New Practices Help Hospitality Students Keep Up With Trends

Published 09.07.2010

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Pennsylvania College of Technology's fine-dining learning lab for students in the School of Hospitality Le Jeune Chef Restaurant has made changes to its offerings to help keep the students who learn there on the leading edge of culinary trends.

At the opening of the fall semester in August, the restaurant began offering a new dinner menu, adding interactive dishes that are cooked tableside, as well as an extensive variety of "small-plate" options. The menu is served Wednesdays and Saturdays while classes are in session, and throughout the week during summer and other student breaks. On these evenings, the kitchen is staffed by student interns and the restaurant's professional staff.

The small-plate offerings are designed to encourage patrons to select from a multitude of different cuisines in smaller portions to share with friends and family or to customize meals to individual tastes.

In addition to the extensive small-plate menu, traditional meals served in courses are also available.

Because visitors are more likely to try new food in smaller portions, the concept allows the restaurant, which strives to be an "education in fine dining" both to its students and the community, to push the envelope in some of its offerings.

The restaurant is also helping to teach students about sustainability in hospitality.

"We're buying local as often and as much as possible," said Layne E. Eggers, assistant dean of the School of Hospitality.

The School of Hospitality also eliminated the use of trans fats in its courses and in the restaurant two years ago; buys organic and grass-fed meats when possible; and planted a vegetable garden on campus, which supplies the restaurant and other culinary arts classes.

The practices not only give students experience with working with the freshest ingredients; they also help to illustrate for students the full cycle of food production and give them familiarity with working directly with producers.

To learn more about the academic programs offered by the School of Hospitality at Penn College, call 570-327-4505 or visit online . For more information about Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, visit on the Web or call 570-320-CHEF.

For general information about the college, visit online , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.