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Classes Return to Le Jeune Chef Restaurant

While student interns have helped all summer at Le Jeune Chef on the campus of Pennsylvania College of Technology, the beginning of the fall semester brings the return of classes to the restaurant’s kitchens, with student-produced meals beginning in September.

Among the dining events produced by students, Regional American Cuisine on Friday evenings offers patrons the opportunity to sample food from around the country and allows students a chance to work with recipes and foods from other regions and an opportunity to help manage the kitchen for an evening.

Working as sous chef to Michael J. Ditchfield, instructor of hospitality management culinary/arts and teacher for the course, each Regional American Cuisine student takes a turn at managing his or her classmates in the kitchen.

The students get a realistic sense of a professional kitchen in a fine-dining restaurant that is open to the public. After graduation, many will work into a management, executive-chef or ownership position, and they are at a point in their college careers where they are still learning to manage others, Ditchfield said.

The student managers estimate costs for their assigned meal, standardize recipes and take charge of staff distribution, a sanitation checklist and closing procedures. They also research the region, learning about the culture, geography and climate that influence the foods eaten there.

On Sept. 15, Joshua J. Fidler, Schuylkill Haven, will manage a “Local Foods Market Basket” menu. The meal offers students an opportunity to work with local growers and local food products. Fidler describes the menu as “something creative and flavorful.”

“I’m doing smoked trout, a pork loin and some wood-grilled elk,” he said.

On Sept. 22, Amber M. Bowersox, Middleburg, will serve “California Fusion.” “It will be a mixture of seafood like mahi mahi and swordfish. I will also have a veal dish and a squab dish,” she said. “The entree that is going to be my favorite one to work with is called ‘turducken.’ It is a plate of turkey, chicken and duck.”

On Sept. 29, Eric R. Lynch, Orangeville, will manage a “Southwest” meal. “The menu items will be fresh and vibrant, with contrast in color, texture and flavor,” Lynch said. “There will be many salsas and spicy items to entice the palate.”

On Oct. 6, David J. Kelly, Ephrata, will present “Chesapeake Bay,” which he said will feature a selection of seafood inspired by the bay.

On Oct. 13, Jennifer R. Mast, Bethlehem, and Joshua A. Aucker, Williamsport, will present a “Pacific Northwest” menu. Because the restaurant is reserved for a special event that evening, this meal is not open to the public. The students will cook a menu with an Asian flair that includes such dishes as smoked salmon, halibut and pork.

On Oct. 27, Kyle W. Hudzik, Hunlock Creek, will serve a menu from the “Deep South.” “For an appetizer, I would recommend the pork pierogi,” Hudzik said. “For the soup course, I would get the creamy peanut butter soup. It is savory, yet sweet. My two favorite entrees would be the braised short ribs and the glazed wild boar.”

On Nov. 3, Krystal L. Lewis, Athens, will serve food from the “Heartland.” She said selections include roast pheasant with stuffing, grilled duck breast salad, and Wisconsin cheese and beer.

The following week, the Regional American Cuisine meal will be moved to Saturday, Nov. 11.

The evening’s meal, from New England, will be managed by Mandalena Kolovic, Coal Township. “My regional meal includes seafood such as clams, oysters, lobster and scallops,” she said. “There will be chicken with chestnuts and fennel, along with a pheasant dish and duck dish. We will also be preparing a roasted rib eye with eggplant and potato pancakes.”

On Nov. 17, James B. Miller, South Williamsport, will offer a “Susquehanna River/Pennsylvania Dutch” meal with such items as chicken and waffles, and sauteed sweetbreads.

On Dec. 1, Matthew C. Onderko, Gillett, will manage a “New Orleans” menu. His menu includes such traditional favorites as gumbo, callaloo, Cajun chicken cordon bleu, crawfish etoufee and seafood jambalaya rice salad.

Reservations for the multicourse Regional American Cuisine meals are recommended. Call (570) 320-CHEF (2433). More information about the meals and schedule is available by calling or by visiting on the Web.

For more information about the academic programs offered by the School of Hospitality at Penn College, call (570) 327-4505, e-mail or visit online.

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