Finding that Inspiration

By Kady Fox

Life can be distracting, causing us to turn assignments in late, be forgetful, or even lose focus on the important things. I know that distractions affect me and take me away from the order of importance in my life. One thing that keeps me grounded in what I’m doing is my passion for this College and for improving myself. Sometimes, when I am feeling uninspired, I take a moment and talk to some people who inspire me, including my close friends and alumni. Even seeing other people’s passion sometimes inspires me. I believe it is important to find some time to figure out what new things can inspire you. Our College has a slew of alumni success stories, and it’s extremely inspiring to see where our alumni have ended up and what they have done.

Now that I am coming closer to the end of my time here at Walnut Hill College, something I find inspiring is that our College gives us the chance to show our passion in the bachelor program and create a menu together in the course Hospitality Design and Menu Planning. The current student menu is called Taste of Asia and was created by the graduating bachelor class of March 2017! More information and the menu can be found on OpenTable.

Kady Fox, Student Leader
Hotel Management, Class of July 2017

Tour of France: Some Stories, and Some Advice

By Krissy Alfes

Now that the winter term is in full swing, most sophomores are going to be embarking on their trip to France, Bahamas, and Florida while the seniors are beginning to plan for their trip to England six months later. Check out the Tours here! I €™ve been asked by a handful of people, €œWhat was it like to go to France? €

Let me share some stories, and some advice.

It was the last week of January when I went on my trip to France with my graduating class, and I couldn’t have been more excited. Due to the crazy snow storm that hit the city that year, I was fortunate enough to get an extra day in Paris. After a restless flight, we poured into the city at one in the afternoon.

Disclaimer: This was my first trip abroad.

Getting to have a few hours to ourselves, my friends and I wondered the immediate area. Not only did we see beautiful architecture, but my two friends and I got swindled out of $10 each by hustlers. What happened? We were walking up to the Sacre Cour and there were a group of men who were traveling Europe from Nigeria. They were making bracelets and striking up conversations with obvious tourists, aka me. They wrapped the string around your wrist, and talk to you as they’re weaving the string and they don €™t let you go unless you give them money for their €œgift €.

Advice: If you see street performers, be wary. They €™re smarter than you think you are.

Okay, so I €™m out of $10, whatever. We get back on the move and head to Dizy, Champagne. I had the opportunity to stay on a beautiful vineyard; since it was winter, the vintners were preparing the fields for the end of the season. This is where they prune the branches of the vines and burn them on the field to keep the soil rich. The air was filled with the scent of red wine and there was nothing but mountains and wine fields for miles. The next day, we visit G. Brunt Champagne and we explore the little town. We had dinner at Le Cave de Champagne; we were seated in a private room, with red walls and a very romantic vibe. There was a three course dinner where Champagne was put in every dish. I don €™t think I can describe how delicious the Salmon with the champagne burre blanc was. That night, I also had the opportunity to saber a bottle of champagne before dessert (Saber: it was originally used in military ceremonies where someone takes a sword to cut the glass neck of the bottle with a ceremonious €œpop €).

Not going to lie, it took me three tries, and I managed to shoot the top of the bottle down the hallway of the restaurant into the front room €¦ At the end of the dinner, Chef came out for a little Q&A.

Here is his advice: €œThis is a hard industry, you must have passion, and you must work hard- to work hard at what you do, you must love it. €

A couple of days in, Mr. Simonis and Chef McManus took my group to Le Chaeau de Close du Vogoute. This is where the Tastvin society was founded. It was originally a group of monks who would make wine, then would hold meetings to taste and evaluate the wine for religious reasons. After looking at 18th century wine presses, we headed to Beaune for some late night shopping. I didn €™t shop, but I did sit down with Chef McManus over a cup of warm red wine and learned about her childhood, how she met her husband, and what made her come to the states and start Le Bus Bakery.

The next day, we had dinner in Burgundy at a family €™s winery that was so friendly we didn’t have an empty glass of wine all night. The food, oh the food, it was the definition of family style. Beef bourgeon that was so hearty it reminded me of home, escargot with an herb butter and red wine, and cassis sorbet. The bus ride back to the hotel was filled with everyone on the bus singing Bohemian Rhapsody, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and every 90 €™s song you could imagine. This was the moment we all were more than just students, or colleagues, but friends.

The rest of the trip followed the same turn of events: explore the city, drink some wine, and go to a restaurant. I have to say the market place in Dijon was the biggest store/market place I have ever walked through, the cathedrals in Axurre were the most beautiful pieces of architecture I have ever walked through, Pasqual €™s foie farm was the most decedent foie gras I have ever tasted, and after being lost in Paris for the day avoiding the cab riots, the Eiffel tower was stunning to see at night.

