Thursday, September 22, 2016

Penn College - Culinary Arts Students Research, Present Foods of the U.S.

Second-year culinary arts technology student Dylan C. Williams, of Bellefonte, will lead his classmates in preparing an Oktoberfest meal at the Millheim Fire Co. grounds on Sept. 24.
Williamsport, PA - Real-life kitchen management skills are part of the educational experience for students in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s culinary arts majors, who serve as student managers in the college’s on-campus restaurant, and sometimes off-site.


On Saturday, Sept. 24, second-year culinary arts technology student Dylan C. Williams, of Bellefonte, will lead his classmates in preparing an Oktoberfest meal at the Millheim Fire Co. grounds, where the small Centre County borough holds an annual festival to raise funds for its volunteer fire company.

The festival is sponsored by Millheim’s Elk Creek CafĂ© and Aleworks, which invites the college’s culinary arts program to take part, and the Millheim Business Community.

Williams’ assignment is part of his classwork in the Regional American Cuisine course. Each student in the class, which is required for culinary arts students in both the associate- and bachelor-degree majors, takes on a region of the United States, studying its food and the climate and culture that affect it.

Williams’ region entails local foods with a Pennsylvania Dutch and Oktoberfest feel, including homemade Bratwurst and sauerkraut fritters.

In addition to researching menus, student managers work with Chef Michael J. Ditchfield, instructor of hospitality management/culinary arts, in leading their classmates to present their regional menus in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant or, like Williams, at another live event.

“There really is a lot to being a student manager,” Ditchfield said. “There is a lot of clerical work.”

Before their event comes, the students assign classmates to kitchen stations and provide them the recipes they’ll need. They produce a merchandising flier to help promote the event, and they submit a purchase order.

“During the day, they supervise the prep and then move right into making sure everyone is doing their jobs and preparing the meals to our high standards,” Ditchfield said. “As things wind down, they begin to organize and inventory the leftovers and begin a final costing exercise and a report on their evening, highlighting management skills used and lessons learned.”

The students’ regions for Fall 2016 span the U.S., from New England to “Floribbean” and from the Deep South to the Pacific Northwest.

Regional American Cuisine dinners are served on Wednesday evenings in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, a casual fine-dining eatery that serves as a live learning lab for students in hospitality majors. Menus are available at http://lejeunechef.pct.edu.

To learn more about Millheim’s Oktoberfest, visit www.millheimfire.org orwww.elkcreekcafe.com.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, visit www.pct.edu, email admissions@pct.edu or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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