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‘You’re the Chef’ Has the Right Recipe and New Affiliates

“You’re the Chef,” Pennsylvania College of Technology’s popular television cooking series, obviously has the right recipe.

The show airs Saturdays at 1:30 p.m. on WVIA, the public television station out of Pittston. In the latest Nielsen television ratings, the series won its time slot and improved the station’s ratings 20 percent over the time slot’s performance a year ago.

“The show has been very well received,” stated Mark Thomas, vice president of television at WVIA. “I was very happy when I saw the ratings, and I was pleased with the metropolitan numbers for Wilkes-Barre, Scranton and Hazleton. It’s not just Williamsport people watching the show. People in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton and Hazleton see it as another fine cooking show.”

Another testament to the series’ success “You’re the Chef” has been picked up by two other PBS affiliates. WPSX, in State College, now airs the series on Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. WITF, the Harrisburg public television station, will air the show Mondays at 1 p.m., beginning March 29.

“We’re very happy and pleased that other public television stations are picking up the program,” Thomas commented. “With all the shows and opportunities programmers have to choose from, for them to be interested in ‘You’re the Chef’ tells you that they believe it’s a quality show and they are proud to make it a part of their lineup.”

“You’re the Chef” also has gained the support of UpLink Internet Services. The Williamsport-based Internet service provider is the exclusive sponsor of the show’s initial season.

G. Walter Reed, president of UpLink, stated, “We’re proud to be associated with the College and ‘You’re the Chef.’ For a first-year run, the series has done real well. Our company’s support of ‘You’re the Chef’ is based as much on our desire to support Penn College as it is for the advertising value associated with the show. We are tickled to death to have the opportunity to be associated with the College and give the show a jumpstart.”

Another Williamsport business, Wegmans, donates the food products for the show.

“You’re the Chef” is hosted by Chef Paul Mach, assistant professor of food & hospitality management/culinary arts at Penn College, and Tom Speicher, the College’s broadcast media specialist. Mach offers his professional expertise and Speicher serves as the novice cook. To appeal to a wide range of viewers, the series also strives to be challenging for the more advanced home chef, yet not intimidating for the inexperienced cook.

Additionally, the Nielsen ratings show that “You’re the Chef” appeals to different ages.

“The show is bridging a gap. It’s attractive to traditional viewers of public television cooking shows, but is also attracting younger people who have not watched public television cooking shows in the past,” cited Thomas. “It’s exciting to be bringing younger viewers to public television. I think the reason it attracts the younger demographic has to do with the energy of the show, the fun and enjoyment both Paul and Tom have in working on the recipes. It’s a high-energy cooking show. It moves.

“Another aspect is that the show, for the most part, is presenting recipes that you can do in a short time period. With how busy people are today, they don’t have time to invest two hours in a meal. Paul and Tom are showing that they can create a good meal and not be locked in the kitchen for an hour and a half.”

“You’re the Chef” began airing on WVIA in October. The fact that the show already is winning its time slot is unusual for a new program.

“For a program to only be on the air for a few weeks and increase the audience by 20 percent is a testament to how well received the show is and how much fun people are having with the program,” Thomas added.

Web surfers also are having fun with the online version of “You’re the Chef,” which provides mouth-watering recipes and tasty “You’re the Chef” tidbits. The Web site designed by Juan Rowland, a student from Spain who is enrolled in the College’s bachelor degree major in computer information technology/analysis and design concentration facilitates interaction with Chef Paul and allows visitors to submit recipes for the show’s “Recipe Cravings Contest.”

WVIA has committed to keeping “You’re the Chef” on the air beyond the initial 26 weeks of its contract. Thomas says the station may even move the show to a new time slot in the summer months, so it can be found by additional viewers.

“We are committed to continue to present the program. We want the program to grow,” Thomas said. “We hope and believe that this is the start of a very bright future for the show not only in Pennsylvania, but around the country.”