The Look, The Resume, and The Interview

By Kristine Alfes and Mark Schostak

Well, it €™s about that time: growing up. This means there are bills to pay and things to buy, or maybe there is an upcoming date. Regardless, there is one thing holding you back: you don €™t have a job €¦
How are you supposed to get anything done? Here is some advice that will help you land that position and create a career pathway; take some deep breaths and keep reading.

The first step: The Look
Play the part. First impressions are, unfortunately, based on looks; therefore you must look eager to work. Do not carry yourself in a droopy manner, or look like a mess. Easiest way is to stand up straight and walk with a purpose. All you need to do is to be relaxed, but still be a professional version of yourself. This translates through your clothes also. Clean, neat, and professional is what most employers look at when first meeting a new hire.
Gentlemen would consider trimmed facial hair, fresh breath, and nice cologne. A clean, pressed button down shirt with a tie will be enough. If you €™re going for that higher position in the company, tuck that shirt in and throw a suit jacket on top. Avoid sneakers at all cost.
Ladies would consider a modest blouse with a pair of slacks, or a clean cut dress. Practice good hygiene, and show an exemplary of professionalism in your overall appearance.

The second step: The resume
Nevertheless, first job or the last, always maintain an organized and updated resume. Any employer that is mentioned should have a small blurb stating what positions were held and what job duties were done. Everyone looks for experience first, so sell yourself to be the best candidate for the position that is being applied for. If you do not have any previous skills to show off, write down accomplishments. Good grades in school, extra – curricular activities, or community service work will give a positive image to the prospective employer.

The third step: The interview
These must be conducted to see what kind of person you are, and if you will fit well with the position or the company. The interviewer will ask an abundance of questions; now the trick to blazing through the questions: be relaxed and focused. Do not over complicate the answers or say things that you want them to hear; answers that are plenty informative without being too detailed or long winded will give a positive interview. Always be honest, and whatever you do, do not be condescending to any person in an experience or those around you currently.
Afterwards, there will be the opportunity to ask a few questions of your own. Do not be afraid to ask any questions about the company, leadership, or growth opportunities; it shows that you have interest in them and are eager to be a part of the company. Always research the company that is being applied for, it is always good to have some general knowledge and questions lined up that are ready to fire. Be mindful of the types of questions also, asking about pay on a first interview will heed mixed reviews about you in the employer €™s eyes. As long as you are the best version of yourself, that position is golden.

These are the basic steps to gaining the experience and confidence to get you through to that job. Always have a sense of professionalism about you, but do not go overboard or understated. Everyone has the potential to make an impact, one job at a time. Plus if you ever feel nervous, just take a deep breath and take one step forward at a time.

I know that you can do this, good luck!
Check out the Careers and Alumni page by clicking here!

Kristine Alfes, Student Leader
Culinary Arts, Class of July 2017

Mark Schostak, Student Leader
Culinary Arts, Class of July 2018

A Home Away From Home

By Tyler Fortna and Kimberly Stefanelli

This first portion of the blog was written by Kim.

Walnut Hill College has become like a second home to me over the past two years. I €™m so glad that I chose to get my education in Pastry Arts here as I could not have picked a better college. My first time at Walnut Hill College was my junior year of high school; still unsure of whether attending a hospitality college was the right choice for a career path, I decided to join in on a tour to see what it was like. Instantly after the tour, I fell in love with the ambiance and knew that it was the college for me. Later that year, I attended the Summer Institute program wishing to see the college again and get a feel for the kitchen. I fell even more in love with Walnut Hill College with its location in University City and its beautiful and comforting campus. The professors and chefs I met and have now come to know very well made it feel like an instant family, so I knew I €™d be making the right choice in going here. After applying and getting accepted, working hard and graduating with my A.S. in Pastry Arts to currently being enrolled in the Bachelors program and being in the Student Leadership Development Institute, I could not be any happier with where I am today.

Kimberly Stefanelli, Student Leader
Pastry Arts, Class of July 2018

This final portion of the blog was written by Tyler.

As like Kim, I also toured the college my junior year of high school and participated in the Summer Institute program the college offers. I instantly fell in love with the college and knew where I wanted to go to college and what I wanted to aspire to be. After spending what is now two and a half years at the college and gearing up to graduate and move on to my next journey in life, I feel as if I €™ve made a second family here €¦my home away from home. The chef instructors, both pastry and culinary, are great role models and each of them have qualities of what I aspire to be like one day. If I could do the whole process over again, there is no question that I would pick this college. Every time you enter through the front doors of Allison Mansion, you notice something that you haven €™t seen before, and how unique our college is. Just like a famous kitchen saying goes, €œthere is always a surprise at every corner € and that couldn €™t be any more true about our college.

