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John Folse, Leah Chase Return as Distinguished Visiting Chef


Chefs John Folse and Leah Chase, world-renowned authorities on the art of Cajun and Creole cooking, will return to Pennsylvania College of Technology on Dec. 1 for the Distinguished Visiting Chef Series dinner at Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.

In addition to preparing the “King and Queen of Cajun and Creole Dinner,” Folse, who will be making his fourth appearance at Penn College, and Chase, who will be making her second, will offer a cooking demonstration for the public on Nov. 30.

Tickets for the Dec. 1 dinner, which begins at 7 p.m., are sold out, but seats are still available for the demonstration, which will take place from 9:45 to 11:30 a.m. in Room B132 of the Hager Lifelong Education Center (the set where Penn College’s award-winning public television cooking series, “You’re the Chef,” is taped). The event will feature a food-tasting and book-signing session afterward. Both chefs’ cookbooks will be available for sale. The $35 tickets may be purchased by calling the Special Events Office at Penn College at (570) 320-5229.

Folse is owner and executive chef of Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant at Bittersweet Plantation in Donaldsville, La., as well as White Oak Plantation, a catering and events-management company in Baton Rouge, La.

He also owns and operates Chef John Folse & Company Manufacturing, which offers soups, sauces, entrees and specialty items for food-service and retail establishments nationwide. Folse has written numerous books and hosts his own national television cooking show on PBS, “A Taste of Louisiana,” as well as a syndicated radio program, “Stirrin’ it Up,” heard worldwide.

Folse is the recipient of the American Culinary Federation’s “National Chef of the Year” award. His Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant has been inducted into the Fine Dining Hall of Fame, and it received the Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award in 1996.

Chase has been executive chef of Dooky Chase Restaurant, a New Orleans Creole landmark, for 53 years. She is the author of “The Dooky Chase Cookbook,” a collection of 200 tasty Creole recipes published in 1990, and has appeared on cooking shows with other nationally known chefs, including Folse, Julia Child and Graham Kerr.

In addition to receiving many culinary awards, Chase was honored with the coveted “Loving Cup” award from the “The (New Orleans) Times Picayune” in 1997 for her public service. A distinguished civic leader who has fought for the survival of the National Endowment for the Arts, Chase was one of 75 women honored in the traveling exhibit, “I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America.” She is also the recipient of The National Candace Award as one of the 10 most outstanding black women in America.

Since its inception in 1992, the Visiting Chef Series has become one of the most prestigious fine-dining events in Pennsylvania, attracting world-renowned chefs to the kitchens of Penn College and Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.

The Visiting Chef Series offers students in the School of Hospitality the privilege of working side-by-side with leading chefs. The gala fund-raising dinner is prepared by the visiting chefs, the School of Hospitality faculty, and students in the Hospitality Management, Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry Arts and Dietary Manager Technology majors at Penn College.

Proceeds from the series’ activities, including the fund-raising dinner and public cooking demonstrations, benefit the scholarship fund for students in the School of Hospitality.

The appetizer for the Dec. 1 “King and Queen of Cajun and Creole Cooking Dinner” will be Chilled Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Lasagna (basil-infused pasta filled with jumbo lump crabmeat and Cajun caviar drizzled with lemon basil remoulade). The wine served with this course will be Pinot Blanc from Napa Wine Company, 1999.

The soup will be Gumbo Z’herbs (the world-famous Green Gumbo of Chef Chase, “The Queen of Creole Cuisine”). The wine will be Pinot Grigio from Benessere Vineyards, 2000.

The fish to be prepared will be Cane River Fish Fricassee (pan-sauteed filet of trout in a bed of thickened bouillabaisse sauce and Creole ratatouille). The wine will be Chardonnay from Raymond Estate, 1999.

The meat to be served will be Braised Osso Bucco Plaquemine (veal shanks braised in persimmon glaze with a melange of winter vegetables). The wine will be Merlot from Whitehall Lane, 1999.

The salad course will feature a blend of late-fall greens with bittersweet plantation goat cheese and lemon-thyme vinaigrette). The wine will be Blanc de Blanc from Glenora Wine Cellars, 1998.

The sumptuous meal will conclude with White Chocolate and Pumpkin Mousse Tart (a unique marriage of flavors spiced with Armagnac stewed fruit and autumn leaf cookie). The wine will be Brut from Chateau Frank, 1997.

Floral arrangements and centerpieces will be created by students in the Floral Design/Interior Plantscape major in the School of Natural Resources Management.

Chef Folse’s radio program will be broadcast from Penn College’s student-run radio station (WPTC, 88.1 FM) on Dec. 1. The show can be heard locally from noon to 1 p.m .

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