How to Climb the Ladder of Success: Tips from Walnut Hill College Alumni

By Kevin Ellul

If you didn’t know already, the culinary world is fueled with flames, sharp knives, hot kitchens, and tattoos. However, the industry isn’t all about those things; it €™s more relevant to Hospitality- hence, the Hospitality Industry. Chefs, Managers, Bakers, Restauranteurs, and Waitresses and Waiters all take part within this industry to make others happier. Below are 3 alumni of Walnut Hill College who participated in this interview:

Marie Stecher, Pastry Chef Instructor: Walnut Hill College.

Marshay Wallace, Senior Event Operations Manager: Renaissance Chicago Downtown

Frank Olivieri, Chef/Owner: Pat €™s King of Steaks.

Where did you see yourself in 5 years, prior to graduating? Where are you now?

€¢ €œI saw myself as a Pastry Chef of a Restaurant in Philadelphia or California €¦I have come full circle, I am now a Pastry Chef Instructor at Walnut Hill College. € €“ Marie Stecher

€¢ €œI saw myself working corporately or in a restaurant €¦I am the Senior Event Operations Manager at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown, which is a part of Marriott Hotels. € €“Marshay Wallace

€¢ €œI was in the process of running my family €™s 80 year old business, Culinary School was more of a bucket list. Presently still running my family business; however, I have a dream of opening my own restaurant to fulfill my passion of cooking. € €“ Frank Olivieri

How did you get there?

€¢ €œI worked 10 years in the business, in hotels, bakeries, B&B €™s and restaurants. I knew I wanted to teach all along, but the opportunity came up sooner than expected. A friend had told me, Walnut Hill was looking for a pastry chef, I was looking for a change at my current job, so I sent in my resume. I interviewed with the Director, did a tasting, and got the job! € €“ Marie Stecher

€¢ €œI first started working for Hyatt Hotels as an Assistant Outlets Manager in Philadelphia, from there I moved to Reston, Virginia and was the Assistant Outlets Manager. I then went to the Grand Hyatt DC as the Assistant Banquet Manager. I then realized I missed being home in Chicago, and Marriott had a position open and I moved to Chicago. There I became the Banquet Manager at the Renaissance and then got promoted to being the Senior Manager. € €“ Marshay Wallace

€¢ €œI got here (my family €™s business) because I have been working at the same place since I was 11 years of age and now, I €™m 53! € €“ Frank Olivieri

Tell us what it’s like in a “Real Life” Kitchen?

€¢ €œA lot more crazier things happen then what is on reality TV, but I am sworn to secrecy. I loved working in the kitchens. Its hard work, but if you work with a good team anything is possible! I was lucky I worked with some really talented people and chefs in the industry. € €“ Marie Stecher

€¢ €œDefinitely different than being in school. The reality is that there are times where you work with others who don €™t share the same passion and enthusiasm as you do and for them it €™s just a job. There are times when you have to look a little harder to find the joy in what you do. But overall, its fun and I love what I do! € €“ Marshay Wallace

€¢ €œIt €™s the most exciting thing to be working in the kitchen, whether you’re flipping cheesesteaks or working in a brigade. The industry that we are in is the most progressive and creative of all industries. Having instant ratification and customer review is important €¦ so you have to be on your €œA € game every day. € €“ Frank Olivieri

What would you change about your experiences?

€¢ €œI would definitely travel more. I do regret not going to Europe to do a stage. I think that experience would of helped me develop more as a chef. € €“ Marie Stecher

€¢ €œCurrently nothing. I €™ve realized that although I have a plan for my life, sometimes those plans don €™t go the way I thought they would. So I €™ve learned to find the good in each experience and to make sure that I walk away knowing and learning something that I didn €™t know before. € €“ Marshay Wallace

€¢ €œI was accepted to Cordon Bleu in Paris in 1982; however, I wanted to run my family business instead. I do have some regrets about not being in Paris, although, the education that I have received over the many many years is just as valuable as if I had attended Cordon Bleu. However, going back to Culinary School later in life showed me how to enjoy the educational process once again € €“ Frank Olivieri

What tips would you like to share with current students, and/or incoming students?

