hunter, a 2000 graduate of the college’s culinary arts technology and food and hospitality management majors, that he will receive the Jones Dairy Farm Culinary Scholarship for 2017-18. Jones Dairy Farm, a six-generation family-owned leader in breakfast sausage, established the scholarship for Penn College students in 2015. Hunter is a manager for Peak Sales & Marketing, a broker for Jones Dairy Farm products. In addition to presenting congratulations to Therrien, Hunter brought a lesson in calculating yields, using bacon from Jones Dairy Farm that was cooked and tested by students in Chef Paul Mach’s Classical Cuisines of the World course. The students calculated how much bacon and fat remained after cooking and the resulting per-slice and per-ounce cost of the cooked product. Joining Hunter was Chris Eckard, of Anchor Food Professionals, who added further insight related to dairy products, such as cream and butter. Critically evaluating cost vs. quality among competing products will serve students well in working kitchens, Mach explained.

Mentored Students Dazzle at Silver-Anniversary ‘Chef’ Dinner

The star-studded Spring 2017 Visiting Chef lineup (from left): Tramonto, Folse, Gardner and Wressell.

World-class chefs spent several days on the Penn College campus to impart their wisdom while they guided students in the production of the 25th Anniversary Visiting Chef Dinner, held April 7. Chefs Rick Tramonto, John Folse, Donald Wressell and Elaine Gardner spent time in classrooms, where they shared their culinary journeys and offered professional insight, and in the School of Business & Hospitality’s kitchens, where they offered hands-on lessons while producing the $125-a-plate fundraising dinner, which helps to provide scholarships for students in the college’s baking and pastry arts, culinary arts, and hospitality management majors. Tramonto and Folse, who separately have received the highest honors in culinary arts and have authored several award-winning cookbooks, offered additional talks for the public in the Madigan Library, where they endeavored to inspire students to pursue both big dreams and a career of service to others. Together, the pair are the founders of Home on the Range: Folse Tramonto Restaurant Development LLC. Their first joint venture, Restaurant R’evolution, opened in New Orleans’ French Quarter in 2012 and was named Restaurant of the Year by New Orleans Magazine. In 2014, they opened Seafood R’evolution in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Wressell, who was pastry chef for the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills for 19 years, has led gold-medal U.S. teams in the World Pastry Team Championship and Le Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie in France, and has brought home many medals himself. Gardner is the chef at Dizengoff in Philadelphia and was, while working at Zahav, featured in a PhillyVoice article that highlighted “six talented Philly sous chefs making their bosses look good.”

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Penn College Displays Excitingly Enhance STEM Expo

Instructor (and 2013 alumna) Kendra N. Tomassacci shares her passion and expertise in computer aided drafting and design.

Penn College was well-represented at the recent Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology event at West Chester East High School, offering hands-on glimpses into “Taste of Sweet & Savory Technology” and “3-D Printing in Engineering and Industrial Design.” Students, faculty and staff from the schools of Business & Hospitality and Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies, as well as the college’s Admissions Office, gave fifth- to 10th-grade girls a memorably experiential entree into career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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Alliance With Chocolate-Maker Sweetens Students’ Education

A partnership with Guittard Chocolate Co., the oldest continuously family-owned and -operated chocolate-making business in the United States – and exclusive chocolate provider to the college’s School of Business & Hospitality – is giving Penn College students and eye-opening and mouth-watering appreciation for quality. “I love their chocolate,” said Natascha G. Santaella, an applied management student from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. “I know the difference between like having a really good chocolate and having just like an OK chocolate.” Laura Tornichio-Vidal, northeast territory sales manager, who provided students with a primer on production and tasting in a February visit to campus, said Guittard prides itself on collaborating with the top schools across the country. “What I really appreciate about working with Penn College is that the program is top-notch from beginning to end,” she explained.

Penn College Students to Feed Hungry Fans at Kentucky Derby

Penn College student Kori A. Treaster, of Lewistown, staffs a kitchen at Churchill Downs as she helps prepare food for guests at the 2016 running of the Kentucky Derby. Treaster and 27 other Penn College students will return for Derby Week in May.

Twenty-eight Pennsylvania College of Technology students have been selected by Levy Restaurants to help serve an expected crowd of more than 160,000 at the 2017 running of the storied Kentucky Derby on May 6.

The Derby, an icon of Southern tradition, is the longest-running sporting event in the United States, first run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1875 before a crowd of 10,000. The race has continued each year since, despite world wars and the Great Depression.

Penn College students, who will be accompanied by Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts at the college, have served Derby Week internships for more than 25 years. Churchill Downs Executive Chef David Danielson and representatives of Levy Restaurants, which manages food operations at the track, came to campus in February to interview students.

