Students to prepare cuisine for elite Breeders’ Cup crowds

Published 10.25.2018

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Pennsylvania College of Technology students are set to return to the famed Churchill Downs racetrack, where they will work alongside celebrity chefs to feed guests of horse racing’s prestigious Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Sixteen students in the college’s baking and pastry arts, culinary arts and hospitality management majors will leave campus Oct. 31 and spend the next three days in the kitchens of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. They will be accompanied by Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, instructor of baking and pastry arts, who is an alumnus of the college.

Horses parade to the paddock at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Ky., in May. Pennsylvania College of Technology hospitality students will again work alongside celebrity chefs in the Downs’ premier venues during the Breeders’ Cup Championships, Nov. 2-3.The Breeders’ Cup World Championships encompasses 15 races over two days, with purses totaling $30 million. It attracts the best horses, trainers and owners from across the globe. Held at a different track each year, the event has become the unofficial end of the thoroughbred-racing season. The 2018 event marks the ninth time the cup with be held at Churchill Downs.

Many of the students are familiar with Churchill Downs. The college has helped the facility’s hospitality partners serve guests of the iconic Kentucky Derby 25 times. The students will again work closely with Levy Restaurants’ Chef David Danielson, executive chef of Churchill Downs.

In addition, the Breeders’ Cup has enlisted six to eight celebrity chefs – among them Chef Masaharu Morimoto, of “Iron Chef” fame – to work in the track’s premium suites. Two to three Penn College students will be paired with each chef.

Thanks to the work students have done each spring during the Kentucky Derby, Levy Restaurants invited the college to return to Louisville for the elite Breeders’ Cup.

“They’ve been so thrilled with the work the students do: the quality, their enthusiasm. They would take 100 students if we had them,” said Niedermyer, who has led students to 10 Kentucky Derbys. Prior to Niedermyer, Penn College’s Chef Paul Mach, assistant professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, began taking students to Churchill Downs in 1993.

The relationship has provided valuable learning experiences for students in Penn College’s hospitality-related majors.

“This is a win-win-win,” Niedermyer said. “It’s a win for the students, because they’re getting an opportunity to see world-class dining at a world-class venue. It’s a win for Penn College because we are being recognized at a national venue. And it’s a win for Levy to have access to such a talented and well-trained pool of recruits. This is why we continue to be invited back.”

Penn College students providing dining services at the Breeders’ Cup are:

Baking and pastry arts: Gloria F. Boronow, of Denver, Pa.; Sadie C. Bower, of Lewisberry; Amanda M. Brandt, of Etters; Jacqueline R. Dull, of Mohnton; Bailey L. Frey, of Watsontown; Olivia M. Lunger, of Elysburg; Autumn L. Schabener, of Reading; and Claudia M. Walling, of Williamsport.

Culinary arts and systems: Hailey R. Dunn, of York Haven; Abbey R. Mefferd, of Boyertown; Amaris T. Smith, of Williamsport; Dylan H. Therrien, of Reading; and Aaron Timmons, of Greencastle.

Culinary arts technology: Janelle R. Becker, of Fort Loudon, and Jacob G. Clarke, of Wilmington, Delaware.

Hospitality management: Mallory A. Hoffman, of Pottsville.

To learn more about Penn College’s bachelor’s and associate degrees in baking and pastry arts, culinary arts, hospitality management, and sport and event management, call 570-327-4505 or visit the School of Business & Hospitality.

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

Photo by Tom Speicher, writer/video editor