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Truffles and technology: A/V link allows virtual visit by acclaimed chef

How better for students studying global cuisines to learn about cooking with truffles, the “black pearl” of the food world, than from an Italian chef who serves as an ambassador for the product?

Italy is one of the world’s top exporters of truffles. It is also the destination for a new global experience course at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

On Sept. 16, with the help of Audio/Visual Services, students in the Global Cuisine and Connections course connected with Chef Fabrizio Facchini, a brand ambassador for Urbani Truffles. Facchini, executive chef of several properties in New York City, has earned acclaim in both the U.S. and Italy, where his Antico Borgo was recognized in the Michelin Italy Guide.

Trevor M. Rosato, a culinary arts and systems student from Jersey Shore, speaks with Chef Facchini through the AVer VC520.
Trevor M. Rosato, a culinary arts and systems student from Jersey Shore, speaks with Chef Facchini through the AVer VC520.
An Aver VC520 portable conference camera and sound system, set up in a Hager Lifelong Education Center hospitality lab by Audio/Visual Services, allows Chef Fabrizio Facchini (on monitor) to direct a culinary arts class from his kitchen in New York.
An Aver VC520 portable conference camera and sound system, set up in a Hager Lifelong Education Center hospitality lab by Audio/Visual Services, allows Chef Fabrizio Facchini (on monitor) to direct a culinary arts class from his kitchen in New York.

Facchini (slated as the college’s Spring 2020 Visiting Chef before the event was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns) provided direction from his home kitchen as students, in a hospitality lab on campus, prepared dishes using truffle products donated by Urbani Truffles USA Inc. To facilitate the two-way interactions between students and chef, Amanda Whitesel, manager of audio/visual services, set up an AVer VC520 portable conference webcam and sound system.

Students’ dishes include a whipped ricotta cheese appetizer garnished with black truffle honey and fresh black truffle shavings.
Students’ dishes include a whipped ricotta cheese appetizer garnished with black truffle honey and fresh black truffle shavings.

Later that day, Facchini was joined by Sabrina Notarnicola, vice president of marketing and brand strategist for Urbani Truffles, in presenting a seminar on truffles in the Thompson Professional Development Center’s Mountain Laurel Room.

Students from the Global Cuisine and Connections class prepared whipped potatoes topped with black truffle butter and shaved black truffles for other students in attendance.

Chef Mary G. Trometter, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, sets an attractive display of truffle products, donated by Urbani Truffles, in the Thompson Professional Development Center, where, with the help of Audio/Visual Services, Facchini and Sabrina Notarnicola, of Urbani, taught students about truffles from a distance.
Chef Mary G. Trometter, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, sets an attractive display of truffle products, donated by Urbani Truffles, in the Thompson Professional Development Center, where, with the help of Audio/Visual Services, Facchini and Sabrina Notarnicola, of Urbani, taught students about truffles from a distance.

The event, again facilitated by Audio/Visual Services and a Logitech Meetup camera and microphone, concluded with a presentation by Giacomo Berselli, president of Marco Polo Program Abroad in Italy. Through the Marco Polo Program, students in the college’s new Global Food & Hospitality: Cuisine, Culture & Perspectives course, to be offered in the Spring 2022 semester, will make a trip to Italy in May.

Both Global Cuisines and Connections and the Global Food & Hospitality course are taught by Chef Mary G. Trometter, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, who provided the photos.

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