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Culinary Giants Join Forces for 25th Anniversary Visiting Chef

In early April, Pennsylvania College of Technology will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its Visiting Chef Series with the return, for the seventh time, of “Louisiana’s culinary ambassador to the world,” Chef John Folse, along with Folse’s renowned restaurant partner Chef Rick Tramonto, internationally heralded Pastry Chef Donald Wressell, and Chef Elaine Gardner, a 2011 Penn College graduate who has already made a name in Philadelphia’s food industry.

During their stay, the chefs will offer book talks for the public, share insights in classrooms and work alongside students to prepare an elegant, five-course fundraising dinner in the college’s Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.

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‘Italian Pasticceria’ Sale Set for Wednesday

Say "Hello" to continental confections!

Cannoli among the day's featured desserts

Fresh fruit tarts are also on the menu.

Chef Charles R. Niedermyer II’s Advanced Baking and Pastry Operations class will hold an “Italian Pasticceria” sale from 10 a.m.-noon Wednesday, March 29, in Le Jeune Patissier at the Market (in the West Third Street hallway of the Carl Building Technologies Center). Student managers for the sale are baking and pastry arts majors Crystal A. Calaman, of Dushore; Nathan Diaz and Alexis L. Kepley, of Reading; Alesha A. Dunlap, of Worthington; and Ally T. Monborne, of Williamsport. More details, including a product list and details/deadlines for ordering a specially decorated double-layer cake, follow: Italian Pasticceria

Hollywood-Themed ‘Murder Mystery Dinner’ Held in PDC

Cast members riotously play their parts ...

... and interact with dinner patrons enlisted to help get to the heart of the mystery.

Cydney L. Ginter, a legal assistant/paralegal major from Altoona – assuming a "Princess Leia" persona for the event – takes part in a spirited "Rock, Paper, Scissors" duel.

Ditchfield (background), instructor of hospitality management/culinary arts, and students from the School of Business & Hospitality

April R. and Stephen A. Manley, sporting name tags identifying them as Betty Boop and Christopher Walken, decipher clues at the table. (Stephen is the executive chef at the college's Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.)

The Penn College community recently joined the Student Activities Office for “Lights! Camera! Murder!” a Hollywood whodunit in the Thompson Professional Development Center’s Mountain Laurel Room. Attendees of the mystery dinner, many of them adopting celebrity or character aliases for the evening, were called upon to navigate an intricate web of deception and crack the red-carpet killing. To supplement the crime-solving fun, Chef Michael J. Ditchfield and his catering students from the School of Business & Hospitality put together a movie-themed menu that included “Pirates of the Caribbean Shrimp Salad,” Chicken Oscar and “50 Shades Chocolate Decadence Cake.”
Photos by Tia G. La, student photographer

Spilling the Beans on Chocolate’s Trek From Cacao to Kitchen

Laura Tornichio-Vidal, northeast territory sales manager for Guittard Chocolate Co., makes a return trip to Penn College to conduct an educational chocolate tasting.

Jahyah J. Barbour, a culinary arts technology student from Chambersburg, and Ashley R. Potrzebowski, a culinary arts technology student from Williamsport, show the star of the afternoon’s presentation …

… a tray of chocolates with such varieties as criollo, trinitario and forester.

Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts, helps to guide the tasting.

Katlyn J. Hackling, who is pursuing degrees in both culinary arts and systems and baking and pastry arts, initiates the first step in chocolate tasting by evaluating its color tone.

The Guittard Chocolate Co.’s Laura Tornichio-Vidal visited the college’s hospitality department on Friday, offering a lesson in chocolate production and tasting. During the hourlong presentation, Tornichio-Vidal – who is the northeast territory sales manager for Guittard – walked students through the complex journey of a cacao bean, from its pollination on a cacao tree by the tiny midge fly, to the care taken by farmers as they harvest, ferment and then sun-dry the beans before delivering them to port, often by mule or handcart. Each harvest is small, grown on farms of 10 acres or less, Tornichio-Vidal explained. She also guided the students through the technique of chocolate tasting – an evaluation that will help them determine what chocolate to employ in various uses. She advised the students to first consider a chocolate’s color, then its “snap” when broken or bitten into, then its aroma, and finally its taste. The students tasted chocolates from Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia and Madagascar. Guittard donates all of the chocolate used in Penn College’s hospitality majors.

Penn College Hospitality Students Share Stages With Pro-Level Peers

Students Tessa M. Stambaugh and Arielle E. White plate samples for Farm Show visitors.

Students in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s hospitality-related majors recently showcased their skills on two noteworthy stages, one group working alongside industry leaders at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, and the other interacting and providing demonstrations for professional-level peers at the Philadelphia National Candy, Gift and Gourmet Show.

