Le Jeune Chef Restaurant Dishes Up Something New This Fall
Reservations have been hard to come by for the Classical Cuisine dinners, served only once a week at Pennsylvania College of Technology's Le Jeune Chef Restaurant. The Thursday evening dinners, featuring multi-course European menus at a low, preset price, have sold out weeks or even months in advance for years.
The success of Classical Cuisine has prompted the addition of a similar offering this fall. Beginning in Sept., restaurant patrons can enjoy multi-course menus at fixed prices Wednesday through Friday. Regional American Cuisine will be featured Wednesday and Friday; Classical European dinners will continue on Thursday.
What makes the demand for these dinners so great? Peter Hellermann, general manager of Le Jeune Chef, says it is the food, the atmosphere and the price. For $21.95 per person, the Classical Cuisine and Regional American Cuisine dinners offer a five-course (or more) dinner focused on a specific region. Additionally, patrons can sample wine flights featuring three to four different wines, chosen especially to complement the evening's menu. In a commercial restaurant, patrons would expect to pay five times the price for a similar dining experience, Hellermann says.
"That is part of our appeal as a teaching laboratory; we can offer a fine dining experience at an exceptional cost savings. We have guests who come regularly to enjoy the food and the wine. They are never disappointed," Hellermann insists.andnbsp;
It is especially exciting for Hellermann and William Butler, dean of the School of Hospitality, to note that Penn College students are in the kitchen Wednesday through Friday evenings preparing these exquisite dinners. (Professional staff prepare dinners Tuesday and Saturday.) Students also prepare Le Jeune Chef's popular Sunday brunch, as well as special Wednesday and Thursday morning breakfasts.
"We added the Thursday morning breakfast this fall," Butler says, "because we believe it gives Penn College employees, as well as the general public, a good opportunity to hold breakfast meetings here in our restaurant."
The School of Hospitality's dean says the hands-on experience the restaurant provides for its students is priceless.andnbsp;
"As our patrons well know, Le Jeune Chef is a very, very fine restaurant. For our students to have the opportunity to prepare and serve in such a sophisticated setting is incredible."
Hellermann believes the patrons also benefit from the educational environment.andnbsp;
"The entire theme of this establishment is 'An Education in Fine Dining'. It's what we offer to our guests as well as to the students. People come here to dine and to learn about foods and wines they may have never experienced before. We love to share what we know with our guests and they enjoy learning."
Penn College students and the Le Jeune Chef staff also enjoy the opportunity each year to learn from some of the world's most renowned chefs. This fall, Chef John Folse, the "Cajun King" of Louisiana, will return for his fourth visit to campus. Internationally acclaimed, Folse expects to bring along five to six of his best chef friends including Leah Chase, the "Creole Queen," to work with students and serve a special fundraising dinner in late Oct..andnbsp;
Throughout the fall, Le Jeune Chef patrons also will enjoy new menu offerings, including those made possible by the addition this summer of a wood-fired, beehive oven and a wood, charcoal and gas-fired rotisserie.andnbsp;
Butler said the oven kit was donated to the College by Renato Industries and is valued at about $4,000. Students from a number of Penn College majors had the opportunity to get the oven in place for use in the restaurant. Welding students designed and built a stand to hold the oven; masonry students assembled the kit and fit the oven in the stand and forestry students began providing the wood needed to fire it. Butler said cabinetmaking students also have assisted the School of Hospitality and Le Jeune Chef by building desks and display cases.
Another collaborative event at Penn College and Le Jeune Chef this fall will be hosting International Week at Penn College, Sept.13-18. While the campus comes alive with a variety of internationally themed events, the restaurant will offer a special luncheon menu that offers a global flavor.
Let Them Eat Brunch! Penn College students love eating brunch at Le Jeune Chef. In fact, the Sunday morning brunch has become so popular among students that the restaurant now plans to serve a brunch just for students, in addition to its regular brunch, every Sunday morning while fall classes are in session.
Beginning Sept. 19, Penn College students with a College meal plan will be able to enjoy a Le Jeune Chef brunch at a special price of only $5.95. The students' brunch will be served in the campus Susquehanna Room. Le Jeune Chef also will continue to offer a regular $9.95 brunch to the public in the restaurant.
"We have not forgotten that students also are customers," said William Butler, dean of the School of Hospitality, which oversees management of Le Jeune Chef.
Classical Cuisine Sept. 16 Paris and Champagne Sept. 23 Provence Sept. 30 Loire Oct. 7 Southern Italy Oct. 14 Central Italy Oct. 28 Northern Italy Nov. 4 Spain Nov. 11 Bordeaux Nov. 18 Burgundy Beaujolais Nouveau
Regional American Cuisine Sept. 15 and 17 Southwest Sept. 24 Low Country/Deep South Sept. 29 and Oct. 1 Pacific Rim Oct. 6 and 8 New England Oct. 13 and 22 Susquehanna River Oct. 27 and 29 andnbsp;Wild Game Nov. 3 and 5 Pacific Rim Nov. 10 and 12 New Orleans Cajun/Creole Nov. 17 and 19 New York City
Cost: $5.25 includes entree, soup, bread andamp; butter, coffee, tea, iced tea
Soup Gazpacho Andalusia (Spain) Cold, pureed tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and onion
Mulligatawny (Indonesia) Chicken curry soup
Sopa De Fejoda Nero (Brazil) Black bean soup
Salad Entrees Ensalada De Noche Buena (Mexico) Mexican Christmas salad with beets, jicama, red apples, sliced oranges and bananas topped withandnbsp; peanuts, pine nuts and pomegranate seed, served on a bed of Romaine lettuce with orange, apple and beet vinaigrette on the side
Salad Zakuska (Russia) Russian vegetable salad with diced carrots, white beans, green beans, mushrooms, pickles andandnbsp; beets garnished with julienne of smoked ham, quartered hard-boiled eggs and capers and light mustard and sour cream mayonnaise on the side
Salad Verte Melange (France) Tender greens of romaine, bibb, escarole, red leaf lettuce garnished with cucumber, tomato, radishes, slices of chicken breast, Belgium endive and garlic croutons served with a classic Dijon style vinaigrette
Entrees Mechoui-Style Leg of Lamb (North Africa) Moroccan roast leg of lamb with cumin, mint and chili served with cous cous and mint nectarineandnbsp; chutney
Biokosso (Africa) Southern Ivory Coast snapper with habanero chili, tomatoes, garlic and onions served with orzo rice slivered almonds, orange segments and stewed African okra
Murghi Pellao Khasa (India) Indian chicken breast with ginger, cardamon, onions and crushed peppercorns served withandnbsp; basmati rice pilaf and apple peach chutney
Zuricher Geschnatzeltes (Switzerland) Julienne of tender veal, Zurich style, sauteed with chopped onions and mushrooms, finished with Chardonnay cream sauce and finely chopped parsley and served with roesti potatoes
Cantonese Stir Fry (China) Classic Chinese stir fry with thinly sliced beef, snow peas, red and green peppers, bok choy onions, garlic, shittake, soy bean sprout and water chestnuts served with fried rice
Tabbouleh (Middle East) Vegetarian delight with burghul, cous cous, rice, millets, sorghum, eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, mushroom and fresh rainbow peppers served with fried banana and dates
Desserts ($2.50 each) Apfel Strudel (Vienna, Austria) Apple Strudel Schwartzwalder Kirsch Torte (Germany) Chocolate Layer Cake Pesca Zabaglione (Italy) Poached peaches andamp; ice cream in brandy/wine sauce
Also Cafe Mozart, Cafe Espagnole, cappuccino or Mocha Iced Caffe - $2.25