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From Dishwasher to Chicago Sensation: Visiting Chef Series Hosts Russell Bry


Russell Bry began his food industry career at the age of 12 as a dishwasher. Today, he is a major force on the Chicago culinary scene.

Bry will bring his experience and insights to Pennsylvania College of Technology as part of its Visiting Chef Series. The chef will arrive on Thursday, March 25, and spend his time mentoring students in the College kitchens as well as lecturing in several classes. His visit will culminate with the Visiting Chef dinner set for the evening of Saturday, March 27, in Le Jeune Chef restaurant on the Penn College campus. Tickets for the event are sold out. Proceeds benefit a scholarship fund for culinary students.

As vice president and executive chef of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Inc, Bry works in the company’s corporate and restaurant kitchens to develop innovative food concepts which have made LEYE one of the nation’s leading independent restaurant groups. In Chicago alone, the corporation owns and operates nearly 20 restaurants including Brasserie Jo, P.J. Clarke’s, Tucci Benucch, Wildfire and R.J. Grunts. Most recently, Bry provided culinary support for Chicago Flat Sammies, a new dining concept featuring multi-ethnic sandwiches served on unique, fresh-baked bread. Also under the LEYE umbrella are numerous Chicago locations of Corner Bakery and restaurants in Arizona and Minnesota.

As a teen, Bry worked as a cook in a number of restaurant kitchens. He studied with Triton College’s food service program and worked at several prestigious Chicago restaurants before joining LEYE in 1985.

Bry’s Penn College dinner will begin with house-smoked salmon canapes with horseradish creme fraiche. Following the appetizer will be an oak-roasted goat cheese and grape leaf-wrapped bundle with herbed flat bread and cured olives. Next on the menu is a pear and endive salad with Amish gorgonzola-smoked Neuske bacon and pecans, followed by Yucatan-style barbeque shrimp with green rice and fried banana. The main course features spit-roasted rack of pork with warm apple cabbage slaw, potato and parsnip puree, and cider sauce. Topping off the experience will be homemade apple strudel with warm caramel sauce and homemade vanilla ice cream.

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