Japchae: A quick and easy side dish

Hey, everyone! This week, I really wanted to share a dish that is perfect for the summer. When it starts to get warm out, I find myself making all sorts of picnic foods to enjoy outside. I live right near Ridley Creek State Park, and whenever I have a free moment, I like to go for hikes and a quick picnic. The dishes I usually gravitate towards are ones that are especially tasty at room temperature. I like to have many options while eating, but, when I’m hiking, it isn’t always practical to bring loads of side dishes. One thing that I really like to do is make a dish that has many ingredients and can tide me over until I get back home. Stir-fries or ploughman’s lunches are always a great choice for outdoor eating. One recipe in particular that I really enjoy is called Japchae.

Japchae is a side dish from South Korea that is made up of sweet potato noodles, beef, a variety of mushrooms, and other vegetables. Especially during this time of year, when vegetables are flavorful and fresh, this dish really highlights each ingredient. I first came across this dish when I met my wife, Minju. I was amazed at how each flavor was preserved and the cooking procedure that went along with this. There is a very specific way to make Japchae, and each ingredient must be cooked separately according to its color and how long it takes to cook. This procedural cooking process, in my opinion, makes each flavor truly independent but in harmony with the others. Oftentimes, the flavor of a vegetable gets lost in the cooking process, but this does not seem to be the case with properly made Japchae.

The best Japchae I have ever had was at my wife’s family’s house in Seoul, South Korea. I was lucky enough to make a trip last August and experienced such an amazing and beautiful culture in person. I was amazed at how much care my jangmonim (mother-in-law) put into her cooking and how incredible her ingredients were. She served an enormous mixing bowl’s worth of Japchae that night, and it was accompanied by numerous side dishes and my jangin eoreun’s (father-in-law’s) homemade grape wine. I hope that you enjoy this recipe and that it shows just how versatile a handful of vegetables can really be!

• 1 pound top round beef, sliced
• 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
• ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon mirin
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 large onion, julienne
• 1 cup oyster mushrooms, torn
• 1 cup fresh or rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, baton
• 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
• 350 grams dry sweet potato noodles
• 3 cups baby spinach
• 1 large carrot, julienne
• 1 red bell pepper, julienne
• 1 jalapeño pepper, ¼ moons
• Grapeseed oil or favorite high-heat cooking oil, as needed

Japchae ingredients

• Slice beef thinly and marinate first six ingredients for up to 24 hours. (Use only ½ the sugar and ¼ cup soy sauce for marinade.)
• Prepare vegetables and arrange so that they are separated and easily accessible.
• Set up a 12-inch sauté pan, a large mixing bowl, and a pot of boiling, salted water.
• Soak sweet potato noodles in cold water for 20 minutes.
• Blanch spinach, only so that it wilts and turns a vibrant, green color (15-30 seconds).
• Squeeze the liquid out of the spinach so that the color doesn’t run.
• At medium-high heat, cook beef, onions, garlic, and marinade in sauté pan.
• Once beef is cooked throughout, remove from pan.
• Remove remaining ingredients and sauce from pan once onions are tender.
• Add mushrooms to pan, along with enough oil to stir fry.
• Once mushrooms are cooked and pan is deglazed, remove from pan.
• Add carrots to pan with more oil, if needed.
• Remove carrots from pan once tender.
• Add red pepper to pan with more oil, if needed.
• After sweating the pepper, add the jalapeño, and cook until both are tender yet slightly crunchy.
• Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and hold.
• Transfer noodles to boiling water, and cook until tender but chewy.
• Rinse the noodles in cold water and drain.
• Add the noodles to the mixing bowl, and cut in half with scissors, if necessary.
• Add remaining sugar, toasted sesame seed oil, and soy sauce.
• With gloved hands, mix the sweet potato noodle stir-fry until combined.
• Serve immediately, or refrigerate and reheat.

A delicious stir-fry dinner ready to eat!

Some important things to note for Japchae are that the vegetables should still be slightly crunchy. As with any stir-fry, you do not want mushy, overcooked vegetables. The contrast in textures and flavors in this dish is very satisfying and is partially what makes it so great. Another tip for good Japchae is not to overcook the beef, as it will get very chewy. Finally, good temperature control in your sauté pan is essential to the outcome of this dish. You do not want to brown or add color to the vegetables. This dish is meant to be vibrant and bursting with fresh, defined colors.