Tyler Fortna, Student Leader
Pastry Arts, Class of July 2017

Introducing Dr. Jay Guben

By Kenan Rabah and Cecelia Johnson-Chavis

In an effort to learn more about the history of our college, we reached out to President Liberatoscioli. He shared with us some of the college €™s many milestones, but what really stood out was the story of Dr. Jay Guben. It is a name that not many of us know well, but after some research it became clear that this is a man who has had a tremendous impact on each of us as members of the Walnut Hill College community and as Philadelphians as well.

Jay Guben came to Philadelphia in the 1960 €™s with a background in urban renewal. He was a gastronome, unsatisfied with the city €™s culinary offerings and set out to change the scene. In 1971, Guben opened his first restaurant, Les Amis, with partner Vicki Rensen, and very soon after opened Friday Saturday Sunday with a small team of restaurateurs. Both restaurants were said to have a €œCalifornia flowerpot style € featuring seasonal rotating menus and fresh local ingredients. Within the next five years, Guben opened nearly a dozen restaurants, including Morgan €™s, Maxwell €™s Prime, Bogarts, and Upstairs, Downstairs. Guben is credited with creating variety in Philadelphia €™s restaurant scene, and showing city dwellers that dining out could be fun and interesting.

In 1974, Jay Guben assembled a team comprised of Chef Thomas Hunter, Mątre ۪d Hans Bachler, and Anita Simon. Together they opened The Restaurant School. The school operated out of a four story brownstone at 2129 Walnut Street with only one kitchen, one classroom, one office, and a 40 seat restaurant. The program lasted only 10 months, and they began with only nine students. In the second year, our very own president, Mr. L completed the program. Over the next few years, the enrollment and presence of The Restaurant School continued to multiply, and by 1978 nearly a quarter of the school ۪s graduates owned and operated restaurants in the city.
Dr. Guben €™s commitment to education did not end with TRS. He has since founded Freire Charter School, Praxis Learning Institutes, and I-LEAD Charter School, each of which aims to meet an underserved need in traditional education systems. He has also spent much of his career consulting and fostering local entrepreneurship and worker owned businesses through his organization, The O&O Investments Fund. In 2015, Dr. Guben worked with Drexel University and the People €™s Emergency Center to create Fresh Start Foods, a program that provides fresh and healthful meals at a low cost to West Philadelphia schools. The program also offers a culinary apprenticeship program to local residents with little secondary education or work experience.

The impression that Dr. Jay Guben has had on our college and our city is nearly immeasurable. Not only did he pioneer Philadelphia €™s restaurant revolution, but he used his position and influence within the city to advance state of business and education as well.

-Kenan Rabah, Student Leader
Culinary Arts, Class of March 2018

-Cecelia Johnson-Chavis, Student Leader
Culinary Arts, Class of March 2018

Walnut Hill College Hosts Philly Florida Keys Cook-Off

At Walnut Hill College, we know the recipe for success, and the Florida Keys and Key West €œPhiladelphia Food Influencer Cook-Off € had all the ingredients of a fantastic event. Bringing together an eclectic mix of hosts, contestants, cocktails, and food, the Florida Keys and Key West-inspired event proved to be a memorable night of culture, food, and fun.

The Event

The Florida Keys and Key West cook-off competition was a challenge set by Key West native Chef Bobby Stoky and aimed at highlighting the lively culinary scene in the Keys. As part of the challenge, 24 contestants chosen for their status as local food and travel influencers and writers were asked to prepare two traditional Florida Keys dishes: key lime pie and red snapper. Winners were chosen based on the taste, presentation, and creativity of their dishes.

The Hosts

Chef Bobby Stoky and well-known Philadelphian Pat Croce both have deep roots in Key West. With Pat €™s legendary run as President and owner of the 76ers, our discussion about legends might have been about Allen Iverson, but instead was focused on pirates, Sir Francis Drake, and his search to locate the legend €™s final resting place.

Both Stoky and Croce run numerous restaurants in Key West and feel blessed to be based in such a beautiful part of the world. Chef Bobby raved about the fresh fish in the Keys, even noting that some restaurants have a BYOF (bring your own fish) policy! Seeking something a little different than fish on his trip to Philadelphia, Chef Bobby €™s passion for food led him to try his first cheesesteak from Ishkabibbles, and he even said he was also planning on visiting Jim €™s on South Street before heading back to the Keys. What does a chef like Bobby Stoky get on his cheesesteak? €œProvolone, onions, and mushrooms, € he said.

