Penn College Students Assist Food Network Star at PA Farm Show

An “Iron Chef” was among the culinarians who joined Pennsylvania College of Technology students to showcase the quality ingredients produced by Pennsylvania farms at the state Farm Show.

The students volunteered the final days of their winter break at the event, where they worked with some of Pennsylvania’s best chefs – and Food Network star Chef Alex Guarnaschelli – to prepare ingredients for the chefs’ demonstrations on the PA Preferred Culinary Connection stage and to cook samples of the recipes for Farm Show visitors.

Penn College students (from left) Amaris T. Smith, of Williamsport, Bridget M. Callahan, of Pottsville, Jacob W. Parobek, of Seltzer, Brittany L. Mink, of Allentown; and Paul J. Herceg, of Chalfont, are among 11 Penn College student volunteers who helped to showcase recipes made from quality Pennsylvania ingredients at the 2018 Pennsylvania Farm Show.

During two demonstrations, Guarnaschelli taught audiences to make stuffed white mushrooms and broiled cauliflower steaks, both recipes from her latest cookbook. Backstage, she provided guidance to the students as they prepared samples of her dishes.

“It has been a pleasure to work with these students today,” Guarnaschelli said. “I think that if they learned nothing else, they learned the importance of salt in amplifying flavor and that, without it, everything else is just fluff.”

While at the Farm Show, Penn College students facilitated two days of demonstrations by 11 chefs, including four Penn College alumni and two faculty members: Michael J. Ditchfield, instructor of hospitality management/culinary arts; Darren Layre, ’15, sous chef at Eleven, Pittsburgh; Paul Mach, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts; Richard McGlynn III, garde manger chef at Morcilla, Pittsburgh; Lance Smith, ’06, executive chef of The Millworks, Harrisburg; and Kristina Wisneski, ’13, executive chef of Enoteca Tredici, Bryn Mawr.

At the 2018 Farm Show, Penn College student Paul J. Herceg, of Chalfont, provides on-stage assistance to Food Network star Chef Alex Guarnaschelli (center), who is also accompanied by mushroom farmer David Santucci as she demonstrates her recipe for broiled cauliflower steaks. Herceg is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and systems.

Each demonstration recipe was assigned to a student, who took charge of its preparation. The students also lent a hand to chefs on-stage, mixing, chopping or otherwise ensuring each demonstration ran smoothly.

Students volunteering at the Farm Show were: William D. Benedetto, of Howard; Bridget M. Callahan, of Pottsville; Tyler C. Geer, of Wellsboro; Paul J. Herceg, of Chalfont; Olivia M. Lunger, of Elysburg; Brittany L. Mink, of Allentown; Stephanie C. Myers, of Catawissa; Jacob W. Parobek, of Seltzer; Amaris T. Smith, of Williamsport; Kelsie F. Thomas, of Darby; and Danielle R. Wesneski, of Williamsport.

They were accompanied by Ditchfield and Chef Todd M. Keeley, instructor of baking and pastry arts.

Most of the students are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts and systems. Geer, Lunger and Wesneski are pursuing degrees in baking and pastry arts. Thomas is pursuing a degree in culinary arts technology, and Mink, who earned an associate degree in baking and pastry arts in 2016, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied management.

To learn more about hospitality majors at Penn College, call 570-327-4505.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

– Photos by Jennifer A. Cline, writer/magazine editor;
Sarah R. Shott, coordinator of admissions operations; Kimberly R. Cassel, director of alumni relations;
and Joshua E. Rosenberger, a residential construction technology and management: building construction technology concentration student

Myers with Executive Chef Kurt Wewer of The Garlic Poet. Myers and Jacob W. Parobek took charge of preparing his recipes and assisting him on-stage as needed.

Myers with Executive Chef Kurt Wewer of The Garlic Poet. Myers and Jacob W. Parobek took charge of preparing his recipes and assisting him on-stage as needed.

Alum Rich McGlynn (in orange) joins students in assembling 300 falafel taco samples.

Alum Rich McGlynn (in orange) joins students in assembling 300 falafel taco samples.

Chef Paul Mach with Mink

Chef Paul Mach with Mink

Students assemble falafel taco samples for presentation by Kristin Messner-Baker of The Vegetable Hunter. (The hand belongs to McGlynn.)

Students assemble falafel taco samples for presentation by Kristin Messner-Baker of The Vegetable Hunter. (The hand belongs to McGlynn.)