This stir-fry goes really well with most foods and can also be a great side dish. In Korea, it is customary to use the wood ear and shiitake mushrooms for this dish. Wood ear mushrooms are thin and wavy black mushrooms that have a distinct but mild flavor. You can buy them dried at most Asian supermarkets. Because of the fact that it is less accessible and more expensive than other mushroom types, I like to use torn oyster mushrooms instead of the wood ear. This recipe can easily be doubled or adjusted for how many people are eating, so I hope that you enjoy it on your own or try making it for a potluck!

-Steven Walsh, Walnut Hill College Student Leader

Read Steven’s bio

Celebrate Cinco de “May-o” with these delicious mayonnaise recipes!

By Steven Walsh

Hey, everyone! My name is Steven Walsh, and you’re currently reading the new WHC Food Blog. In this, I hope to show some of the recipes and techniques that I use at home and have used in professional settings. I, as well as lots of others here, love to cook and am passionate about food. Since starting at Walnut Hill College, I’ve wanted to create a forum and blog that allows people to communicate and share the things they love. As I learn more on my culinary journey, I aim to share what I like best with everyone reading. There are few things that I am not fond of, but there is nothing that I won’t try. I’m really excited to get this started, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and comments once this takes off. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy!

This week, I wanted to share two recipes that I use a lot at home. Despite my lack of pastry experience, this is partially a post about baking! To start though, I’ll be sharing a mayonnaise recipe that completely changed my mind about mayo.

Growing up, there were no ifs, ands, or buts, I hated mayonnaise. I didn’t like the concept, and I sure didn’t like the taste. Something seemed to be bitter or rancid every time I tried it, so I stopped trying it. As all of us do, I expanded my palate as I grew up and began to tolerate mayonnaise. It still wasn’t my preference, but it seemed like an alright substitute for butter on a sandwich. This opinion of mine would be completely flipped as I started to learn more about mayonnaise. As I began my education at WHC, I was given the task many times to make mayonnaise. Each time I made it, I liked it, but there was always that background rancid flavor. I had finally had enough and started to do some research on different oils and their properties. After playing around with different ideas, to make a long story short, I began to realize that the heat tolerance and neutral flavor of the oil was what had the biggest impact on the mayonnaise’s outcome. I wanted to test this, so I used my all-time favorite high-heat cooking oil, grapeseed oil.

“Whoa.” This was all I could think after what had just happened. It was a Saturday that I had off from work, and I was playing around in the kitchen as I often do. With the thoughts of grapeseed oil still fresh in my mind, I substituted the usual canola oil with it and made my mayonnaise. As a disclosure, I have tools at home that not everyone may have access to in a home kitchen. However, these recipes are adaptable, and I will always do my best to provide alternative methods. 😊


  • 1 ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  • Add ¼ cup of grapeseed oil, egg, mustard powder, and salt into food processor.
  • Blend until smooth and pale (20-30 seconds).
  • Add remaining oil in a continuous, thin stream while still blending.
  • Once finished with the oil, add the lemon juice and blend only to combine.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as preferred.
Make your own delicious homemade mayonnaise today!

I was instantly in love with this recipe. Food processor mayonnaise is a great way to save time and energy when making mayo. I actually like to use my whisk attachment on my stick blender to make this. I add the ingredients to a blender cup and use the electric whisk instead of a food processor. This recipe is really versatile, and I love using it for different things. I use it for cakes, dipping sauces, salad dressings, and more! One of my favorite mayonnaise recipes is my double chocolate mayo cake. I use small loaf tins for baking the cake and slice the cakes for dessert with some ice cream and fresh fruit!


  • 1 cup grapeseed oil mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels (I use Ghirardelli)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Whisk together mayonnaise, vanilla, milk, and water.
  • Combine salt and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  • Sift flour, cocoa, and baking powder into dry ingredients.
  • Evenly mix with a dry, wooden spoon.
  • In three stages, incorporate your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Oil 4 mini loaf tins with vegetable oil.
  • Cut strips of parchment paper long enough so that they hang out of the tins.
  • Evenly pour the batter into the tins and smooth for even baking.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until a tester toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool and serve.
Double Chocolate Mayo Cake

There are so many variations that can be made to both of these recipes, and I hope you get a chance to try them out. I would love to hear feedback, and pictures of cake and mayo are obviously welcome!

