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Mentored Students Dazzle at Silver-Anniversary ‘Chef’ Dinner

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.”

– Photos by Jennifer A. Cline, writer/magazine editor,
and Anna C. Miller, marketing and communications specialist for the School of Business & Hospitality

During a book talk in the Madigan Library, Chef Rick Tramonto shares both light and darkness on his path to becoming the man and world-renowned chef he is today.
During a book talk in the Madigan Library, Chef Rick Tramonto shares both light and darkness on his path to becoming the man and world-renowned chef he is today.

Baking and pastry arts students Alexis L. Kepley, of Reading, and Amber A. Kreitzer, of Port Trevorton, absorb instruction from Chef Donald Wressell.
Baking and pastry arts students Alexis L. Kepley, of Reading, and Amber A. Kreitzer, of Port Trevorton, absorb instruction from Chef Donald Wressell.

Culinary arts technology student Tessa M. Stambaugh, of Hanover, and Tramonto arrange trays of baked-potato skins that would later be filled to make lobster double-baked potato.
Culinary arts technology student Tessa M. Stambaugh, of Hanover, and Tramonto arrange trays of baked-potato skins that would later be filled to make lobster double-baked potato.

Wressell provides direction to baking and pastry arts students Rachel A. Henninger, of Bellefonte, and Natascha G. Santaella, of Guaynobo, Puerto Rico.
Wressell provides direction to baking and pastry arts students Rachel A. Henninger, of Bellefonte, and Natascha G. Santaella, of Guaynobo, Puerto Rico.

Chef Elaine Gardner works alongside first-semester culinary arts technology student Katrina L. Maldonado, of Douglassville, on the base for a signature hummus offering.
Chef Elaine Gardner works alongside first-semester culinary arts technology student Katrina L. Maldonado, of Douglassville, on the base for a signature hummus offering.

On the day before the Visiting Chef Dinner, students busy themselves preparing, with instruction from Tramonto and Penn College’s Chef Paul Mach, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts. Clockwise from bottom left are culinary arts technology student Paige E. Cooke, of Wayne; Tramonto; culinary arts technology student Arden F. Campbell, of Lebanon; Mach; culinary arts technology student James S. Hall Jr., of Bellefonte; and Stambaugh.
On the day before the Visiting Chef Dinner, students busy themselves preparing, with instruction from Tramonto and Penn College’s Chef Paul Mach, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts. Clockwise from bottom left are culinary arts technology student Paige E. Cooke, of Wayne; Tramonto; culinary arts technology student Arden F. Campbell, of Lebanon; Mach; culinary arts technology student James S. Hall Jr., of Bellefonte; and Stambaugh.

Tramonto shows culinary arts technology students Arden F. Campbell, of Lebanon, how to pipe a lobster/mashed potato mixture into potato skins for the main course.
Tramonto shows culinary arts technology students Arden F. Campbell, of Lebanon, how to pipe a lobster/mashed potato mixture into potato skins for the main course.

Stambaugh fills potato skins.
Stambaugh fills potato skins.

Gardner, ’11, shares with Foundations of Professional Cooking students how she navigated the transition from new Penn College grad to leadership roles in professional kitchens.
Gardner, ’11, shares with Foundations of Professional Cooking students how she navigated the transition from new Penn College grad to leadership roles in professional kitchens.

Chef John Folse shares with students and faculty how humble beginnings as a child of eight “with mud between my toes” on the swamps of Louisiana, where his widower father was a fur trapper, led to becoming a well-known restaurateur on the international stage.
Chef John Folse shares with students and faculty how humble beginnings as a child of eight “with mud between my toes” on the swamps of Louisiana, where his widower father was a fur trapper, led to becoming a well-known restaurateur on the international stage.

Hoping to open students to the endless opportunities they may seize, Folse shares his personal and corporate motto: “Risk is the tariff paid to leave the shores of predictable misery.”
Hoping to open students to the endless opportunities they may seize, Folse shares his personal and corporate motto: “Risk is the tariff paid to leave the shores of predictable misery.”

As his book talk winds down, Tramonto asks Gerri F. Luke, dean of business and hospitality, to share a short lesson in choices.
As his book talk winds down, Tramonto asks Gerri F. Luke, dean of business and hospitality, to share a short lesson in choices.

Baking and pastry arts students Ariana M. Bauer, of Coburn, and Nora E. Smith, of Centre Hall, look over a formula – one of 54 students prepared for the dinner’s dessert reception.
Baking and pastry arts students Ariana M. Bauer, of Coburn, and Nora E. Smith, of Centre Hall, look over a formula – one of 54 students prepared for the dinner’s dessert reception.

