Students Take Charge in Le Jeune Chef Kitchen

Published 02.23.2006

Student News
Baking & Culinary

Students enrolled in the School of Hospitality at Pennsylvania College of Technology not only prepare food for the college's fine-dining restaurant, they also help manage its kitchen as they fulfill requirements for the Regional American Cuisine and Breakfast and Brunch courses.

Regional American CuisineOn Friday evenings this spring, students in the Regional American Cuisine course will take turns as student managers at Le Jeune Chef Restaurant. The six-course menu changes each week to reflect foods representative of various regions and cultures across the continent.

"This is as close to 'real-world' as it gets," said Chef Michael J. Ditchfield, instructor of food and hospitality management/culinary arts, noting students serve patrons from across the region.

A student manager works with Ditchfield as his sous chef for the evening, preparing recipes, making work-station assignments and performing other responsibilities as he or she learns to manage others. The student manager also estimates costs and is in charge of various procedures for the evening.

"Most of our students are going to make a career working on the line ? the classical brigade ? in a fine-dining restaurant," Ditchfield said. "They will work into a management, executive-chef or ownership position."

Regional American Cuisine student managers and their menus are:

Michael L. Clinger, Northampton, presented a New Orleans menu Feb. 10. He described the offerings as spicy foods and Creole cooking.

Matthew W. Dickey, Franklin, presented food from the Heartland on Feb. 17. "All the menu items are hearty in nature and sort of 'feel-good' foods, as the phrase goes," Dickey said.

Lynzi K. Green, Port Matilda, will present foods from the Deep South on Feb. 24. "I have planned a very nice meal that has many items that you would picture coming from the Deep South," she said.

David L. Davis, Kingston, will present Chesapeake Bay fare on March 3. "For my menu, I plan to use fresh seafood and other fresh ingredients native to the Chesapeake Bay region," Davis said.

Amanda R. Miller, Montgomery, and Amy E. Harris, South Waverly, will offer an Irish-American menu March 17. "Our menu will consist of various proteins and vegetables with traditional Irish twists to them," Miller said. "For example, the menu will have corned beef and cabbage, lamb shanks, and Irish lamb stew."

Michael R. Everd, Baltimore, will present foods from the Pacific Rim on March 24. "I plan to bring a little taste of Asian-style food mixed with the skills of the class," he said. "The menu will cover a variety of foods and spices, from salty to spicy."

Yolanda T. Rauwendaal, Auburn, Calif., will present a California Fusion menu March 31. She said her menu will include various types of meat, using a different cooking method for each to represent California's food ethnicities.

Kyle Kishbaugh, Nescopek, and Scott A. Fowler, Dunkirk, Md., will present a menu from the Southwest on April 7. "I plan to offer a unique experience that will please everyone and educate them about the cuisine of the Southwest," Kishbaugh said. Fowler said, "I plan to have a unique dining event where customers will leave very satisfied with their Southwestern experience."

Andrew M. Molino, Muncy, will present New England foods April 21. "Included in my menu, I will have a wide variety of seafood and mouth-watering entrees," he said.

Breakfast and BrunchStudents in the Breakfast and Brunch course, taught by Chef Judith P. Shimp, associate professor of food and hospitality management/culinary arts, will take turns in assisting her manage the kitchen on Sunday mornings as students serve an a la carte breakfast menu and a brunch buffet. In addition to estimating costs and assisting with workstation assignments, the students in the Breakfast and Brunch course develop their own brunch menu, each following a theme.

Students in the breakfast and brunch course and their themes are:

Danielle N. Castello, Mifflinburg, and Tana B. Hunsinger, Beavertown, will present a Mardi Gras brunch Feb. 26.

Christopher D'Annibale, Center Valley, and Dickey, who presented the Regional American Cuisine Heartland menu on Feb. 17, will present a Spring Italian Brunch on March 19. D'Annibale said the menu will feature classic Italian dishes with a twist. "Lots of 'nontraditional' Italian foods," Dickey added. "More true Italian, less Italian-American."

Ashley K. Brown, Montoursville, and Harris, who will present the Regional American Cuisine Irish-American menu on March 17, are planning a Brunch in Charleston, S.C., menu on March 26.

Ryan R. Schur, Warren, and Steven G. Smith, Sayre, will present April Showers on April 2.

Jacqueline A. Lovecchio, Dallas, and Lance A. Smith, Harrisburg, will present Brunch in the French Quarter on April 9. The pair said the menu will include native New Orleans foods, which Smith described as "intense, innovative dishes that will intrigue the taste buds."

Alex W. Hagemeyer, Ephrata, and Mandalena Kolovic, RR 2 Coal Township, will present a Southwestern brunch on April 23. "I hope to offer food that people have not seen before, but is close enough to traditional that they won't be scared to try it," Kolovic said. Hagemeyer said some of the more unique buffet items are dry-rubbed pork with bourbon barbecue and chipotle chocolate cheesecake.

On April 30, Clinger, who presented the Regional American Cuisine New Orleans menu on Feb. 10, and Amelia C. Pedraza, Williamsport, will manage the kitchen and develop a menu for a Victorian tea. This is a special event for the Williamsport YWCA. Tickets are required and are available through the YWCA.

For complete menus and other information, visit online or call (570) 320-CHEF.

For more information about the academic programs offered by the School of Hospitality, call (570) 327-4505, send e-mail or visit online.