-Steven Walsh, Walnut Hill College Student Leader

Read Steven’s bio

Advice for your trips to France, Florida and the Bahamas

By Katie Smith, Rachel Bland, Patrick Gendaszek, and Morgan Getler

It’s an exciting time of year for many of the Sophomore 3s… it’s time to start getting ready for your trips! These trips are unique experiences that will stay with you for the rest of your life, where you will learn insights, and visit amazing places. It is important to remember though, while you will go to dinners, wine tastings, and have free time, this is a course just as important as your lecture or kitchen classes and it should be taken seriously.

For the culinary and pastry students, in the coming months, you will be going to France. You will be visiting various regions and towns in France. The trip is considered a class, so you will be graded, but it’s also a once in a lifetime trip to explore a foreign country. You will be going on special tours that you can’t find in any travel guide. The trip is a unique opportunity to visit a foreign country.

If you’ve never traveled to a foreign country before, there are a few things to expect: For one, it’s good to know a small amount of the language. Knowing simple phrases such as good morning, good evening, thank you, and do you speak English, can make communicating easier. For the duration of the trip, you will be stopping in towns where you will have a few hours (usually 2-4), where you can walk around and explore. During this time you shouldn’t be afraid to go and walk around the town. We suggest walking around with a few other students and just wander.

Of course, this isn’t the only way to do it! During your class before the trip, you will research and learn about points of interest. It helps to go to a town with at least a vague idea of where you’d like to go, what you’d like to see, that way you don’t miss out on great sights! It also helps to be prepared in other areas, like going to the bank for currency exchange before you go, making sure you have an adapter, and double checking that you know the meetup times every day before you go off on your own.

Management students, unite and get ready for your trip to Florida and the Bahamas! As excited as you may be to be somewhere sunny and warm, it is imperative you pack appropriately. Packing can be one of the most stressful aspects of the trip; you don’t want to over pack, you don’t want to under pack, you don’t want to bring too many casual outfits, and you don’t want to bring exclusively business clothes.

A suggestion is to coordinate with a few friends and rotate pieces (blazers, skirts, shoes, etc.) in order to mix and match outfits without anyone realizing. We suggest (example, 3 friends) you each only three full business outfits and three casual outfits, obviously your own fancy dresses and suits for Victoria and Albert’s. Use your resources! Pack reasonably and enough, but do not overdo it as you will not be able to fit everything back in your suitcase. Don’t forget to leave room for souvenirs!

So when going on your trip to Florida and the Bahamas a few things are needed; for example, shorts. One of my fellow students when packing forgot shorts. This means that when we had time to walk around the very warm island, they were in a pair of khakis and spent the first hour looking for shorts before paying $50 for a pair. Do not end up like that! Pack ahead of time and double check the night before.

The thing we feel is most needed is what Dean Morrow always tells people to bring… patience and an open mind. The open mind is for trying new foods and doing new things. Do not go and do something just because someone else is. Think of the places you want to see. Try a new dish. How many times are you going to get the chance to walk around an island you have never been to before? The patience is so that you understand from time to time there will be a line and waiting. In general, the trip is amazing and we hope you enjoy it!

Rachel Bland, Student Leader

Culinary Arts, Graduating Class of July 2019


Morgan Getler, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Graduating Class of July 2019


Patrick Gendaszek, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Graduating Class of March 2019


Katie Smith, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Graduating Class of March 2020

Freshman Showcase October 2018: Advice for the first-term freshmen

By Mercy Tolbert, Omar Diaz, Kierstin Jester, and Victoria Green

I remember my Freshman Showcase very well, as it was a special and fun day. Not only did it happen to be on my 19th birthday, but I got to interact with my peers and chefs, and it was so much fun showing my family around. When our chefs and instructors told us about Freshman Showcase and we started preparing for it, I had no idea what to expect or what we were really preparing for. I kind of wish I had talked to an upperclassman about what exactly Freshman Showcase was, so that’s why Omar, Kierstin, Vicky, and I are here: to help you prepare for and know what to expect from your upcoming Freshman Showcase!