Baking and pastry arts students Katie M. Weakland, of Pennsylvania Furnace, and Sarah I. Tielmann, of Tatamy, observe as Wressell pours a creamy concoction from a mixing bowl.
Baking and pastry arts students Katie M. Weakland, of Pennsylvania Furnace, and Sarah I. Tielmann, of Tatamy, observe as Wressell pours a creamy concoction from a mixing bowl.

Wressell offers professional know-how to help students prepare close to a dozen desserts.
Wressell offers professional know-how to help students prepare close to a dozen desserts.

Baking and pastry arts students Kepley; Keegan D. Sonney, of Erie; and Andrea L. Solenberger, of Harrisburg, react to words from Wressell.
Baking and pastry arts students Kepley; Keegan D. Sonney, of Erie; and Andrea L. Solenberger, of Harrisburg, react to words from Wressell.

Tramonto, who climbed from high school dropout to award-winning celebrity chef by “outworking everyone” gets hands-on in the college’s hospitality labs.
Tramonto, who climbed from high school dropout to award-winning celebrity chef by “outworking everyone” gets hands-on in the college’s hospitality labs.

Tramonto offers his professional opinion to students in Chef Frank M. Suchwala’s Professional Event Planning course. Suchwala is associate professor of hospitality management/culinary arts.
Tramonto offers his professional opinion to students in Chef Frank M. Suchwala’s Professional Event Planning course. Suchwala is associate professor of hospitality management/culinary arts.

Folse shares stories of his career as a chef and of his foray into writing and book publishing during a book talk in the Madigan Library.
Folse shares stories of his career as a chef and of his foray into writing and book publishing during a book talk in the Madigan Library.

Pre-nursing student Sarah E. Myers, of Williamsport, serves a tray of hummus during a pre-dinner reception.
Pre-nursing student Sarah E. Myers, of Williamsport, serves a tray of hummus during a pre-dinner reception.

The appetizer course, “Trio of Tru Amuse Bouche,” named for Tramonto restaurants Trio and Tru (and one of his eight cookbooks, “Amuse-Bouche”), includes famous food-related quotes, a special touch by the chef.
The appetizer course, “Trio of Tru Amuse Bouche,” named for Tramonto restaurants Trio and Tru (and one of his eight cookbooks, “Amuse-Bouche”), includes famous food-related quotes, a special touch by the chef.

The appetizer course awaits pickup by the evening’s “front-of-house” staff. The dish includes an Asian salmon tartare spoon, burrata cheese and caviar, and a green apple shooter.
The appetizer course awaits pickup by the evening’s “front-of-house” staff. The dish includes an Asian salmon tartare spoon, burrata cheese and caviar, and a green apple shooter.

The fish course: “Osteria di Tramonto Halibut,” roasted halibut with escarole, white beans and Italian sausage, shares its name with another of Tramonto’s cookbooks, “Osteria.”
The fish course: “Osteria di Tramonto Halibut,” roasted halibut with escarole, white beans and Italian sausage, shares its name with another of Tramonto’s cookbooks, “Osteria.”

Stationing himself at the end of the plating line, Tramonto adds final ingredients to the main course, Steak With Friends Surf & Turf, named for another of his cookbooks. The dish comprised roasted aged sirloin of beef with lobster double-baked potato and truffle red wine sauce.
Stationing himself at the end of the plating line, Tramonto adds final ingredients to the main course, Steak With Friends Surf & Turf, named for another of his cookbooks. The dish comprised roasted aged sirloin of beef with lobster double-baked potato and truffle red wine sauce.

Gardner consults with her former instructor, Chef Mary G. Trometter, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, who helped her to lead students in preparing hummus, pitas and salatim for the pre-dinner reception.
Gardner consults with her former instructor, Chef Mary G. Trometter, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, who helped her to lead students in preparing hummus, pitas and salatim for the pre-dinner reception.

As students take notes and gather their tools, Tramonto offers a Friday morning introduction and update.
As students take notes and gather their tools, Tramonto offers a Friday morning introduction and update.

Wressell demonstrates a piece of kitchen technology.
Wressell demonstrates a piece of kitchen technology.