€¢ €œWork hard, be professional and try to stay with a place for at least a year. Read as much as you can about food and the industry trends. Eat out and travel as much as you can (and can afford). I was once given this advice and I still follow it: €˜Always take the job that will get you to the next job, don €™t go backwards. €™ €“ Marie Stecher

€¢ €œDefinitely be a sponge and soak it all in. Gain relationships with the instructors and Chefs; take this time to explore yourself and the many facets of this industry and find what it really is you want to do because there are so many paths and positions within this industry. More importantly, enjoy this time and have fun. The experiences and education that you receive here is priceless. € €“ Marshay Wallace

€¢ €œIf I can give any advice to my fellow classmates or students whom are presently within the culinary program, I would say: Follow your dream, don’t become discouraged- you’re fortunate enough to be involved in one of the most exciting career €™s out there. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, always be willing to listen to someone else €™s advice (it might help you in the long run). € €“ Frank Olivieri

I want to thank the individuals who’ve participated within this blog. It means a great deal to the students, staff, and our college.

To check out these amazing hospitality industry enthusiasts and their place of work, visit their websites by clicking on their name!

Marie Stecher

Marshay Wallace

Frank Olivieri

If you are an Alumni of Walnut Hill College (WHC) and would like to join our Alumni Association, please click here!

€œBecoming a member of our Alumni Association means that you will join a diverse network of industry professionals who all got their start at Walnut Hill College just like you! €

You can also check out different success stories of WHC Alumni, as well as, career opportunities affiliated within our reach.

-Kevin Ellul, Student Leader
Culinary Arts, Class of July 2017

An International College Student Experience

By Kenan Rabah

Leaving your hometown and moving to the big city for college is a very big step and hard decision to make. However, imagine the struggle of these students who left their countries and moved to the other part of the earth, just to fulfill their dreams, get the education and experience they are seeking for.

Well, I am one of them! So let me tell you about my experience, shall I?!

My name is Kenan €¦I was born and raised in a small village in northern Israel called Majdal Shams, which is a part of the Golan Heights region. Growing up, I always wanted to be a chef. Perhaps the picture of my grandmother baking the bread on the woods, and the smell of it, is the most memorable, and significant memory from my childhood. Day by day, my passion for cooking and baking started to grow bigger and bigger, until I decided that this was the path I wanted to take and that would be my career. Of course, living in that community where people think that cooking should not be more than a wife preparing food for her husband and children, was challenging. People in Majdal Shams thought that I was crazy to move overseas and spend my money, just to be a chef. However, they didn €™t know that a chef presents passion, creativity, pleasure, and success. I kept my ears closed and stayed with my decision no matter what it was going to cost me. I also wanted to prove to these people that you can be successful without being a doctor, or engineer, and set an example for all the youngsters over there to follow their dreams and passion €¦despite what others may think. But, I was lucky enough to live with a very supportive family, who has always been there for me, to lift me up, and give the freedom to choose and be what I want to be.

I remember one day after my parents came back from their trip to the U.S.A, and my father came up to me with a college application from Philadelphia, and it was a huge surprise for me. I never thought I would go this far to achieve my goals! America was a dream for me and many friends, a place where opportunity, success, and fun exist, but it was too far. After many tries of contacting different colleges in France and Britain, I didn €™t find the best choice for me, and I was really upset and concerned about it. Without telling me, my dad called his friend who lives in Philadelphia and asked him about culinary colleges around. He told him about Walnut Hill College, and immediately looked the college up and called the admissions office to see what I needed to apply and get accepted. My dad handing me that application that night was probably the happiest moment of my life. Not just because that I am going to America, but wherever I go I will know that there is a great family who cares and loves me.

The process of getting my student visa, and getting ready to leave was really smooth, and there were no problems at all. The college admission rep, who I thank very much, helped me so much to make sure I had all it takes to pass the interview at the embassy, and always checking to see if everything went well. Feeling that the people at the college cared about me made me more comfortable and excited.
The big day was January 23rd 2015 €¦all my luggage was ready to go and there was just one last thing that had to be done before leaving, and for sure it was the hardest thing €¦saying the goodbyes. Saying goodbye to your friends who you spent the greatest times with, or your brothers, and sister who you lived, laughed, loved, and cried with €¦ or your mother or father who are your life €¦ is not easy at all. It felt like throwing everything you built away, and it is a tough feeling. Yes, I felt sad, and cried so much, but never felt that I wanted to give up and just go back. I knew that there was something so big and beautiful waiting for me, and my best days were ahead of me.