One of the first tips I can give you is to be on time. If you haven’t already, you’ll soon see that just like your classes and the rest of your life, nothing happens until you show up (on time) and apply yourself. Another tip for you guys is to make sure that your uniform is clean, neat, complete, and pressed. Your appearance is always important, but on this night, your family will be there to see what you’ve been up to at Walnut Hill College, and they’ll most likely want to take your picture. Speaking of family, at some point during the night, you’ll be allowed to leave your stations to escort your family around. This is definitely the fun part, but remember not to be gone too long. You’ll most likely be taking shifts or turns with other students who are at the same station, and they’ll want to be with their families as well. Be considerate of them. My last tip for you is to take advantage of whatever learning opportunities are presented to you on this night. For example, if you’re put in kitchen #3 with bread and you haven’t yet baked bread or been on the bread station, pay attention. You’ll learn something that you can use in Production class.

I almost forgot one more tip…HAVE FUN! Freshman Showcase happens only once, so have a great time and remember it.

Mercy Tolbert, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Graduating Class of July 2019


Hello all. With Freshman Showcase coming up, some of you might be slightly stressing over what to expect. There is no need for that. Freshman Showcase is going to be a couple of hours in one night to show and prove to your loved ones and friends how much you have accomplished since you started college back in August. Each of you is going to be assigned to a station to work, relatively pertaining to you major, while your invited guests parade through campus. So here’s some advice…GET SOME REST, because it’s going to be a long night! Just like what happened to me, most of you are going to have to go in early in the morning for Production or Market Production and have class afterward, so get some rest where you can fit it. Next, if you can avoid it, don’t bother bringing your full toolkit. A bare minimum is all you will need. And last, I know you will get excited showing your family and friends around campus. Just do your colleagues a favor and don’t be that guy or gal who gets released to show your guests around and shows back up two hours later or never at all. While the night is about you, it’s not only about you. Be a good person and keep your fellow classmates in mind.

Omar Diaz, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Graduating Class of March 2020


While the days are creeping up on you, you’ll probably see that your Freshman Showcase is coming up. You’re probably filled with nerves and are wondering what you’ll actually be doing. I’m here to tell you that the showcase isn’t as scary as it might sound. It’s a fun event where your family comes to see the work and progress you have made thus far. Each kitchen is a themed room, and it’s essentially like traveling around the world. Every room is filled with different foods and treats, leaving your family wanting to continue through. Freshman Showcase is supposed to be a fun time, and, in my opinion, it is. I have even volunteered the past two years to help out. You should come wearing a clean uniform and just prepare to have a good time. If you’re Pastry for example, you’ll be in kitchen #2 or #3 helping out with cookies or bread or even chocolate in the finishing room. Management students are mainly in the courtyard doing the really cool bananas foster demo, which is amazing, if I might add. The Culinary kids are going to spread out in the other kitchens, providing their families with sushi, pasta, dumplings, and so much more. If you’re scared about having a ton of people view you, don’t be because they’ll all be there to see the great job that you have been doing!

Kierstin Jester, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Graduating Class of July 2019


It’s just about that time everyone: Freshman Showcase! It’s the time for all of you new freshmen to show off your newly-learned skills and display what you have learned in this last term! I’m sure a lot of you remember touring the school during one of our showcases, and this may have helped you make your decision about becoming a student here at Walnut Hill College. Now, it’s your turn to be on the other side to impress not only your friends and family but also potential incoming students. At that time, you will be working in a specific area that has to do with your major, whether it be making and serving bread, greeting people on their way in, or cooking it up with the chefs during a demo. During the day, it may seem a bit nerve wracking, but just remember that even though you are working, this day is about you, too! Have fun, take a break after asking your instructor, and walk around with your family. This day isn’t just for the guests to enjoy, but for you to enjoy as well. I can’t wait to see the turn out. Good luck!

Victoria Green, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Graduating Class of July 2019

Advice for first-term freshmen at Walnut Hill College

By Carli Caroselli, Stephanie Sinclair, Gabriella Westraadt, and Caitlin Hedrich

The first term here at Walnut Hill College can be intimidating, so my fellow student leaders and I decided to write our first blog about advice for being a successful student during the first term. I think one of the biggest keys to succeeding at this college is being extremely punctual. Try to arrive at least fifteen minutes before class, especially for a hands-on kitchen class. Consistently being punctual and prepared definitely helps to make a good impression with your instructors and future employers. Always write the recipes down before class, even if it’s not required of you. If you take that extra step to understand what you’re doing before you even step into the kitchen, you’re already winning. Get in the habit of writing prep lists for yourself. It’s a great habit to establish now, and it will greatly help you to succeed in the future. It’s extremely important to start establishing good habits for yourself now in the beginning, when classes are fairly easy. Ask questions. Never be afraid to speak up if you don’t understand something. And finally, never stop learning and strive to be the best hospitality professional you can be!

