Students to Help Serve Thousands of Race Fans at Kentucky Derby

Published 04.23.2007

Student News
Business, Arts & Sciences

Twenty Pennsylvania College of Technology students have been hired to help provide food service for the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Ky., in early May.

"As the 'greatest two minutes in sports,' the Kentucky Derby offers our students an opportunity to experience a firsthand look at running a world-class sporting event with one of the world's largest food-management companies," said Frederick W. Becker, dean of hospitality at the college. "Experiences like this can only be provided by getting out of the classroom and going off campus to where they are offered."

The students, along with Chefs Paul E. Mach, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, and Charles R. Niedermyer, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts, will travel to Louisville's Churchill Downs April 30 to May 7. They will help prepare dining venues and serve thousands of guests throughout Derby Week, which concludes with the Kentucky Oaks race on May 4, followed by the Kentucky Derby on May 5. Derby Day is expected to attract 160,000 fans to the historic track.

Paula Meyer, human resources manager for Levy Restaurants, which provides food services at Churchill Downs, visited Penn College in February to interview School of Hospitality students for the event. Levy Restaurants offers dining options from upscale restaurants to grab-and-go stands at sports and entertainment venues throughout North America.

"The Derby experience is an extension of our 'real-world training' and education in the School of Hospitality at Penn College," Mach said. "Students will work as part of the Levy culinary team, applying food-production techniques and processes while learning how to present the dishes made with them to more than 300,000 people attending the Oaks and Derby Day races.

"The sheer scope of the production, where they will make 2,000 pounds of prime rib instead of 20, makes the exposure to high-volume hospitality and culinary arts fascinating, challenging and a tremendous learning opportunity."

Students are assigned to private dining areas, including Marquee Village, a corporate hospitality area; the Turf Club and Matt Winn dining room, both upscale dining areas with distinct menus; and Finish Line Suites and Jockey Club Suites, reserved in premium race-viewing areas. On Oaks and Derby days, the dining areas will feature buffets with demonstration cooking.

Students selected to attend the event include: Kerria J. Holesa, Williamsport; Megan E. Lewis, Pine City, N.Y.; Talayna J. Miller, Lewisburg; Theresa A. Mitch, Danville; and Laura B. Shoemaker, Dewart, all pursing degrees in baking and pastry arts.

They will be joined by Christopher D'Annibale, Center Valley; Matthew W. Dickey, Franklin; Christine L. Faherty, Williamsport; Scott A. Fowler, Williamsport; Lynzi K. Green, Port Matilda; Russell J. Hackenburg, Pittsburgh; James A. Jones, Mount Pocono; Kyle Kishbaugh, Nescopeck; Eric R. Lynch, Orangeville; Jacqueline A. Lovecchio, Dallas; Yolanda T. Rauwendaal, Auburn, Calif.; and Sarah J. Turbitt, Milton, all of whom are pursuing bachelor's degrees in culinary arts and systems.

Also making the trip are culinary arts technology students Angela L. Hess, Williamsport; James B. Miller, South Williamsport; and Amanda H. Shughart, Mechanicsburg; and hospitality management student Lauren E. O'Donnell, Kennett Square.

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