Finally, after a very long flight, I arrived to Philadelphia €¦the big city. It was a huge city with so many people, so many buildings €¦ like nothing I have seen before. It was a little bit scary at first especially that this was my first experience living in a big city. The next day I woke up, had my coffee with my dad (who came with me to make sure that everything was good before starting my classes) and got ready to go check out the college. I remember how amazed and happy I was when I first saw the college, especially the great European courtyard €¦I loved it, and all my fears and concerns just went away. My first term wasn €™t easy at all because everything was different and new in my life €¦new country, college, language, people, and even lifestyle, but with the help of all the chefs, instructors, college staff, and colleagues, I passed, and kept passing all the other terms, until I graduated with my Associate of Science degree in Culinary Arts in July of 2016.

Difficulties I faced during my program

1- As an international student who came to the United States with a student (f-1) visa, you should be aware that you are not eligible to work in the country, and from the other hand, the college policy requires the students to finish internship hours (total of 240 hours for culinary students) working in restaurants or food corporations. But DO NOT WORRY! There is always a way to make it happen. You are allowed however, to do a non-paid internship, where you work and get experience in change (that €™s what I did), or you can finish your internship hours at the college €™s restaurant. Moreover, you can always fill out an application (i-756) that will allow you to work 20 hours a week during your program and 40 hours a week during breaks. All this information I got from the Vice President of Administrative Services, Ms. Peggy Liberatoscioli. She really did and continues to do her best to help me and make sure all my documents and files are good.

2- Walnut Hill College provide the culinary and pastry students a week-long trip to France after finishing the Associate degree, and for the management students a trip to the Bahamas. If you decided to finish the bachelors program as well, (that I highly recommend) you will also be going on a trip to England. These trips are to make sure you get a great learning experience at the top places, in hospitality industry. That might be challenging for the international students because you might need a visa to travel to any of these places, and that would take a little extra time and work from you, but believe me, it €™s totally worth your time and effort.

Check out the Tour of France, England, and the Bahamas here!
3- As an international student coming to any city in the U.S.A., you will see that there is huge cultural diversity like nowhere else, so you will be expected to pay very close attention to how you treat other people from different cultures because something acceptable in your culture might not be in others.

My overall experience at Walnut Hill College has been the best one in my life! No doubt that it was challenging in so many levels at first, but here I am, just finished my Associate degree, came back for my bachelors, and I was really honored to be selected as part of the Student Leadership Development Institute! The Student Leadership Development Institute has also been an amazing learning experience not just for my career and professional life, but for my personality and how to be a good leader and set a good example for others in every decision you make and action you take!

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

How to create a Restaurant grade menu €¦

By Kevin Ellul

Creating a menu takes a lot of time and thought as you need to be creative, articulate, and generally simplistic. Saying this, your customers should be able to read your menu with no problem; articulating vocabulary to the simplest form for better understanding. Throughout this article, I will discuss the components of creating a menu, from cuisines and themes to tastes, textures, and the initial development of a dish and menu.

Creating a menu entails that you have a determined cuisine or a diversity of cuisines that work well together. There are many cuisines in the world, with few being first choices. These include: French, Italian, Chinese, and Spanish. Many chefs modernize traditional dishes aimed towards a cuisine; today they tend to set a theme and create their dishes using research, seasonality, and creativity.

Many restaurant owners theme their restaurants to attract customers. Look at Olive Garden; A very popular Italian influenced restaurant with a set house menu. Theming restaurants and menus are important because it €™s what attracts the customers to dine. Themes also include seasonality- specifically using ingredients available within certain seasons. Themes can be anywhere from countries, certain dates, or focused on one specific ingredient (ex. Mushrooms). Courses are also considered a €œtheme €- primarily pertaining to tasting menus (a multiple coursed menu). Many restaurant €™s offer tasting menus, which are constantly changing, or a house menu, which is consistently the same every day.

Tastes and Textures
Think of tastes and textures as the initial food and ingredients. For example, a carrot could exemplify a texture; using it either raw for a crunchy texture or cooked for a soft texture. To a chef, tastes and textures are a big part of menus. Incorporating as much flavor and texture in a dish creates an excellent dining experience €¦ for the consumer and the chef. One interesting factor is color; color reflects taste as you eat with your eyes first. If you create a dish that has a neon yellow sauce, you would think of lemon; however, it might not be €”which creates an interesting reaction to the mind and palate of the consumer.

