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Students Work, Learn Alongside Visiting Chef

Penn College students worked alongside renowned Chef David Danielson, executive chef at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, during last week’s Spring 2016 Visiting Chef Series. During Danielson’s stay on campus, he led the students in preparing a five-course meal that benefits scholarship funds. In addition, he conducted interviews to select students who will join the Churchill Downs culinary team to serve well over 100,000 Kentucky Derby visitors in May. In addition to Churchill Downs, Danielson has worked in top kitchens around the world, including his term as executive chef at the United Nations Plaza Hotel in New York, and catered such large-scale event as the Super Bowl, U.S. Open Tennis Tournament and Grammy Awards.


– Photos by Jennifer A. Cline, writer/editor-One College Avenue

During day-ahead preparations Chef David Danielson discusses the menu with students Vincent M. Mass, of Staten Island; Jacob O. Spencer, of Millersville; and James E. Culp, of Northumberland.
During day-ahead preparations Chef David Danielson discusses the menu with students Vincent M. Mass, of Staten Island; Jacob O. Spencer, of Millersville; and James E. Culp, of Northumberland.

Chef Danielson shares a bit of kitchen wisdom, gleaned from 20 years of experience.
Chef Danielson shares a bit of kitchen wisdom, gleaned from 20 years of experience.

Students Patrick R. Cook, of Tioga; Kathryn R. Knause, of Catawissa; and James E. Culp, of Northumberland, absorb the chef’s advice.
Students Patrick R. Cook, of Tioga; Kathryn R. Knause, of Catawissa; and James E. Culp, of Northumberland, absorb the chef’s advice.

Students prepare vegetables that will later provide color to dinner courses.
Students prepare vegetables that will later provide color to dinner courses.

Jaclyn C. Gregg, of Warriors Mark, chars carrots that will be used on the fourth course: bourbon barrel stout braised short rib and Louismill smoked mascarpone grits.
Jaclyn C. Gregg, of Warriors Mark, chars carrots that will be used on the fourth course: bourbon barrel stout braised short rib and Louismill smoked mascarpone grits.

Danielson checks the work of student Colleen S. Masteller, of Williamsport.
Danielson checks the work of student Colleen S. Masteller, of Williamsport.

Danielson demonstrates where to add crème fraiche to the first course before handing the pastry bag to student Wyatt E. Fink, of Cogan Station (right).
Danielson demonstrates where to add crème fraiche to the first course before handing the pastry bag to student Wyatt E. Fink, of Cogan Station (right).

Student Nathan J. Schell, of Bloomsburg, adds cardamom “soil” to a plate of tiny garden vegetables.
Student Nathan J. Schell, of Bloomsburg, adds cardamom “soil” to a plate of tiny garden vegetables.

Senior Christopher S. Kasler, of Kendall Park, N.J., adds crème fraiche to the first course.
Senior Christopher S. Kasler, of Kendall Park, N.J., adds crème fraiche to the first course.

Slivers of fresh beets join a colorful plate.
Slivers of fresh beets join a colorful plate.

Students Katlyn J. Hackling, of Williamsport, and Magdalen C. Bennett, of Erie, carefully place beets on a plate.
Students Katlyn J. Hackling, of Williamsport, and Magdalen C. Bennett, of Erie, carefully place beets on a plate.

Student Kassandra S. Sellinger, of Linden, adds nasturtium petals as Christopher S. Kasler, of Kendall Park, N.J., observes.
Student Kassandra S. Sellinger, of Linden, adds nasturtium petals as Christopher S. Kasler, of Kendall Park, N.J., observes.

Student Kendra J. Riggle, of Montoursville, adds the base layer to the second course.
Student Kendra J. Riggle, of Montoursville, adds the base layer to the second course.

The first course: lemon goat-cheese panna cotta with tiny garden vegetables, romaine crème fraiche and cardamom "soil"
The first course: lemon goat-cheese panna cotta with tiny garden vegetables, romaine crème fraiche and cardamom “soil”

Danielson gives his endorsement to a plating scheme for the dessert course.
Danielson gives his endorsement to a plating scheme for the dessert course.

A garden on a plate: lemon goat-cheese panna cotta with tiny garden vegetables, romaine crème fraiche and cardamom "soil"
A garden on a plate: lemon goat-cheese panna cotta with tiny garden vegetables, romaine crème fraiche and cardamom “soil”

A Southern-inspired dessert: beignets fried in pork fat and served with bourbon caramel and pecan-praline ice cream with a Churchill Downs “Twin Spires”-inspired chocolate garnish.
A Southern-inspired dessert: beignets fried in pork fat and served with bourbon caramel and pecan-praline ice cream with a Churchill Downs “Twin Spires”-inspired chocolate garnish.

Course two: Pickled shrimp with corn espuma, radish, Espalette and nasturtium-herb salad
Course two: Pickled shrimp with corn espuma, radish, Espalette and nasturtium-herb salad

Danielson demonstrates plating for the third course, pecan wood-smoked duck breast with braised turnips, pear gel, sorrel and hard-spiced spiked cider reduction.
Danielson demonstrates plating for the third course, pecan wood-smoked duck breast with braised turnips, pear gel, sorrel and hard-spiced spiked cider reduction.

Danielson shows how to add the final touch, carrot jus, to the fourth course: bourbon barrel stout braised short rib with Louismill smoked mascarpone grits and charred carrots.
Danielson shows how to add the final touch, carrot jus, to the fourth course: bourbon barrel stout braised short rib with Louismill smoked mascarpone grits and charred carrots.

Student Kayla M. Peters, of Pine Grove, artfully adds bourbon caramel to a plate.
Student Kayla M. Peters, of Pine Grove, artfully adds bourbon caramel to a plate.

Students Natascha G. Santaella, of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and Keegan D. Sonney, of Erie, douse hot-from-the-fryer beignets with bourbon caramel sauce.
Students Natascha G. Santaella, of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and Keegan D. Sonney, of Erie, douse hot-from-the-fryer beignets with bourbon caramel sauce.

Student Laura M. Ferrand, of Moutainhome, brushes caramel across a plate.
Student Laura M. Ferrand, of Moutainhome, brushes caramel across a plate.

Paige E. Pearson, of Williamsburg, adds beignets to the dessert plate.
Paige E. Pearson, of Williamsburg, adds beignets to the dessert plate.

 

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