Carli Caroselli, Student Leader

Culinary Arts, Graduating Class of July 2019

Starting off freshman year can be a lot to handle, especially at a college as fast paced and involved as this one. As we begin this school year, I think it is important to share some things I wish I had known going into my freshman year. First of all, staying organized is really important in order to be successful. There is a balance between going to classes, working, doing homework, having a social life, having time for yourself, and taking care of other responsibilities you may have. While it is challenging, it is possible. I recommend getting a planner or having some kind of organizational tool so you do not spread yourself too thin. There is a popular quote on social media that states, “Sleep more than you study, study more than you party, and party as much as you can.” While everyone will have their own schedules and make their own choices, I think this quote is important to keep in mind when trying to keep balance and be successful in all that you do. Also, drink lots of water and eat plenty of food. The kitchens are hot and regardless of your major, it is important to stay hydrated throughout the day and have food in your system. We all get really busy and, in my personal experience, sometimes we neglect basic necessities without even realizing it. However, it is important to take care of your health and yourself. Another thing to keep in mind is the size of the college, because it has pros and cons to it. Since WHC is such a small college, everyone knows everyone. With that said, your reputation, opportunities, and involvement at the school are generally up to you. Be careful with what you say and how you represent yourself, because people do notice. There are so many different opportunities, and having a positive reputation will get you far. You are a student here, so get involved while you can and take advantage of all that is offered to you. Good luck to each and every one of you. I hope you have a great year and enjoy your time here!

Stephanie Sinclair, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Graduating Class of July 2019

As a commuter at WHC, it may seem impossible to be an active part of the community here. It’s not as hard or as bad as you may think.

You can’t think of it as an impossible problem to solve. If you have Production or Operations in the morning, just stay an hour later. If you have a noon class, come an hour earlier.

You may also say, “I don’t know what club to go to, where they meet, or when they meet!” Ms. D’Angelo makes a posting on Schoology every Monday that lists all the club activities with their point allocations for the upcoming week.

Chefs oftentimes need help with special projects or Community Ed classes, which also get posted on Schoology and are a fun way to get more than one point, and most of the time you learn something, too.

Gabriella Westraadt, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Graduating Class of March 2020

My biggest piece of advice, which is something I have grown to learn within the past two years of attending Walnut Hill College, is that the experience and education are going to be exactly what you make it. You can show up to class, do the bare minimum that is required, and struggle to maintain your grades and enthusiasm. As I said before, it’s up to you to decide how deep your education will go. I suggest you become involved and remember why you were inspired to come here in the first place. These past two years, I have grown tremendously professionally and personally, and I am doing things that I never thought were possible for me. It is all because I took control of my education and my involvement in the college and made them what I wanted them to be. Get out there and build relationships with your teachers and chefs, because they can teach you so many important and valuable things outside of what you learn in class. Go to clubs that interest you, attend activities if you have the time, and show off the passion that drove you to attend this school to begin with. Education, no matter what form, is absolutely never a waste. It is something we too often take for granted. So, remember why you are here, make the most of this time in your life, and, most important, have gratitude for the opportunities and education you are able to receive. This is your life, and it most definitely will be what you make it.

Caitlin Hedrich, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Graduating Class of July 2019

What is it like to have your associate degree?

By Carli Caroselli and Jasmine Harmon

Graduating with your associate degree is one of the best feelings in the world. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s absolutely true. All of those late nights in restaurant operations, early mornings in breakfast production, and countless hours in the kitchen finally came to fruition in the form of a degree. Seeing my name in that scrawling script on that fabled piece of paper made me feel amazing, but seeing the pride that my family felt during my graduation was absolutely priceless. I don’t think I have ever seen my dad smile as much as he did on that day. This only pushes me even further in the pursuit of my bachelor’s degree, because I received a glimpse of the pure elation and pride I would feel. This is a feeling I hope everyone has a chance to experience. I hope I never forget how truly happy I felt at that moment, and I cannot wait to feel that happiness again when I graduate with my bachelor’s degree!