The human palate has a total of five senses of taste, which are: Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Sour, and Umami. Each taste has a different effect on flavors- and some even enhance flavors, such as sweet, salty, and sour.

€œSweet €
Sweetness will cut through acidity and salt and take the edge off of bitterness. Sweetness- specifically meaning €œsugar €, adds a certain depth to a dish, which draws out certain flavor enhancers.

€œSalty €
Salty, one of the most important tastes. It increases depth and enhances flavors within a dish. Just as sugar, salt cuts the unwanted bitterness out of ingredients and draws out moisture within food; therefore, creating more of a moist texture. Salt isn’t the only €œsalt € derivative; soy sauce, cheese, or olives can be used to induce a salty punch.

€œSour €
Sour, primarily acid, is the second most important taste to use while creating a dish. Almost every dish is better with some form of acid- or sourness. Vinegar, lemon juice, soured dairy, or even wine can be used to create a presence of acid within a dish. However, if too much sourness is present, Sugar and salt will help balance it out. The best part about all of these tastes is BALANCE. Balancing tastes and flavors is what a chef loves to do.

€œUmami €
This taste is one that is always there, but is never realized. Umami is described as a savory taste. Mushrooms, steak, cheese, and even tomatoes are of umami decent. The word, Umami, derives from Japanese language, meaning; Pleasant Savory Taste. The taste is really associated with glutamates found in foods containing proteins. A form of umami can be added to foods by using glutamic acid created into a €œpowder € known as MSG (Monosodium Glutamate).

€œBitter €
Believe it or not, all bitter foods aren €™t bad, especially if they are properly balanced. Bitterness derives mainly from leafy greens; however, it can also be found in herbs, spices, dark chocolate, olive oil, and even coffee. The benefits of bitter food are: healthy antioxidants, detoxification properties, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Textures are very distinctive to a dish €™s creation. Texture has a variety of meanings; assume every ingredient as a texture- whether it’s fish, nuts, or ice cream. Cooking techniques pertain to textures as well; sautéing, a high temperature cooking technique, condones a Maillard reaction. It €™s a reaction occurring from mainly any food by the means of browning and caramelization of amino acids and natural sugars occurring within. This reaction isn’t much about just color; however, presumably the flavors associating with it, a roasted-nutty hue.

While developing a dish, one must think about flavor, color, and texture €”as I’ve mentioned. Proper textures, even so, multiple textures, are important to include in EVERY dish. Some components to remember while constructing your masterpiece are: The Main Component (use as a texture), Sauce (sauce, liquid-like texture), Garnish (whichever texture resembles garnish €”a powder can be used as a garnish), Earth (can be similar to garnish, earth resembles herbs, nuts, fruit, vegetables, starch, or edible greens and flowers), and lastly Crunch/Crispy (a crispy or crunchy ingredient, including a crumble). Other textures, which are mostly seen today are silky, spongy, airy, flaky, and gelatinous. These are the best textures for more modern and gastronomic dishes today.

Description is Key; Price is Everything!
Descriptive words and adjectives are what sells the dish! Make sure you are descriptive within your menu and recipes. This will attract the customers to dishes of their likings. No one likes to read, €œfish fillet with skin €, but a €œcrispy skinned fillet of fish €, will sell and look better on a menu. Just as description is key, the price of the dish, finalizes the sale. While creating your menu, efficiently cost your dishes and recipes by the amount of ingredients residing on the plate. Too high of prices might steer your customers away, too little will lose you money.

Developing Recipes and Dishes
The development of recipes is what forms the dishes residing on menus. It €™s what composes each dish to the tee, and informs you of everything from a splash of milk, to a dash of salt. A recipe consists of an ingredients section and a procedure section. Therefore, creating a dish isn €™t easy, everything within the article previously mentioned should be included, as well as, plating style, and the plate itself. Weight, Grams, Ounces, Tablespoons, and Cups are amongst the vocabulary for measurements of recipe development. Vocabulary is very important in a recipe, it should be simple and easy to understand. Chefs generally have their own ways of honing their skills, either creating a dish by blending ingredients or drawing up sketches of their ideas, then executing them.

Here is an example of how to create a dish, then execute your idea, or recipe.