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College Connections Abound at Competitive Culinary Benefit

Kelly, Logue and Kasler (from left), at home in the Herman & Luther's kitchen ...

... adroitly staking out turf from which to create their masterworks.

From left, judges Daniele, Ditchfield and Nash enjoy the competition.

Tantalizing talent on display

A trio of chefs at Herman & Luther’s – all of them graduates of Penn College’s culinary arts and systems major – competed in a “Chopped”-style event at the rustic venue along Route 87 near Montoursville on Saturday. George E. Logue III, a 2010 alumnus, emerged victorious against challengers Patrick J. Kelly II (2015) and Christopher S. Kasler (2016), with a portion of the proceeds earmarked for suicide prevention. Judges for the sold-out event were Chef Michael J. Ditchfield, instructor of hospitality management/culinary arts, and former adjunct faculty members and restaurateurs Alfredo F. Daniele and Kevin G. Nash.
Photos provided

Alumna Establishes Scholarship for Hospitality Students

An alumna and longtime adviser of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s hospitality department has established a scholarship to benefit students pursuing careers in the same field.

The Diane L. Dorner Scholarship will benefit first- and second-year students in several of Penn College’s hospitality-related majors: culinary arts and systems, culinary arts technology, hospitality management, and business administration: sport and event management concentration.

Dorner graduated from Williamsport Area Community College, Penn College’s immediate predecessor, in 1979 with an associate degree in food and hospitality management. She is district manager for Carrols LLC, a Burger King franchisee that operates more than 700 restaurants in 16 states.

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Foundation’s Generosity Endows Scholarship, Creates Opportunity

A significant grant from the Tamaqua-based John E. Morgan Foundation will allow students from that area to enroll in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s distinctive “degrees that work.”

The nonprofit foundation’s $500,000 contribution establishes the John E. Morgan Scholarship, which will give first preference to graduates of Tamaqua Area High School who are pursuing “a degree that is not readily available from other institutions, at a comparable price, within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

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Penn College Announces Food Show Winners

A plated dessert – “Flan in the Forest” made by baking and pastry arts student Keegan D. Sonney, of Erie – was named Best of Show winner at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s annual Food Show.

Pennsylvania College of Technology has announced the winners of its annual Food Show, held Dec. 2 to display the artful work of students in hospitality-related majors.

The Chef Eugene Mattucci Best of Show Award was granted to Keegan D. Sonney, a baking and pastry arts student from Erie, for a festive “Flan in the Forest” plated dessert. The eye-catching plate comprised RumChata flan topped with cranberry gelee and served with a chocolate stick, shortbread cookie crumbles, cranberry-mint sauce, mushrooms and edible flowers.

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Last updated December 9, 2016 | Posted in Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts, Business & Hospitality, Events, Students | This gallery contains 34 photos. | Tagged as | One Comment

Baking/Pastry Students Mark Madigan Milestone in ‘Grand’ Fashion

Paige E. Pearson, of Williamsburg, serves a slice of buche de Noel to Joann Ertel, whose father, Kenneth E. Carl, was director of Williamsport Technical Institute and president of Williamsport Area Community College, both forerunners of Penn College.

Baking and pastry arts students show their gratitude on a centerpiece cake. (Photo by Becky J. Shaner, manager of student/alumni engagement and special events)

Thanks is spelled out in an edible holiday theme by Kayla M. Peters, of Pine Grove.

A family admires the students’ work.

Jennie E. Zarcufsky, of Ringtown, commemorates the event’s “Knowledge Building” theme with a stack of chocolate books and candles that “twinkle” with blown-sugar flames.

Students in the baking and pastry arts major coordinated a grand buffet Saturday that served as a capstone to their associate degree and as a gesture of gratitude to those whose gifts support the applied-technology education provided by Penn College. For the students, the buffet is the final project in the Pastry Food Show and Buffet Presentations Concepts course. Taught by Todd M. Keeley, instructor of baking and pastry arts and culinary arts, the course incorporates skills learned throughout the students’ associate-degree education. In addition to carefully planning the presentation, each student produced edible centerpieces and a variety of decadent pastries. The event also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Madigan Library, which opened to students in 2006. Invited guests included donors to the library and members of the college’s 1914 Society. “Whether a donation is turned into a book or a study carrel or an online resource, it becomes part of the brick and mortar of this building, a resource used innumerable times by a continuous array of students and faculty,” said Tracey Amey, library director, who joined President Davie Jane Gilmour in offering remarks to the guests. “I have the privilege of seeing your donations in action every day, and I offer a deep and heartfelt ‘Thank you.’”