-Carli Caroselli, Student Leader

Culinary Arts, Class of July 2019

I graduated with my Associate of Science in Restaurant Management on March 12, 2017. Graduating a year and a half after starting the program was a little weird at first since most of my high school friends who started college at the same time were just beginning to dive into their field of choice. However, it makes sense since Walnut Hill College enrolls its students in a fast-paced yet focused learning program. I learned so much in my first year and a half here at Walnut Hill College, from how to provide tangible and intangible service to guests to how to put together and run large luncheons for a hundred people with limited space and time.

Having an associate degree has opened so many doors to help better my life and career. That accomplishment has made my family proud. When I go to family reunions and catch up with relatives I haven’t seen in a while, I tell them a bunch of the stories from my time in college and there is always something that surprises them. Another benefit that having an associate degree has brought me is that I have been able to get in contact with employers from upscale establishments to start new jobs. In some cases, there could be many people applying for the same position, but just having the words “associate degree” on your résumé speeds up the process for you and your employer, and the chances of you getting into an establishment increase greatly. I decided to stay for the bachelor program and can’t wait to use what I’ve learned in both programs in my daily life and career!

-Jasmine Harmon, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Class of July 2018

Let’s make some jam!

By Matthew Cowles, Rachel Bland, and David Brophy

From left to right: Rachel Bland, Matthew Cowles, and David Brophy

Many a time during the summer or some off time, we find ourselves looking for something to do. We tend to cook during our free time, experimenting with new recipes. So here is a little jam recipe that both Rachel and David have created during their class time that anyone can do themselves at home. The best part about cooking when you’re bored or have too much free time is that you get to eat it once you’re done!

At first, Rachel had made a strawberry, rhubarb, earl grey, and vanilla jam while in the Healthy Baking Club and absolutely loved it. Strawberry Rhubarb is always a great jam, but one of the fun things about cooking is getting to tweak a recipe and make it better, and once she did, she couldn’t get enough of it. So David and Rachel decided to do a variation of it by doing strawberry, vanilla, and earl grey for a project. The first time they made it, they thought the flavor was good, but it wasn’t perfect and decided to keep testing. After the testing and the changes were made, they were happy with the recipe that they have now. It is guaranteed to be great as a spread to go with cheese and bread or put into a yogurt parfait.

Jam recipe:

2 ½ cups fresh strawberries, cut into quarters

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup water

2 tea bags of Earl Grey tea

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds removed

2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon pectin powder


  1. Combine sugar and water over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add the Earl Grey tea and let steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the tea bags and add the strawberries and vanilla seeds and the bean. Cook over medium to high heat until a boil.
  3. Add the pectin powder and lemon juice.
  4. Cook until mixture goes over 214 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. To check the consistency of your jam, put a tablespoon or so on a plate and place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Jam should be thick and sticky.
  6. If the jam is not done, let it boil for a few more minutes.
  7. Once the jam is done, put it into glass jars to cool. The jam can be held in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

This jam is an excellent recipe to get started with and can be used in so many ways with so many different recipe variations. You can also adjust all the ingredients to your flavor needs, so feel free to play around with it. This jam is an easy first recipe for people just getting into jam making or a great recipe for people who love making jams already.

Jam making is definitely a skill everyone should have. It is relaxing, fun, and a useful skill to have under your belt, and what better way to start out than with this delicious recipe?! This is the first jam I have ever taken part in making, and I was so pleased with the turnout (David Brophy). So enjoy, and don’t forget to share your finished product with a friend!

-Matthew Cowles, Student Leader

Culinary Arts, Class of July 2018

-Rachel Bland, Student Leader

Culinary Arts, Class of July 2019

-David Brophy

Culinary Arts, Class of July 2019

Our first term as Student Leaders

By Patrick Gendaszek, Mercy Tolbert, and Stephanie Sinclair

From left to right: Stephanie Sinclair, Patrick Gendaszek, and Mercy Tolbert

Looking back on my first term as a Student Leader, I think about all the excitement I had for things like Welcome Home (freshman move-in weekend) and the group work of making the schedule for our hours. Move-in weekend was a blur because there was always something to do and people to meet. It was nice to be able to tell the new students who we are and that we are here to help. The Q&A session we hosted was great for being able to pass on the little tips for college life I had learned over the course of my associate degree.