My idea is to create an Haute Cuisine inspired dish; this means it is of French Influence and ultimately of several courses. This dish has modern elegance and fine dining stature. The season is Fall, thus a Fall tasting menu is in order. I will be highlighting seasonal ingredients within my dish, focusing on farm fresh/locally grown and foraged organic ingredients.

The menu is themed €œJourneying into Fall € (captivating fall flavors, colors, and ingredients as the fall season comes closer to an end). I will be representing the second course on a four course menu I €™ve created. I have looked into local seasonal ingredients; I have chosen Trout, Lemons (available year round), Cranberries, Parsnips, and Tarragon. Now that I have my ingredients, the possibilities are endless in what to create with them. I have decided to name my dish: Lemoned Trout.

My question now is, what components do I add to this dish? The Trout will be descaled, filleted, and portioned into 3 oz. skin-on fillets. Next, I will make a compound butter, which is a flavored and aromatic butter and this will consist of Lemon Juice, Zest, Tarragon and Salt. The trout will be sautéed and basted in the lemon-tarragon butter which will coat the fish with an abundance of flavor and reflect crisp, crunchy skin. Now, that I have my main protein thought out, I now need to create the rest of the dish with elements, textures, and flavors. Thinking about components, I’ve decided to Blister Cranberries, making it similar to a cranberry relish, creating a thinned puree of Parsnips (Parsnip Broth), and developing a deep green- flavorful oil of tarragon. After the fish is perfected, the oil is finished, the puree is complete, and the cranberries have blistered; I’ve planned and drawn out my dish in entirety. For my plating, I have picked a shallow bowl with a larger rim. I will place the hot puree/broth onto the bottom of the bowl, spreading it into a thin circle, coating the bottom. Next, I will add about one to two tablespoons of the blistered cranberries directly in the middle of the puree, this will be room temperature. After that, I will add the hot, butter drenched, crispy skinned trout on top of the berries, the skin side will face up- towards the customer. Lastly, the dish will be finished with a slight drizzle of tarragon oil. For Garnish, I wish to add red mustard green frills, and sea salt.

I have created my dish, as well as, an entire menu, you can view it here:


Pickled Fall Salad
Pickled Sharon Fruit, Roasted Beets, Frisse, Candied Pistachios, Coriander Yogurt


Lemoned Trout
Lemon Butter, Blistered Cranberries, Parsnip Broth,
Tarragon Oil


Sunflower Chicken
Sunflower Seeds, Sunchokes, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Potato Gnocchi,
Sage Brown Butter, Sunflower Oil


Deconstructed Apple Pie
Spiced Apple, Walnut Powder, Caramel Sauce, Broken Sugar, Pate Brisse,
Whipped Cream, Apple Chip, Cinnamon Ice Cream

This menu has been executed by myself and a team of students within the Great Chefs Restaurant here at Walnut Hill College. The event was a wine dinner challenge consisting of these four courses and eight wines to taste.

Walnut Hill College presents a Wine Dinner Challenge every month, take a look to see what’s in store for the future and Click Here!

You can also view the Great Chefs Menu here as well!

-Student Leader, Kevin Ellul
Culinary Arts, Class of July 2017

Think Outside the Line: Cooking is more than just the restaurant scene

By Kristine Alfes

Every time I go out, meeting either family, new friends, or talking to anyone else outside of school, I get asked the same question constantly: €œwhat restaurant are you working at now? € It becomes awkward when I have to correct them and say that I €™m working for a catering company and right as the conversation begins to flow again, the realization comes that not everyone knows about the careers outside of line work and the restaurant scene. As incoming cooks in training, chefs-to-be, and everywhere in between in the community that is Walnut Hill College, we all had to write an entry essay describing our future endeavors post graduation of the program. Mine was to be an €œExecutive Chef of a restaurant € but I soon learned that the restaurant scene wasn €™t where I belong, and trying to be an executive in anything I €™m not passionate about won €™t end too well. I soon then turned my mind to focus on private work, catering, and eventually to comprehensive education for the hospitality field (after much needed inspiration from the Chefs here).

