Kentucky Derby Chef to Headline Penn College Visiting Chef Series

Published 02.06.2016

Corporate Relations
Business, Arts & Sciences
Baking & Culinary

The executive chef for one of the nation’s most tradition-steeped sporting events will visit Pennsylvania College of Technology for its Visiting Chef Series, which culminates in a dinner to benefit scholarships on Feb. 26.

Chef David Danielson is the executive chef for Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. The annual event attracts well over 150,000 visitors to the downs in Louisville, Kentucky, where Danielson has welcomed celebrities, heads of state and passionate racing fans from around the globe.

Chef David DanielsonDuring his stay on campus, Danielson will share insight gained from 20 years of hospitality-industry experience with students in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and hospitality-management majors. Under his guidance, the students will produce the elegant five-course Visiting Chef Dinner to be served in the college’s Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.

Danielson began his culinary training at Dumas Pere School of French Cooking in Illinois and continued at the renowned hotel school École Hôtelière de Tain l’Hermitage in France. He honed his craft at Michelin-rated restaurants before returning to the U.S.

He joined the Levy Restaurant team at Churchill Downs in 2011 after holding executive chef positions at Rockefeller Center and the United Nations Plaza Hotel in New York City and the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. He has catered such events as the Super Bowl, the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament and the Grammy Awards.

In addition to guiding students in the kitchen and speaking in classrooms, Danielson and representatives from Levy Restaurants will conduct interviews with Penn College students interested in being part of the culinary team at the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby in May. For more than a quarter of a century, Penn College students have been hired to help prepare high-end food for the venue’s Derby Week crowds.

Tickets for the Visiting Chef Dinner, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, are $100. Net proceeds from the dinner will be used for annual scholarship awards. To reserve seats, call the Office of Facilities & Events at Penn College at 570-320-5229 or email.

The menu and wines for the Feb. 26 dinner are:

First Course

Lemon goat-cheese panna cotta
Tiny garden vegetables, romaine crème fraiche, cardamom soil

Vietti, Reoro Arneis DOCG, 2014, Piedmont, Italy

Second Course

Pickled Shrimp
Corn espuma, radish, Espelette, nasturtium-herb salad

Chateau St. Jean, Le Petite Etoile Vineyard Fume Blanc, 2012, Russian River Valley, California


Third Course

Pecan wood-smoked duck breast
Braised turnips, pear gel, sorrel, hard-spiced spiked cider reduction

Altos Las Pizarras del Jalon, Grenache DO, 2009, Calatayud, Spain

Fourth Course

Bourbon barrel stout braised short rib
Louismill smoked mascarpone grits, chard carrots, carrot jus

Shannon Ridge Home Ranch Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, High Valley, Lake County, California

Fifth Course

Pork-fat beignet
Bourbon caramel

Young’s double chocolate stout beer or Chantilly cream bourbon coffee flambé

To learn more about hospitality majors at Penn College, call 570-327-4505.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the or call toll-free 800-367-9222.