After that, we had the first team meeting and made the schedule for our hours for the next ten weeks. I got one night in Operations and two shifts in the Library. Operations would not be much of a change for me, as I had just done two or more nights a week for the last fifty weeks. But, the Library was the thing I wasn’t sure about, as I had spent many a night and break there typing papers, much like I still do with papers and blogs to this day. Having never been the one on the other side of the desk, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it. Turns out I loved it! It was a chance to meet new people and build a relationship with students I may otherwise never get to meet.

This is me looking back on my first term as a retrospective so that you can better understand the pride and importance that I, Patrick Gendaszek, as well as Stephanie Sinclair and Mercy Tolbert take in the new positions we find ourselves in.

-Patrick Gendaszek, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Class of March 2019

The past five weeks of being a Student Leader have brought many lessons and experiences that I never expected. First off, having the opportunity to be a Student Leader is such a blessing and I’m very grateful for it. It assured me that my hard work is paying off, but I know that I still have more work to do. My Student Leader hours have consisted of only working in the back of the house in the restaurant on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. It was a great interest of mine to work with plating the desserts for the restaurant and I’ve been having a blast. I realized that my job is pretty important, because the plates that I put out are basically the last impression of each person’s dinner, so they have to look nice. With this in mind, I make sure to send out only desserts that are up to par and meet the standards that everyone expects.

Aside from my Student Leader hours, I’ve found that I am starting to build relationships with my fellow Student Leaders. I think we have a great group of people with great ideas and different skills and experiences. So far, we work together very well, and I can’t wait for the projects and events we’ll complete in the future.

I am really starting to get a feel for what to expect in the real world once I finish college. If I can go to my classes at the beginning of the week and then work and do my Student Leader hours at the end of the week, then I can certainly handle whatever life throws at me. It really is a lot to juggle, but it’s not at all impossible. Hard work, determination, and passion really are the keys to success, and being a Student Leader is helping me to learn how to apply them to my everyday life.

-Mercy Tolbert, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Class of July 2019

My first term as a Student Leader has been a balance of teaching and learning from a unique perspective. I knew that I had gained a lot of knowledge from the associate program to be able to assist the students, but I did not realize how much I would be able to help out, especially during Restaurant Operations. Just last term, I was doing exactly what they had to do, like making drinks at the bar, polishing dishes in the kitchen, and running food to tables. After six terms of practicing and perfecting these tasks, I knew how much detail went into each one. In addition, I knew how boring it could be when there were no customers in the restaurant and everyone just had to wait for something to do. As a Student Leader, I have really tried to defeat that boredom by helping students perfect their knowledge of the Front of House so they understand how and why it is important to their field of study. Aside from teaching, I have also grown by learning from my instructors and the upperclassmen. Pat, my fellow Student Leader and mentor, has been encouraging me to speak up and be loud, despite my quiet nature. We are only halfway through the term, but I have noticed myself becoming vocal in situations where I would usually keep to myself. I have also found that my instructors have really been taking the time to show me things that they know will benefit me as a student and as a future manager. There is a lot of responsibility, time, and patience that goes into being a Student Leader, but I am very happy to be giving back to the other students and continuing to grow as a student myself.

-Stephanie Sinclair, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Class of July 2019

Our industry inspiration

By Kim Stefanelli, Kierstin Jester, and Caitlin Hedrich

From left to right: Caitlin Hedrich, Kim Stefanelli, and Kierstin Jester

Since I was young, I’ve always been glued to the TV watching Food Network. At first, I would always watch with my mom, who then decided to start trying to recreate the things she saw on TV. I remember being on my tippy toes watching her in awe as she would make either her famous red velvet cupcakes or even decedent brownies. My mother always put so much love and time into whatever she did. She would make things and always ask me how they turned out.  As I got older, I began to help my mom in the kitchen. In grade school, if there was a party, I would always volunteer to make the pastries because it always made me happy to see everyone else enjoy what I made. As I grew into a young adult, it hit me that I wanted to make people happy with what I made, just like my mother had done for me. My mother is my inspiration for everything I do. She is my rock, and without her, I don’t know if I would have such a passion as I do now.