Folse takes a photo with culinary arts and systems student Robert E. Wood, of Williamsport. Wood is the 2017 recipient of the Chef John Folse Excellence in Hospitality Award. The award is presented each May to a graduating student who demonstrates Folse’s commitment to: being a positive role model for the hospitality industry; work and scholastic excellence; stewardship of personal and professional resources; respect for self and others; and sharing the hospitality department’s mission of exemplifying and promoting excellence, opportunity and leadership in hospitality education.
Folse takes a photo with culinary arts and systems student Robert E. Wood, of Williamsport. Wood is the 2017 recipient of the Chef John Folse Excellence in Hospitality Award. The award is presented each May to a graduating student who demonstrates Folse’s commitment to: being a positive role model for the hospitality industry; work and scholastic excellence; stewardship of personal and professional resources; respect for self and others; and sharing the hospitality department’s mission of exemplifying and promoting excellence, opportunity and leadership in hospitality education.

Hospitality management student Noeiris Pliego, of Reading, actively listens during the pre-dinner “lineup,” a briefing with chefs about the evening’s menu, activities and expectations.
Hospitality management student Noeiris Pliego, of Reading, actively listens during the pre-dinner “lineup,” a briefing with chefs about the evening’s menu, activities and expectations.

Wressell describes the wide variety of dessert selections to be offered during an end-of-evening reception.
Wressell describes the wide variety of dessert selections to be offered during an end-of-evening reception.

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

Folse talks with Penn College’s Chef Stephen A. Manley, executive chef of Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, just before guests arrive to a pre-dinner reception, where students helped to serve two of Folse’s Louisiana signatures: corn and lump crab bisque, and duck and andouille sausage gumbo.
Folse talks with Penn College’s Chef Stephen A. Manley, executive chef of Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, just before guests arrive to a pre-dinner reception, where students helped to serve two of Folse’s Louisiana signatures: corn and lump crab bisque, and duck and andouille sausage gumbo.

Culinary arts technology student Rebeca L. Chapman, of Gilbertsville, distributes samples of hummus with garnishes.
Culinary arts technology student Rebeca L. Chapman, of Gilbertsville, distributes samples of hummus with garnishes.

Folse helps to serve his duck and andouille sausage gumbo, a traditional Louisiana dish he also served to Pope John Paul II.
Folse helps to serve his duck and andouille sausage gumbo, a traditional Louisiana dish he also served to Pope John Paul II.

The fish course, “Osteria di Tramonto Halibut,” is surrounded by sparkle on the mirror-covered tables in Le Jeune Chef.
The fish course, “Osteria di Tramonto Halibut,” is surrounded by sparkle on the mirror-covered tables in Le Jeune Chef.

Baking and pastry arts student Ally T. Monborne uses tweezers to carefully place a chocolate-peanut butter morsel into one of the dessert offerings.
Baking and pastry arts student Ally T. Monborne uses tweezers to carefully place a chocolate-peanut butter morsel into one of the dessert offerings.

Desserts line a table in the Keystone Dining Room atrium, awaiting the post-dinner reception.
Desserts line a table in the Keystone Dining Room atrium, awaiting the post-dinner reception.

Students Brittany L. Mink, of Allentown, an applied management student who received her degree in baking and pastry arts in 2016, and Danielle L. Cannon, a baking and pastry arts student from Drums, guide the evening’s guests at a table full of Guittard chocolate bonbons.
Students Brittany L. Mink, of Allentown, an applied management student who received her degree in baking and pastry arts in 2016, and Danielle L. Cannon, a baking and pastry arts student from Drums, guide the evening’s guests at a table full of Guittard chocolate bonbons.

Fulfilling a Visiting Chef tradition, the students who helped to prepare the evening’s offerings are recognized with a procession through the dining room. From front are culinary arts and systems students Sarah B. Fiedler, of Lock Haven; Katlyn J. Hackling, of Williamsport; and Peirce A. Connelly, of Northumberland; and baking and pastry arts student Lloyd A. Shope, of Blanchard.
Fulfilling a Visiting Chef tradition, the students who helped to prepare the evening’s offerings are recognized with a procession through the dining room. From front are culinary arts and systems students Sarah B. Fiedler, of Lock Haven; Katlyn J. Hackling, of Williamsport; and Peirce A. Connelly, of Northumberland; and baking and pastry arts student Lloyd A. Shope, of Blanchard.

Followed by the students who served the elegant meal: From front are Ashley R. Potrzebowski, of Williamsport, culinary arts technology; Pliego; Crystal L. Harker, of Beaver Falls, hospitality management; Jahyah J. Barbour, of Chambersburg, culinary arts technology; and Erik L. Perry Jr., of Waldorf, Md., culinary arts technology.
Followed by the students who served the elegant meal: From front are Ashley R. Potrzebowski, of Williamsport, culinary arts technology; Pliego; Crystal L. Harker, of Beaver Falls, hospitality management; Jahyah J. Barbour, of Chambersburg, culinary arts technology; and Erik L. Perry Jr., of Waldorf, Md., culinary arts technology.

 

 

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