Faculty Member Named One of Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America
Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, of State College, an instructor of baking and pastry arts and culinary arts, was named to the 2017 Top Ten list by Dessert Professional publisher Matthew Stevens and editor Tish Boyle, who selected honorees based on their talent, creativity, contributions to the industry and dedication to creating high-quality confections.
“Our industry is grateful to talented, dedicated, chef instructors like Charles Niedermyer,” Stevens said. “In addition to teaching and mentoring the next generations of dessert professionals, Charles has risen to the position of department head for his vision and success in providing his students with real-world experience to excel in our constantly evolving industry.”
“It’s kind of surreal, because it’s the kind of stuff you dream about in pastry school,” Niedermyer said of the honor.
Niedermyer’s schooling took place in the institution where he now teaches. A Williamsport Area High School graduate, Niedermyer earned an associate degree in baking and pastry arts and a bachelor’s degree in technology management, both from Penn College, in 2000 and 2012. Before returning to the college as a faculty member in 2005, he exercised his skill in the hotel, restaurant and bakery industries, including work for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. and Penn State Bakery.
He continues to further his skills, attending and teaching at industry events, typically accompanied by Penn College students.
“The industry doesn’t stop. The trends don’t stop,” Niedermyer said. “The opportunities are out there, and I want to make that all available to my students.”
Among those pursuits, he was named a finalist for the viennoiserie (breakfast pastry) position on the 2016 USA team that competed at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (World Cup of Bread) in France. He plans to compete for a spot on Team USA 2020.
At Penn College, he was nominated by a student and selected to present the 2012 David London My Last Words Lecture and has received awards for Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Academic Advising. He serves as hospitality department head.
“Chef Charles has long served as a role model for our students,” said Gerri F. Luke, Penn College’s dean of business and hospitality. “Receiving this honor will further motivate him to do what he does best – constantly seek to do more and to do it well. But it also will serve to motivate our students to seek continual growth and success. They are challenged by him in the classroom and will continue to be challenged by the model he sets as they leave and pursue their own careers.”
The Top 10 honorees were celebrated at a reception in New York City on June 5. There, each showcased a selection of fine desserts.
“I am really honored and humbled to receive this award, but it’s a reflection of the work that the department of hospitality is doing here,” Niedermyer said. “I’m just lucky enough to be the one to receive it. It’s a reflection on all of us.”
Dessert Professional Magazine is the nation's leading food service publication for the chocolate, pastry, cake, artisan bread and frozen desserts industries. It will publish the 2017 Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America in its August issue.
To learn more about the academic programs offered by the School of Business & Hospitality at Penn College, call 570-327-4505.
For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.
– Photos by Jennifer A. Cline, writer/magazine editor
Keegan D. Sonney, of Erie, who received an associate degree in baking and pastry arts in May and is pursuing a bachelor's degree in applied management, adds finishing touches – a baby corn stalk – to Niedermyer's samples.
Colorful pastries by Top 10 co-honoree Stefan Riemer, a pastry chef for Walt Disney World, add to the festivity.
Pistachio strawberry macaron sets the display for Top 10 honoree Olivier Saintemarie, executive pastry chef for Chefs De France.
Niedermyer describes his dessert and the virtues of Penn College to curious reception attendees.
2017's Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America gather for adulation and a herd of photographers with cameras pointed.
Sonney discusses Niedermyer's desserts with a visitor.
Sonney and Niedermyer talk with visitors, who included industry heavyweights.