-Kierstin Jester, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Class of July 2019


I grew up in the kitchen, and I think I always knew I was destined to have a career in the food industry. I would stand on a stool beside my grandmother as I watched her prepare the dishes that molded my childhood. I remember my mother making all my meals as a child, and when I look back on those times, I can still feel the love that she put into everything she made for me. It is the love and the memories that inspire me every day. I want to take the love that was given to me and put it into everything I make in hopes that the person who eats what I create can feel the love as well. Even in the times that I feel discouraged, I take a minute and remember why I love what I do and the people who inspire me. If there is one piece of advice that I could give, it is that when you feel discouraged or question your abilities, remember why you wanted it in the first place.

-Caitlin Hedrich, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Class of July 2019


Similar to Kierstin and Caitlin, I too grew up cooking and baking with my mom and dad.  My dad is still to this day one of the best cooks I know, and my mom is an amazing baker. I would sit at the kitchen counter, watching both of them work with ease. They’d come home from work and go to the kitchen because it would relax them from the busy days they just had. The more I watched, the more I learned, and eventually, I began helping out. I knew baking was a passion at a very young age, and I knew it was what I wanted to do. I began baking little things for classmates and friends, and seeing the smiles on their faces after they ate began a whole new inspiration. It was the greatest feeling in the world hearing someone say the food I made was delicious. My passion for the industry started with my parents, but my inspiration came from seeing others happy. There is a lot of negativity in the world, but food is one thing that brings people together and makes everyone happy. This industry is a selfless industry. We bend over backward to make others smile—and I love every second of it.

-Kim Stefanelli, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Class of July 2018

Where we come from

As Walnut Hill College (sadly) prepares to say goodbye to another group of graduates this March, some of our Student Leaders take a moment to reflect on why they chose to study and work in the foodservice and hospitality industry and what (thankfully) led them here.

By Steven Benton, Victoria Green, and Morgan Getler

From left to right: Victoria Green, Steven Benton, and Morgan Getler

Walnut Hill College is a wonderful college that provides so much knowledge throughout both the hands-on and lecture courses. When I started here as a freshman, I had a slight background in the pastry industry from my vocational high school and previous jobs. Considering I already had four years of experience in the pastry field, I came to the college thinking, “How much more could I really learn?” It ended up being very flawed thinking on my part, as I learned way more in my first two terms as a freshman than I did throughout my four years in the industry. I have gained so many skills, from hospitality and communication to actual knife skills and kitchen terms. As a result of the knowledge gained from the program up to this point, I am currently an assistant pastry chef at Wishbone, a small restaurant where I have full control of the Pastry Department when I am there. Walnut Hill College has rapidly broadened my understanding of the kitchen and how it works, and I find myself updating my resume constantly. This college has gotten me so far and I can’t wait to see how much farther I will go because of it.

-Victoria Green, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Class of July 2019


When I interviewed for my current job, I had just finished orientation to begin my first freshman term at Walnut Hill College. I spoke to the current food and beverage director, and he inquired about my schooling and the content I was learning. When I explained the courses I was enrolled to take, he seemed very impressed. After I was hired, he took on the general manager position and continued to follow up with my progress in college, always helping me in areas I struggled in and giving me real-life, hands-on applications. The food and beverage position is still open, and now that my boss has seen what I have learned and where I am going in my career, he has made it known to me that I am being considered for the spot. Throughout my time here I have moved up in the company, all thanks to the education I have received at Walnut Hill College. Had I not learned fine dining etiquette and cost control, I would not be successful in both the banquet section and bar section of the establishment. I am excited to continue to move up in the company, and thanks to my schooling, many doors have been opened. From starting as a server in the bar and banquet to moving up to floor manager and banquet captain/wedding concierge, I have no one but Walnut Hill College to thank.

-Morgan Getler, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Class of July 2019


I started off my journey in the hospitality field in ninth grade, when I was able to pick Culinary Arts as my technical shop. I learned as much as possible under the direction of Chef Colin Marsh and I worked in the back of house at a brewery for three years as a line cook. In the twelfth grade, I was looking for colleges and I found Walnut Hill College. Truthfully, I didn’t know which major to go into, but as I visited the college I met Professor Simonis, and he inspired me to pursue Restaurant Management. He taught me so much as I went through my associate degree in Restaurant Management. I owe it to Professor Simonis for helping me to choose my major. I try my best to absorb as much information out of every opportunity I get from the college, and as I begin my final terms here at Walnut Hill College, I can’t help but think about where I came from…

-Steven Benton, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Class of July 2018