Full-service restaurants make up about 47% of the food service industry; it is then followed by limited service restaurants (fast food, cafeterias, etc) that make up about 36% of the industry, according to a study conducted by Oregon State in 2015. The other 14% is divided around various other careers like catering, research and development, private client, artisan products, food distribution, industry education, and more. The majority of Culinary Arts programs touch base on developing skills for a line cook, which isn’t a bad thing at all but as time moves on, career moves may change and questions will come about on €œwhat the next move will be? €

Here is a closer look into the 14% that makes up the rest of the food service industry:


Catering is drastically different from the line, and this form of food service is a good outlet for those who are not into the long nights, rush (or lack there of, depending on the night), and looking to constantly change up their cooking style and profile. This is a career where everything is done in such a vast quantity, and is different from typical line work. Catering companies serve parties from seventy, to two-hundred, to even a thousand people at events like weddings, birthdays, and fundraisers, all in one night. In this type of job, dishes consist of many little parts of a whole image, and most of the time, the menu is not as likely to be repeated. It is a different type of adrenaline rush as everything is done all at once and then once the night is over, you feel great.

Research and Development (R&D)

R&D is used by large corporations such as Campbell €™s Soup, Chili €™s, and companies alike. In this field, the Food Technologist is constantly developing new products for the company to sell. They also make sure food is produced legally, safely, and of the best of quality. If a chain restaurant has new specials, these were tested by a Chef of R&D and then sent the product recipe to the restaurants. This also includes a large amount of science, because the FT conduct experiments, samples, and designing new cooking processes. What if you want to make a line of barbecue sauces made out of red peppers? Develop it.

Culinary Educator

Chef Instructors are the people we look up to as a culinary or hospitality student. This isn’t just specific to college level €¦instructors also teach culinary and pastry in technical high schools. Instructors create meaningful lessons that help students gain hands-on experience, while also developing their professional outlook in the industry. This person needs to be able to not only teach someone at any level, but also be able to inspire the next generation of chefs. A chef instructor even has the opportunity to become certified in their profession through organizations like the ACF. This is a career where learning is always an option, and sharing knowledge is an absolute.

In conclusion, I €™m not saying that working in a restaurant is wrong as everyone has their niche. But, there is more to the food service and hospitality industry than most of us are exposed to. These jobs can be applied to every major here at Walnut Hill College, and with some trial and error, we fall into the places we fit best. Check out the degree program here!

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

A Service Professional

By Daniel Singer

If you have ever been a student here at Walnut hill College, you have or will have our Restaurant Operations class (unless of course, you €™re a pastry student). This is the class where the Management and Culinary students cross train in the student run restaurants in Front of the House and Back of the House. Practicing techniques taught by our instructors in classic French fine dining service.

At the close of class each night, our instructor Mr. Simonis summarizes a lot of what he saw and gives us a small closing speech of how we can improve based on the events of the night. During one of the nightly closing speeches, I will always remember one speech that really influenced my view of restaurants and even many aspects of life in general. The speech went a little like this after a slow night in ops:

€œ €¦In the restaurant there are days when we are very busy and there is lots to do €¦ there are also days we are very slow and we can stand around. As the years go by you see this cycle continue and it may seem to be very repetitive, and too many people become very boring. Because of this, there needs to be a reason to work. I have found that the people who do the best in this industry are the servers and managers who love people, who enjoy serving, who enjoy building relationships with their guests. It is someone who truly loves people that can do well in the front of the house industry… €

Now, I am paraphrasing what he said and with much less elegance then how he said it, but, nonetheless you understand. In Greg Hook €™s blog a couple weeks ago, he talked about having a passion for the restaurant industry and its service. In this industry, it €™s a must have.

As someone who has had the opportunity to work at Fork as an Expediter, I am able to watch and observe how the restaurant operates. I watch as the line cooks in the kitchen prepare the food with very specific intent, and as they finish, pass their product on to the Chef who then begins, with very acute attention to detail, plating the dish. I observe how the Chef examines the food, searching for any imperfection that might damage the quality and presentation of their food, aiming to put out a perfect dish every single time, almost four hundred times a night.

I watch the servers as they greet their guests with big smiles, genuinely happy about the arrival of the guest. I watch as the entire staff treat each guest as if they were the only ones in the room and treating their dinner service as if they were the most important; making sure every detail of their meal was perfect such as: placing a cocktail fork for oysters or a spoon for soup, clearing and wiping the table after each course. The servers take individualized efforts to Pair wine with guests and guiding them along service taking great lengths to ensure they enjoy their experience.

