College's TV Series Honored in Communicator Awards Competition

Published 01.13.2004


Pennsylvania College of Technology's two television series have been honored in The Communicator Awards 2003 Video Competition.

The College's national public television cooking series, "You're the Chef," received the competition's highest honor, the Crystal Award of Excellence, while The Pennsylvania State University affiliate's public affairs show, "Penn College & You," received Honorable Mention recognition.

The Communicator Awards is an international competition recognizing outstanding work in the communications field. Entries are judged by industry professionals, who honor companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.

In the 2003 Video Competition, there were 2,867 entries from 48 states, the District of Columbia and 11 other countries. Approximately 15 percent of all entries received the prestigious Crystal Award of Excellence, presented to entrants whose ability to communicate elevates them to among the best in the field.

An episode from the current "You're the Chef" season, "Tasty Tarts," captured the Crystal Award of Excellence. The episode showcases the preparation of Zucchini Saga Blue Tart, Fontina & Tomato Tart, and Toasted French Bread with Brie and Fruit, as well as cheese-buying tips at a grocery store.

"You're the Chef" is hosted by Chef Paul Mach, an assistant professor in Penn College's School of Hospitality, and Tom Speicher, broadcast media specialist. The series, which features practical recipes made with readily available ingredients, is a co-production between Penn College and WVIA-TV, the PBS-member station serving Northeastern and Northcentral Pennsylvania. Kris Hendrickson of WVIA directed and edited the winning episode.

"This award reflects the successful collaboration between Penn College and WVIA with 'You're the Chef,'" said Speicher, who also serves as the series' executive producer. "As well, it's a tribute to the dedicated effort of several students."

School of Hospitality students Errol L. Bell of Milton, Elizabeth M. Brown of Sayre and Rachel S. Hall of Altoona served as "You're the Chef" interns, assisting Mach with cooking procedures and taking turns introducing each episode and hosting 45-second "Cooking Key" segments related to the day's featured dish. A fourth student, Mark A. Blanchard of Watsontown, a Graphic Communications Management major, worked as a show researcher and digital photographer.

Since going national in 2001, "You're the Chef" has aired in about half of the United States including all five of the nation's top markets and internationally in Japan. The series has won numerous honors, including two Telly Awards and two Mid-Atlantic Emmy nominations.

With coverage via the DISH Network satellite system, 37 cable affiliates in 14 states and broadcast station WFMZ in Allentown, "Penn College & You" is distributed to more than 13.5 million television homes. An episode from the current season, "Diversity of Life," earned Honorable Mention recognition in The Communicator Awards 2003 Video Competition. Such recognition is given to entrants who meet the high standards of industry.

The episode offers the expertise of Dr. Carol J. Kafer, associate professor of biology at Penn College, as her students survey a local creek for macroinvertebrates. "Penn College & You," which has won two Telly Awards among numerous honors, is hosted by Speicher. The series is a co-production between the College and SusCom, Williamsport's cable company.

Michael G. Strunk, production manager at SusCom, directed and edited the episode that was honored. The production featured the videography expertise of Jeffrey Campbell, production technician at SusCom, and Christopher J. Leigh, digital media developer at Penn College.