Students from team “Ninjas with Cupcakes” review the scoring criteria for the School Cooking Challenge. From left are Myers, Thomas, Wesneski, Geer and Lunger.

Students from team “Ninjas with Cupcakes” review the scoring criteria for the School Cooking Challenge. From left are Myers, Thomas, Wesneski, Geer and Lunger.

Students (from left) – Parobek, Smith, Herceg and Callahan – dig into their mystery market basket to learn the required ingredients.

Students (from left) – Parobek, Smith, Herceg and Callahan – dig into their mystery market basket to learn the required ingredients.

Geer focuses on the challenge at hand.

Geer focuses on the challenge at hand.

Patrick Andrews, division chief of markets for the state Department of Agriculture, asks Thomas about Team Ninjas with Cupcakes’ strategy.

Patrick Andrews, division chief of markets for the state Department of Agriculture, asks Thomas about Team Ninjas with Cupcakes’ strategy.

The Dream Team's Herceg begins plating the group's dessert. In background are teammates Smith, Mink and Callahan.

The Dream Team’s Herceg begins plating the group’s dessert. In background are teammates Smith, Mink and Callahan.

Benedetto and Lunger keep their cool under the stage lights and the pressure of competition.

Benedetto and Lunger keep their cool under the stage lights and the pressure of competition.

Team Ninjas with Cupcakes' final dish in the School Cooking Challenge

Team Ninjas with Cupcakes’ final dish in the School Cooking Challenge

Judges receive and inspect their plates, using their eyes and noses before digging in.

Judges receive and inspect their plates, using their eyes and noses before digging in.

Alumnus/judge McGlynn marks his score sheet.

Alumnus/judge McGlynn marks his score sheet.

Nursing education's Samatha M. Weaver (background), learning laboratory coordinator, and Jessica L. Bower, simulation laboratory coordinator, employ "Sim Jr." to replicate real-world health care.

Nursing education’s Samatha M. Weaver (background), learning laboratory coordinator, and Jessica L. Bower, simulation laboratory coordinator, employ “Sim Jr.” to replicate real-world health care.

Scott A. Geist (right), director of the college's Surgical Technology Program, guides a visitor through a mock laparoscopy.

Scott A. Geist (right), director of the college’s Surgical Technology Program, guides a visitor through a mock laparoscopy.

The School of Construction & Design Technologies turns woodwork into goodwill, helping Farm Show patrons assemble keepsake toolboxes adorned with the Penn College brand.

The School of Construction & Design Technologies turns woodwork into goodwill, helping Farm Show patrons assemble keepsake toolboxes adorned with the Penn College brand.

Construction students lend a helping hand to young builders ...

Construction students lend a helping hand to young builders …

... and seasoned carpenters alike.

… and seasoned carpenters alike.

Admissions counselor Lee A. Dawson (right) watches a young guest wield a virtual-reality automotive paint-sprayer.

Admissions counselor Lee A. Dawson (right) watches a young guest wield a virtual-reality automotive paint-sprayer.

Pick a day, any day, and Penn College's booth will be a popular attraction.

Pick a day, any day, and Penn College’s booth will be a popular attraction.

Carl J. Bower Jr., assistant professor of horticulture, helps a child to plant a white pine tree. The child’s father said they have the perfect spot: outside the cabin the two have been fixing up.

Carl J. Bower Jr., assistant professor of horticulture, helps a child to plant a white pine tree. The child’s father said they have the perfect spot: outside the cabin the two have been fixing up.

Justin Shelinski, laboratory assistant for horticulture, dishes the dirt with youngsters. Joining him in staffing the booth is Andrew Bartholomay, assistant professor of forestry.

Justin Shelinski, laboratory assistant for horticulture, dishes the dirt with youngsters. Joining him in staffing the booth is Andrew Bartholomay, assistant professor of forestry.

Timothy L. Yarrington, instructor in the college's brewing and fermentation major, is interviewed by Pennsylvania Cable Network ...

Timothy L. Yarrington, instructor in the college’s brewing and fermentation major, is interviewed by Pennsylvania Cable Network …

... and represents the School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications with D. Robert Cooley, associate professor of anthropology/environmental science.

… and represents the School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications with D. Robert Cooley, associate professor of anthropology/environmental science.

 

 

 

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Pennsylvania College of Technology is a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University