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Students Pair With Chefs During Pennsylvania Palate Contest


Pennsylvania College of Technology culinary arts and systems student Brian M. Toomey, of Danville, left, works with Mark Pawlowski, of The Yorktowne Hotel, during the Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association%E2%80%99s Pennsylvania Palate Competition.Pennsylvania College of Technology students served as assistants to Pennsylvania chefs competing in the Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association’s “Pennsylvania Palate Competition.”

The competition closed the association’s fourth annual Food and Beverage Conference, themed “Shift Your Focus,” which was held Feb. 23 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College.

Eight Pennsylvania chefs most from hotels were invited to compete, and each was paired with a Penn College student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and systems. The students worked alongside the chefs to assist in creating a featured entrée with accompaniments. At the competition’s opening, each team was assigned a mystery protein and given three hours to devise their offering and create appetizer-sized portions for 100.

The students are seniors enrolled in a course called Culinary Competition and Skills Assessment, taught by Chef Judith P. Shimp, associate professor of hospitality management/culinary arts. At the end of the capstone course, students will compete against one another to create a five-course meal for five to 10 in the kitchens of Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, the college’s public fine-dining facility and hands-on laboratory for School of Hospitality students.

Penn College students who participated in Pennsylvania Palate are:

  • Noah C. Bech, of Philadelphia, was paired with Claudine Cooper, of University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.
  • Jeffrey S. Byron, of Milford, Conn., was paired with Eileen Watkin, of the Hilton Inn at Penn, who won the contest’s Best of Show award.
  • Matthew S. Dansky, of State College, assisted Gaurav Navin, of Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, who won the Best Use of Local/Organic Foods award.
  • James Kyle Hanjaras, of Montrose, was paired with George Gerhart, of K&G Consulting.
  • George E. Logue, of Williamsport, was paired with James Christman, of the Holiday Inn Pittsburgh Airport.
  • Chris W. Stokoe, of Hatfield, assisted Justin Helmer, of Bryn Mawr College.
  • Brian M. Toomey, of Danville, worked with Mark Pawlowski, of The Yorktowne Hotel, who received the contest’s Most Creative award.
  • William Brady West, of Wyomissing, was paired with Shelley Funt, of Best Western Gettysburg Hotel and a 1992 Penn College graduate.

Eleven culinary arts and systems students from Penn College assisted Pennsylvania chefs as they competed in the Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association%E2%80%99s Pennsylvania Palate Competition.Students Elisabeth J. Callahan, of McSherrystown; Tyler S. Shoup, of Muncy; and Michael R. Yaw, of Trout Run; were “floaters” who assisted all chef/student teams where needed.

Students said they took away lifelong lessons from the chefs with whom they worked, observing their organizational skills, listening and collaboration skills, and improvisation, as well as learning new cooking styles.

“I learned some new flavor profiles and new cooking techniques,” said Dansky, who helped to make a dish inspired by Indian cuisine.

The students also attended workshops and spoke with vendors at a trade show that were both part of the Food and Beverage Conference.

For more information about the School of Hospitality at Penn College, call 570-327-4505 or visit online .

For general information about the college, visit on the Web , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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