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‘You’re the Chef’ Expands Menu for 14 Fourth-Season Episodes

Pennsylvania College of Technology will meet the culinary cravings of public television viewers across northeastern Pennsylvania with a fourth serving of its acclaimed national cooking series, “You’re the Chef.” The Telly Award-winning show will begin its fourth season Saturday, Oct. 20, at 12:30 p.m. on WVIA-TV.

“If asking for seconds is the sign of a good meal, requesting fourths must be indicative of gourmet dishes and fun times,” said Tom Speicher, co-host and co-executive producer of “You’re the Chef.” “We will meet those viewer expectations with our new season. Everything from the sumptuous food to the playful banter to the high production values really jelled this year. This season’s shows are among the series’ best.”

Featuring the expertise of Penn College’s School of Hospitality, “You’re the Chef’s” 14 new episodes range from “Super Stuffed Tenderloin” to “Sinful Sweets” to “Backyard Barbecue.” Twelve of the shows were shot in a functional kitchen set designed and constructed by students, faculty and staff from the School of Construction and Design Technologies at the College’s main campus in Williamsport. Two grilling shows were produced outdoors in a College courtyard. All the episodes were taped during the summer.

“We expanded our menu offerings for this season,” noted Chef Paul Mach, an assistant professor at Penn College’s School of Hospitality and “You’re the Chef” co-host. “For example, we’re offering lamb and veal recipes and featuring food from India. Viewers requested information on those products. We also looked at the entire meal from appetizers to desserts and made sure that we included recipes in all those different areas.”

As in past seasons, Mach won’t be the only School of Hospitality member dispensing culinary advice on “You’re the Chef.” Students Kathryn Haberle, Heidi Wheeland, Jay Harter and Nicole Beagle, along with School of Hospitality graduate Anthony Sabol, all host “Cooking Key” segments. Each 45-second “Cooking Key” elaborates on a culinary procedure utilized on “You’re the Chef.”

“The students did a very good job with their ‘Cooking Key’ spots,” Mach said. “They certainly play an important role in the show’s success. Fortunately, we could rely on the students to do the ‘Cooking Key’ segments. If we didn’t, Tom probably would have lobbied to do a ‘Cooking Key’ on how to make a grilled cheese sandwich!”

The refreshing interplay between Mach, a cooking pro with over 25 years’ experience, and Speicher, a culinary neophyte and notoriously picky eater whose favorite meal is tomato soup and grilled cheese, is one of “You’re the Chef’s” unique, positive distinguishing characteristics, according to Mark Thomas, vice president of television at WVIA, “You’re the Chef’s” producing station.

“Chef Paul and Tom make it fun to be in the kitchen,” noted Thomas, who serves as co-executive producer of the series. “Their on-camera relationship is better than ever. They provide a good learning experience for viewers and make it pleasurable to watch. From the beginning, our viewers have embraced the show.”

Since its 1998 premiere on public television, “You’re the Chef” consistently has won its Saturday afternoon time slot in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton television market and has exceeded the ratings of national cooking shows airing on WVIA.

Last spring, “You’re the Chef” joined the ranks of national cooking programs as the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), a main distributor of how-to programs, selected the series for nationwide distribution. In its initial round of national distribution, “You’re the Chef’s” third season aired in over 25 percent of the country, reaching a potential audience of more than 60 million viewers. Major markets included Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

“In terms of national distribution, last year was a great start for us,” said Speicher, who is a broadcast media specialist at the College. “With about 60 other public television cooking shows available to stations, it’s a very competitive market. We believe that we will build on the base that we’ve already established as NETA begins distributing us again this fall. With the support of WVIA, and especially our talented director/editor Kris Hendrickson, the series has never been stronger.”

This season, the show will begin airing in the nation’s No. 1 television market, New York City. It will debut on WLIW-TV on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 1:30 p.m.

Along with the comical chemistry between Mach and Speicher, the down-to-earth nature of the show is a chief ingredient in its success as “You’re the Chef” has evolved over the years from a local cable program to a public television favorite.

“In the new season, Tom captures the essence of the series when he begins each episode by emphasizing that ‘You’re the Chef’ features practical recipes made with readily available ingredients,” commented Thomas. “That practicality separates it from other shows. You can make Chef Paul’s recipes in a reasonable amount of time and not bust your family budget.”

All food products for the series come from Wegmans of Williamsport, the exclusive food sponsor of “You’re the Chef.”

“In addition to the food on each show and the recipes we highlight, we always demonstrate techniques that can be applied to other recipes,” Mach said. “We tried to emphasize technique a little more this season. As well, we continued to find things that Tom can’t eat, which isn’t too hard!”

The complete list of the fourth season episodes and recipes follows. More information on “You’re the Chef” is available online at chef.pct.edu.

#401 “Italian Night” Seafood Risotto; Bruschetta Roman Style

#402 “Party Snacks” Super Bowl Variety Quiche; Holiday Smoked Pork Strudel

#403 “Super Stuffed Tenderloin” Roast Tenderloin of Beef

#404 “Haystack Harvestfest”Autumn Pork Saut e with Apple & Butternut Squash

#405 “Catch of the Day” Smoked Salmon Radiatore; Farmer’s Market Ratatouille & Tilapia

#406 “Sinful Sweets” Caramel Apple Cheesecake; Peanut Butter Cheesecake

#407 “Soup Special” Oven Roasted Tomato Soup; Creamy Winter Squash & Leek Soup

#408 “Indian Delicacy” Chicken Vindaloo with Basmati Rice & Raita

#409 “Lots of Lamb” Roasted Boneless Stuffed Leg of Lamb; Wild Rice Pancakes

#410 “Love Food” Oyster & Champagne Stew; Sauteed Apple Crepes

#411 “Mushroom & Meat Combo” Wild Mushroom Strudel; Sauteed Veal with Mushroom Cream

#412 “Cajun Cooking” Chicken, Sausage & Oyster Gumbo; Pineapple Bread Pudding

#413 “Grub on the Grill” Grilled Swordfish; Thai Pork Loin; Mediterranean Bread Salad

#414 “Backyard Barbecue” Grill Smoked Turkey Breast; Tomato Goat Cheese Salad.

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