It all seems so simple and repetitive, especially on nights when we might serve ten guests in our restaurant or have a 30% occupancy rate in your hotel, but it takes so much more than being smart. It takes that special intrinsic passion for people and others happiness that gives you a reason to do it. It takes a love of what you are doing to find a reason to pay so much attention to the small details, to treat those ten guests to the best meal they’ve ever had. It takes that special love to create a hospitality Service Professional.

-Daniel Singer, Student Leader
Restaurant Management, Class of July 2017

It €™s Time for Freshmen Showcase!

By Tyler Fortna

So it €™s that time of year again when all the new freshman have the chance to showcase their talents in front of their family, friends, and prospective students. There is a lot of talk in the hallways and the kitchens about you guys being nervous and what Freshman Showcase may involve. First off, there is nothing to be nervous about…Freshman Showcase is all about you as a student showing your family members what you have been doing and learning about these first eight weeks here at Walnut Hill College and making them proud. All students are split up into different action stations around campus. An example of some stations would be bread, sushi, flambé, wine, and demo. If you are lucky enough to be chosen for the demo stations you will be down at the center for hospitality studies at the 4100 building to help the Chef Instructor prepare their signature dish in front of your family members and your peers €™ family members. During the night, you do get a break and get to walk around with the people who came to support you which would be your opportunity to show off how great our college is and get to walk around and see what all goes on throughout the night. So have no fear or anxiety about the evening, as all it is, is a celebration of your accomplishments thus far and a great night out for the people who care about you the most!

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

How to Make the Most of the End of the Term

By Cecelia Johnson-Chavis

Shake up your routine

At such a small college, it can feel like you €™ve seen what there is to see, but we €™ve got quite a lot going on here. Boredom can lead to stagnation, so it €™s sometimes best to shake up the routine! If you usually study in your room, try studying in the library. If you haven €™t partaken in a Student Life Event, see what they €™re about (and get some points while you €™re at it.) Attend a new club meeting or help out with a Community Ed event. They can all be great ways to meet new people and catch some things going on that you may have missed.

Be proactive

It may seem like the term is already behind us, but there is certainly still time to make a strong finish. If you haven €™t been the best with keeping up with your grades, attendance, points, or internship hours, now is the time to really look into it. If you know where you stand in week seven, there shouldn €™t be any surprises week ten. Communicate with your instructors to make sure that you are on the same page and up to date, because a last minute extra credit or missed assignment can make a difference in your final grade for better or for worse.

Ask for help

At WHC, we have a wealth of resources and a very close knit community, and often some relief to our struggles is only a conversation away. If you €™re having trouble and don €™t feel comfortable going directly to the chef or instructor, there are Student Success Advisors, Student Leaders, tutors, other faculty, and even other classmates. Whether you need help improving your performance in a class, finding a job, or even just finding your way around campus, the first step is asking.

Cecelia Johnson-Chavis, Student Leader

Culinary Arts, Class of March 2018

Finding Your Passion

By Greg Hook

It €™s week 4 and now we have a full load and the grumblings of the day to day struggles sometimes are tough €¦classes, homework, studying, papers, midterms, work later on tonight, and the squad wants to hang out. Whether you €™re a freshman starting or a senior in the process of graduating, having patience and keeping your passion has excelled me to being the best restaurateur and college student I €™ve ever been.

Most of us will start college with an image of what we want to become and while I went to community college, that image was teaching. As I was working full-time in a friends €™ family restaurant, I completed a Liberal Arts degree with a concentration in math & sciences. At the time, I thought I would go on to receive a bachelor degree in education. However, over the course of my education at community college, the image I had of myself changed. Every day I challenged myself €¦is this what I want? I realized my true passion was helping and serving others and that I would be much happier in a career that involved working in restaurants. But wait, did I just waste two years? Am I sure I really want to go into restaurants? What does that entail? I had to be patient to find out.

When you don €™t have THE answer, which *hint *hint*, you most likely never will, go with your own gut. My answer was easy €¦I would move to Philadelphia, obtain an Associate degree really quick in Restaurant Management, and then move back to NY and become a manager at the restaurant I €™ve been at forever. However, Walnut Hill College opened my eyes to a much different restaurant industry, and even broader, the hospitality industry in general. Whether its quick service, sit-down, casual, fine-dining, hotels, American food, international food, wines, or spirits, the hospitality industry never ends and neither should your passion.