The Students

Students from The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College were in attendance at the event to lend a helping hand and emotional support to the eager and excited contestants. Speaking with Tina Danner, Kobie Jones, and Jamira Brice, who are students at Walnut Hill College, they said they enjoyed how the cook-off had brought everyone together. €œIt €™s a positive creative process, and although there can be some pressure in the kitchen, there is also a lot of laughter. It €™s great for community building, € said Kobie.

Their technical skills were also on display with Kevin Ellul, who is a student leader at the school, leading the charge by using a blowtorch to give the meringue its finishing touches.

The Contestants

Food critics, writers, bloggers, news anchors, food influencers, and radio hosts made up the eclectic group of chefs looking to win the prize of a trip to the Florida Keys. Alex Holley from Fox 29 said that the food had put her €œin the mood € to head down to the Keys. Known as the €œDougie Queen € on her morning show, we €™re sure her dancing skills would not be out of place in Key West.

Nicole Michalik, morning host on Mix 106, created what she described as the €œYOLO € version of the red snapper dish, which by the way, tasted great. Although she played down her cooking experience, she did have one of the best acronyms for breading fish. €œI just think of FEBruary: flour, eggs, then breadcrumbs! € she said.

Denine Gorniak, a graduate of Walnut Hill College who is known for her blog called The Bicycle Chef, was confident about her red snapper dish. And for her, baking the key lime pie was €œall about the science. € She said she had enjoyed the experience of preparing the food in a professional kitchen.

Kass Dahlquist, who started Philly Food Girl three years ago to share her love of food, said the students were fabulous and very supportive. Asked about what makes a great food writer, she said, €œjust be authentic, and people will respond. €

The School – Walnut Hill College

For many attending the cook-off, this was the first time they had been to Walnut Hill College. The contestants were amazed by the kitchens and the facilities. For some, this was the first time they had the chance to cook in a professional kitchen. For the guests, the calypso music, cocktails, and great food meant that the backdrop was the star of the show.

The Florida Keys and Key West

Transporting the guests and contestants to the Florida Keys and Key West was the sauce that brought all the ingredients together. A big thank you to the Florida Keys and Key West Tourist Board for hosting this memorable event at the College. We look forward to creating more memorable nights together!

4 Cocktails Inspired by the Florida Keys

Providing a taste of paradise to the City of Brotherly Love, the Florida Keys & Key West Cook-Off offered 24 contestants the chance to face-off for a trip to the beautiful Florida Keys. Hosted here at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, this unique event brought together some of Philadelphia €™s top food influencers, chefs, and bartenders. Amidst the food and frenzy, four of Philadelphia €™s hardest working and most talented bartenders were invited to stir and shake up their best Keys-inspired cocktail. Here €™s what they came up with.

Breeze Way

Nickolas Brozek – Dim Sum House

This twist on an island favorite features gin, subtle hints of vanilla, and key lime shrub, topped with egg white.

Key Lime Sake Shrub
Vanilla Meringue

The Black Pearl

Seamus Banning – Vesper

Eucalyptus, bitter citrus, and spice affably dance with molasses in this dark rum cocktail. However, its color remains as mysterious as The Black Pearl.

Dark Rum
Fernet Branca
Grapefruit Juice
Lime Juice
Vanilla Spice Syrup
Activated Charcoal

Papa €™s Punch

Michelle Curtis – Whetstone Tavern

In honor of Hemmingway’s fishing nickname, this refreshing rum punch features flavors of basil, strawberry, and pineapple. With these flavors, Papa €™s Punch is practically begging to be sipped on after a hot day in the Florida sun.

Strawberry Basil Syrup
White Cacao

Mother of the Dragon

Kimberly Shurig – Fine Palate

With a name like Mother of the Dragon, you know this one is going to be powerful. It features tequila and dragon fruit with a hint of habanero-infused simple syrup over fresh ice, garnished with a lime peel, dragon fruit skin, and cilantro.

Dragon Fruit
Habanero-Infused Simple Syrup

Seamus Banning from Vesper Club won out for best cocktail of the night and will receive a two-night stay at the Margaritaville Resort & Marina in Key West. Which cocktail would you sip on the beach?

A job you love, isn’t a job at all!

By Kevin Ellul and Matthew Cowles

A Job You Love, Isn’t a Job At All
Mentor: Kevin Ellul

For myself, I graduated High School in a small town located in Southern New Jersey and I grew up to love the art of cooking. I have grew to love not only €œcooking € in general, but the complete concept of hospitality. I also love and respect the ingredients that I work with as well as the new techniques that I learn every day. Ever since I was five years old, I wanted to be a chef €” and a zoologist, artist, photographer, baker, and writer; like all five year olds, we want to be everything when we grow up. However, this passion for animals, art, photography, baking, and even writing €¦ evolved into one cohesive career set: A Chef. The characteristics of a chef or a cook in general involves passion. For starters- this career is hard on you, it pushes you down, wears you out, causes you pain and agony- only to push you back up, to give you hope, experience €¦ a thick skin.

