Culinary Cornerstones Give Students a Chance to Take Charge | News, Sports, Jobs
WILLIAMSPORT – The first cohort of culinary arts students who completed a three-semester associate’s degree at Pennsylvania College of Technology recently put their skills to the test as each developed a full dinner menu – and served as chef de kitchen – at the college’s Le Jeune Chef restaurant. .
“I wanted this class to focus on preparing for what they are going to do when they leave here, as opposed to what they have already done here” said Chef Christopher R. Grove, Executive Chef of Young Chef and Culinary Capstone Course Instructor.
Student tasks included developing a thematic five-course menu, including determining costs, completing order forms, preparing cooking homework for other students (and the class teacher), ensuring product quality on the evening of service and problem solving along the way.
“The whole idea of ââthis class is that they get a taste of what it’s going to be in the industry,” Grove explained, shortly after giving the student responsible for the evening taste and approval of the dish he was preparing. âThey answer questions and put out fires. “
Students took the opportunity to both honor their roots and step out of their comfort zone.
Alexis J. Muthler-Harris, of Williamsport, chose a Southern-themed menu that included fried Cajun stuffed eggs.
“I was making a daring gesture with that”, she said. âI didn’t know if it was going to turn out, but they were good! They were better than regular stuffed eggs.
Palin J. Hurst of Gardners chose a gastronomic pub theme.
âEverywhere I worked, I worked either in pubs or in fast paced places. “ he said.
One of his favorite dishes on the menu was a âBacon bomb burgerâ on a brioche bun with homemade bacon jam, pickled red onions and Gouda cheese. The class chopped their own meat for the burger, incorporating lamb and made the bacon jam.
“I had bought some (jam) but I wanted to make some myself” Hurst said. âI love this stuff. It was awesome.
He said he had learned he could be more flexible in the kitchen, not always sticking to exact measurements.
“You can kind of be yourself with the food and add your own flair to things” Hurst said.
State College’s Charlie M. Suchanec presented a Slovak menu reminiscent of the Christmas Eve dinner his family shares each year.
It even included the “infamous soup that I will never be able to eat because I don’t like it.”
What excited him was a lesson from Pierogi.
“These are sort of Slovak-style hamburger pierogis with ground pork, Hungarian peppers, onions and garlic,” Suchanec describes.
“It’s much more open” he said of the synthesis course. âIt gives you freedom. In other courses, they give you the menu and tell you what to do, but it gives you the freedom to do whatever you want to do.
He felt ready to take on the task, he said, adding that a few semesters ago he couldn’t have done it.
“We tried to integrate all areas of the program and include them in a course that would introduce all aspects of what makes a chef a great chef”, said Chef Frank M. Suchwala, Associate Professor of Hospitality Management / Culinary Arts, who collaborated with Chef Todd M. Keeley, Assistant Professor of Baking and Pastry / Culinary Arts, to write the course summary.
One of its objectives is to allow students to practice and implement different stages of running a professional kitchen at a managerial level.
During the final week of the class, students received career search advice, including resume writing skills.
“I am very proud of the students, who have succeeded under the rigors of a three-semester schedule,” said Suchwala, who also serves as a head teacher for baking and cooking.
Penn College offers three-semester associate’s degrees and 12-month certificates in Culinary Arts, as well as the Bakery and Pastry Arts. All of them can be pursued towards a bachelor’s degree in business administration or applied management. To learn more, call 570-327-4505 or visit www.pct.edu/culinary.
For more information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, visit www.pct.edu, email [email protected], or call the toll-free number 800-367-9222.