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Penn College Culinary Students Share the Joy of Hospitality

Pennsylvania College of Technology culinary students are spreading the joy of hospitality far and wide this fall in a variety of outreach experiences.

On Saturday (Sept. 12), students from the College’s catering class will take part in the Williamsport Outdoor Grower’s Market at the Pine Street United Methodist Church parking lot. Utilizing fresh produce donated from the market vendors, the students will give a food demonstration from 10 a.m. to noon. Free samples will be available. The Grower’s Market runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In the demonstration, Michael J. Ditchfield, instructor of food and hospitality management/culinary arts and the catering class instructor, says he and the students will likely feature the fresh produce along with fresh herb pestos, vinegars, oils, pastas and other complements.

Grower’s Market vendor Anne Nordell, of Beech Grove Farm in Cogan House Township, says there are a number of reasons for featuring chefs at the event. “The purpose is promoting the chefs and promoting seasonal vegetables, and it also gives customers new ideas on how to cook, new ways to use the vegetables,” she explained.

The next outing for the Penn College culinary students is the Branchport Gourmet Harvest Festival at Hunt Country Vineyards, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 3-4. The event is located near Branchport, N.Y., on the northwest tip of Keuka Lake.

This is the seventh year the College has participated in this excursion, which is coordinated by Chef Paul E. Mach, assistant professor of food and hospitality management/culinary arts. Mach, Ditchfield and students from the catering class will offer demonstrations and prepare a gourmet cuisine including Southwestern black bean soup with yogurt swirl, Brazilian cured salmon, and smoked duck quesadilla with shiitake and dried cherry buckwheat compote. Also joining the event will be Penn College faculty member and pastries and breads expert, Chef Monica J. Lanczak, who will prepare a “chocolate inspiration” dessert.

The culinary students will then swing south to be the featured chefs on the Northern Central Railway dinner train the weekend of Friday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, Oct. 25. The train is stationed in New Freedom, York County. The outing, coordinated by Ditchfield, gives the students an opportunity to learn catering techniques in a unique setting.

Students and faculty will travel further south on Wednesday, Nov. 4, when they head for Louisville, Ky., to work during the 1998 Breeder’s Cup Thoroughbred Races at Churchill Downs. The big event will be held Saturday, Nov. 7, and will involve the students in the preparation and service of a gourmet menu to 6,500 people in the Churchill Downs dining rooms and terraces. Mach will be leading a group of 14 students in this internship experience, which is hosted once every five years in Louisville. Penn College culinary students and faculty have previously worked at the Breeder’s Cup and the Kentucky Derby thanks to invitations by ARAMARK, the corporation contracted to cater the festivities.

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