After high school, my passion for cooking became a lifestyle €¦existing in the upbeat city of Philadelphia. I was finally enrolled in a Culinary School at Walnut Hill College; A historic, colorful, friendly, and unique place where minds alike come to co-exist and learn to become the best that they can. When I first walked into my first kitchen class, my stiff maroon neckerchief itching at the back of my neck, I looked up and saw a man in a tall white hat, a crisp white apron and black chalk stripped pants. He greeted everyone with such a joyous attitude. The first thing he stated was: €œA job you love, isn’t a job at all. € Another, €œSoigné € €” The care and effort to do something with great care, finesse, and a strong passion. From that moment on, I carried those words with me throughout my two and a half years here. Everyday, I try to improve myself by 1%. Therefore, everyday, I grow 1% stronger, 1% more knowledgeable, 1% more respectable, and 1% more creative; by the end of the year I €™m 365% better than the previous year.

Throughout my time here, I have taken my thoughts and changed them into actions- learning from my mistakes. I started from the bottom and worked my way up-within my career and my campus life. In the beginning, I started as a normal college student: afraid and shy of meeting and losing friends, to ride on the subway for the first time, even waking up everyday without having my family around me. I transitioned into a more comfortable and confident person within finding myself. Working hard, showing those around me that I care and I won €™t give up. I was appointed a member of Walnut Hill College €™s Residential Learning Committee, helping others when needed, directing them in a path of success, showing leadership. I am now within my second to last term, I am now a Student Leader (a great proposition given to students who excel), a recipient of many awards for outstanding excellence within my involvement at the college, perfect attendance throughout my degree (and working on my second), and many more awards for withholding a high GPA of above 3.7.

Being here has made me a better leader and my own individual person. Because of my leadership and passion, I €™ve had the ability to create and execute a themed menu for the public out of thin air, my first being very successful, and hopefully my second coming this April (Chocolate, Coffee, and Spice). So many challenges have occurred as the years went by, as they will come and go throughout my entire life. I’m very excited to see what my future holds for me, as well as scared. However, I will keep pushing myself to become that 1% better in everything that I do. I will keep pushing to complete my goals €”with one of them wanting to obtain a Master €™s Degree, and another becoming a restauranteur.

-Kevin Ellul, Student Leader
Culinary Arts, graduating class of July 2017

Doing What You Love
Mentee: Matthew Cowles

A few years ago I can say that I had not a single clue of what I was going to do with my life. I had read countless articles to try and spark a flame and get the creative juices flowing, but it never worked. Then after high school I went to community college, still not knowing what life had in store for me. I took a blind leap into my studies, first I started with a liberal arts major hoping to find that spark in one of my classes. I did find something that interested me, my introduction to personal psychology. I decided to switch majors later that week. I loved this new road I had taken myself down, but after a while I started to doubt myself, there was something, a thought in the back of my head. Is there something else, how can I switch again? I asked myself, could it be my love for food? No, I couldn’t be, I would never want to do what I love doing every day for the rest of my life. That would just take the fun out of it, wouldn’t it?

A short time later I was talking to a career counselor. Everything kept leading us back to food, and my love for others. I knew then and there that I was meant to cook which led me to my next leap. I scheduled a meeting at the Walnut Hill College €¦I was so nervous. When I got there and began my tour, nerves began to settle, and my interests heightened. We walked into a kitchen and they were cooking seafood that day in class. The chef welcomed us in during their class tasting as they had just finished and we’re going to talk about their dishes together, as well as try each other’s. Chef invited me to join the process €¦I was so intrigued. I felt as though I were in a fog, thinking €œwhy had I not come sooner €. I am grateful to have met Chef McLean in that room.

I enrolled immediately, without hesitation. I was no longer worried about ruining a hobby, because I would be gaining a career. I like to think it is true, that if you do what you love, you will never truly work a day in your life. It changed everything for me. I was no longer struggling with school work, I was getting grades I had never got before. I was never happier, in fact I still feel this way. I owe it to Walnut Hill College for making me who I am today and proving to me that anything is possible if you put in the work. I wouldn’t change anything given a second chance.

My inspiration and the drive I have for cooking comes from my mother. She spares no expense when it comes to meals, always going the distance, never settling in on a routine of the same seven dishes for the week. Instead trying new things and opening or minds and hearts to new foods and flavors. I love this industry, the people, the friends, and places I get to experience. There is always something to be done, always something waiting to be created, just waiting on the artist who can bring it to life.

Matthew Cowles, Student Leader
Culinary Arts, graduating class of July 2018