I feel confident I found mine because I am here now in Week 4 of my last year having chosen to continue into the Bachelor program. I work in fine-dining in center city Philadelphia and have an image of myself managing within the fine-dining industry, or finding a way to teach others about the restaurant business. With a wealth of knowledge, skills, and a network that is ever growing, I have more going on day to day than ever in my life, but I find energy in remembering the original passion I had. When I wonder how sometimes a menial task is applicable to my life, I remember to be patient because hard work pays off. Enjoy today and what it has to offer €¦whether it €™s a new cooking style, wine variety, or management technique, think back to why you started it all and that image you had of yourself. Is it different? Is it the same? Just be patient and keep your passion going.

Find your passion within our four degree programs  by clicking here!

-Greg Hook, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Graduating July 2017

Tips for Success at the Career Fair on October 5th

by Thaddeus Meyers

September is just about over and everyone €™s favorite month is almost here. That €™s right, October! We all know that October means our favorite and most useful event that our college has to offer is approaching quickly €¦the CAREER FAIR on October 5th!

October 5th  Wednesday

9:00am to 12:00pm  

European Courtyard

This exclusive fair connects the most successful and innovative hospitality companies

With the best & brightest upcoming hospitality stars (our students and alumni)

Vendors are looking to fill  internships  and job positions in

Culinary,  Hospitality Management,  

Pastry and  Restaurant Management.

Here are some extremely useful tips to look good, feel good, and most importantly make a great first impression to prospective employers.


Making eye contact to an employer is the most important trait to keep in mind while trying to land a job. Growing up in the generation of cell phones and technology we sometimes get in the habit of looking down when we speak to people which is not something an employer wants to see.


Be sure to shake your fellow prospective employers hand with a smile when meeting them. A simple firm handshake while making eye contact will go a long way with employers. People always say you learn a lot about a person by the way they shake your hand.


The key to succeeding in anything we do in life is being confident. While speaking to an employer be sure to be confident and sound confident in your ability to perform in a work environment. No matter the experience we have, we all have to start somewhere and being confident in yourself will always be beneficial.


The easiest and most common step to miss is dressing appropriately for career fair. Dressing business professional reflects you as a student and our wonderful college. If you are reading this and wondering €œhow do I know if I am dressed appropriately? €, just go with the safe route and over dress. My rule of thumb personally as a male going to career fair or a job interview is to wear a full suit with a tie because you can always take your jacket off if need be.


Being comfortable is great, but being too comfortable in a professional environment is not great. When we speak to prospective employers or even our peers during career fair, I recommend to try our best to be as polite as possible and remember our manners. A please and thank you will only benefit your chances of landing a job or internship at career fair.

I hope that these recommendations are useful and you try to make the most of your career fair! Get out of your comfort zone and don’t be scared. Be confident, smart, and professional and you will have no problem having a fantastic career fair. Also, do not forget to check out our Careers & Alumni page for various resources to support your career!

Click here to view my biography!

Thaddeus Meyers, Student Leader

B.S. in Culinary Arts Candidate, Class of March 2017

Attending a Small College

by Kady Fox

During these past two years at Walnut Hill College, I have learned how much it means to me to attend a smaller institution. At Walnut Hill College, we are treated like hospitality professionals, just like how we expect to be treated outside of college in the work force. Each new start of students grow together and build a strong bond, whether you see it within your own group or you witnessed it in the most recent graduated class of students. This bond becomes very noticeable in the Associate’s degree program trip to either France or Florida. I enjoy coming to class and spending time on campus because I feel as if I am learning every day from my classmates, including both under and upperclassmen.

At small institutions like Walnut Hill College, students get the freedom to express their passion with the support of faculty and staff. Each member of our faculty is passionate and knowledgeable about their specific subject area. They also are passionate about helping students succeed which helps to create an amazing atmosphere within the classroom. There is always someone in this college willing to help turn a passion or idea into a reality. Through the assistance of our faculty, we have had students start with creating custom menus and follow through the process all the way to turning those menus into a full-fledged, functioning restaurant.

The community at this college is strong and I am proud to attend, support, and be supported by my fellow classmates and staff at Walnut Hill College. To meet various staff and faculty members at Walnut Hill College, click here.

Kady Fox, Student Leader

B.S. in Hotel Management Candidate, Class of July 2017