Visiting Chef to Share Experience Gained Across the World

Published 02.03.2006

Baking & Culinary

Walter StaibPennsylvania College of Technology will host its spring Visiting Chef Series Feb. 23-25, welcoming Walter Staib, accomplished chef and proprietor of City Tavern in Philadelphia.

While at the college, Staib will work alongside students, sharing his expertise as they prepare a benefit dinner on Saturday, Feb. 25, that will conclude the stay. Also working with students will be City Tavern's William Sederman, chef de cuisine, and John Burkart, chef patissier.

Staib grew up in a restaurant family in Pforzheim, Germany. By age 4, he was helping in his uncle's restaurant. He began his formal culinary training in 1960 as an apprentice at the Hotel Post, a historic five-star hotel nestled in Germany's Black Forest. The hotel is known for its high-profile clientele.

Over the next several years, Staib refined his culinary expertise at such establishments as the five-star Sommerberg Hotel in Bad Wildbad, Germany; the Chessery in Gstaad, Switzerland; and the five-star Casa Berno in Ascona, Switzerland.

Lured from Europe's finest hotels and resorts by the luxurious, private Mid America Club in Chicago, Staib made his American culinary debut in 1969. By 1972, he was the youngest executive chef in the highest-volume Hyatt Regency in the United States.

Over the next two decades, he took leading positions with Dunfy Hotels (later Omni Hotels) and became president of Davre's, owned by ARA Leisure Services. In these roles, he oversaw some of the nation's finest restaurants and five-star hotels. He also took a job for the Brazilian government, driving the implementation of several five-star resorts.

In 1989, he created Concepts by Staib, Ltd., a hospitality consulting firm specializing in turnkey restaurant concept development. In the past 10 years, he has successfully conceptualized and implemented more than 480 restaurants worldwide.

In 1994, Staib took over as operator of the City Tavern in Philadelphia, where he faithfully recreates the cuisine, ambience and experience unique to 18th century America. The current building is a replica of the original, which stood in the same place and served as the unofficial meeting place for the First Continental Congress.

Among his many honors, Staib was appointed Commandeur by the Association Internationale des Maitres Conseils en Gastronomie Francaise (1986) and was awarded the Silver Plate (1987), the hospitality and restaurant industry's highest honor. He was appointed the first Culinary Ambassador to the City of Philadelphia in 1996 and makes regular appearances on numerous local and national cooking shows.

Staib has penned two cookbooks chronicling 18th century American culinary history: "City Tavern Cookbook" and "City Tavern Baking and Dessert Cookbook," featuring gourmet recipes that are served at his City Tavern. A third book, "My Black Forest," is scheduled for release this fall and includes recipes and reminiscences from Staib's childhood in Pforzheim, Germany, and the surrounding area where he honed his culinary talent.

He will host a book talk and signing in the Penn College Library at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, to discuss all three works. The library is in the Learning Resources Center on the college's main campus.

Tickets for the seven-course Visiting Chef dinner, scheduled for 7 p.m. in the college's Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, are $125. Net proceeds will be used for annual scholarship awards and endowed scholarship funds. To reserve seats, call the Special Events Office at Penn College at (570) 320-5229.

The menu and wines for the Visiting Chef Series Dinner, themed as a tribute to Thomas Jefferson, are:

Appetizer Peppered Smoked Salmon on Angel Hair Frittata Creme Fraiche Chaddsford Winery, Pinot Grigio, 2004, Central Delaware Valley, Pa.

Second CourseSweet Breads & Salsify Vol-au-Vent Saffron-Anisette Cream Hunt Country Vineyards, Vignoles, 2004, Finger Lakes, N.Y.

Third Course Paupiette of Trout Crabmeat Farci, Mushroom Cream & Caviar Dr. Konstantin Frank, Chardonnay, 2003, Finger Lakes, N.Y.

Entree Terrine of Veal & Foie Gras Morel Mushrooms, Truffled Potato Galette and Fennel Puree Healdsburg Viticultural Society, Merlot, 2001, Sonoma County, Calif.

Salad Triple Creme & ArugulaWalnut Oil & Raspberry Vinaigrette, Sun-dried Tomato Focaccia

Dessert FinancierMacerated berries, cinnamon ice cream Sand Castle Winery, Johannisberg Riesling, Late Harvest 2000 Central Delaware Valley