We ended our last dinner as a group at Hostellerie de Levemois where the dining floor manager gave us these parting words:

€œWhatever you do, do it with your heart. €


My advice to you:

Don €™t be afraid to explore – Plan your day, wonder around, you’ll never experience the country if you never leave your room. Just be aware of everything and everyone around you.

Ask questions €“ Everyone at the wineries, restaurants, and stores you visit know you’re a student and are looking to learn. They share your passion for food, its natural to want to talk.

Be humble – Yes the days are long, yes you will be learning and being tested on the daily, and moved around quite a bit; but before you allow the exhaustion to hinder your mood, realize where you are and the opportunity you are given.

Enjoy Yourself €“ It may not be a vacation, but it also doesn €™t have to be as stressful as if you are in school.

Explore, learn, and embrace the culture.

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

Revamping the Honor Society at Walnut Hill College

By Greg Hook

Starting something new is always exciting €¦and challenging. When I came back to campus for my final year this past September, it €™s always helpful to go to our club fair we hold and find out what €™s happening around campus. It €™s always helpful to go to the club fair because you can see what is important to you, others, and the college. Being my last year, I have attended, participated in, or been a part of many clubs on campus and it was nice to see the familiar faces of Hospitality club, cocktail club, and wine club. However, there was a new booth this year though and that was represented by the Honor Society. Eta Sigma Delta, a student organization through the Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (CHRIE), was once a part of the Walnut Hill College community and a member of our faculty wanted to restart our chapter.

Understanding this was the first club our advisor was heading as well as never starting a club myself, I immediately took on the new challenge. Over the course of the past term and the start of this one, the Honor Society has met multiple times, creating a small group of members that come every week. Once we had a small group, we nominated some club officers, president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. I was very happy when I won the nomination for president, even if it was uncontested, but even happier for the others who could become a part of something and felt the need to take ownership of it.

Our first goal was to get involved on campus and so I reached out to other Student Leaders and what they were up to. Our first response was from Dan Singer and how he wanted to help feed people in need for Thanksgiving. While he had a vision, he needed some help and newer Honor Society members stepped right up. With his organization, our help, and the donations and kindness of many people within the Walnut Hill College community, we could donate an entire van €™s load of food to the church for Thanksgiving.
Through this process, I realize we are only as strong as those behind us and starting the Honor Society has been a new experience. We have members in place for the club and people willing to support each other €™s goals. Now we look to the future to apply and become members of Eta Sigma Delta as a renewed Chapter here at Walnut Hill College.

For more information about the Honor Society at Walnut Hill College, you can contact me at or contact Ms. Bloome our Director of Student & Community Engagement  at The Eta Sigma Delta International Hospitality Management Society is a student organization for CHRIE, the Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education, and their website may be found at

-Greg Hook, Student LeaderRestaurant Management, Class of July 2017

Getting to know Chef Braley

By Cecelia Johnson-Chavis

I have had the pleasure of working with Chef Braley in operations, but I know that there are many students who haven €™t yet crossed his path. As a result, for this month €™s blog, I decided to interview our newest Chef Instructor, Chef Braley. The interview starts below €¦

CJ: The first question €™s easy. Did you always know that you wanted to cook professionally?

TB: Uh no, I did everything I could to avoid it (laughs). No, I €™ve been cooking since I was a little kid but I never thought it was something I would do professionally, just kind of a passion. I went to school for sociology and I wanted to teach college sociology, which didn €™t end up happening. I went instead and got a degree in secondary social studies to teach high school social studies, which I never did (laughs again) because I did my student teaching and realized that I didn €™t know anything about global studies €¦I knew sociology. So from the time that I was 13 or 14 on I was learning the trades, so I was an electrician and a carpenter. All throughout college I was doing that on the side and that €™s what I ended up doing after college instead of teaching until I figured out what I was going to do next. So I did that for a while and I ended up catering my brother €™s rehearsal dinner for his wedding at my parents €™ house on Cape Cod. It was 50 people and it took me like five days to prep. I did it pretty much by myself, but I could do the same menu by five o €™clock today (laughing and looking at his watch) and its 2:50. But I had so much fun that whole week that I was like €œthis is what I want to do €, so I took another construction job down here in Pennsylvania. I €™m originally from New York, and I managed the renovation of a house in Wayne for a year and saved money to come to school here. I came and lived with my sister here in West Philly while I went to school, and originally thought I was going to do catering €¦ and then I started doing catering while I was in culinary school and was working in a restaurant at the same time and then I realized that catering was just schlepping stuff from one place to another. Cooking in a restaurant was much more, to me, like playing a piano. Everything is right there at your fingertips. It €™s probably more like an organ because everything €™s moving.

CJ: As an alumnus and now as an instructor, is there anything that you wish you had taken greater advantage of while you were a student here?

TB: I took pretty good advantage actually. I had very good relationships with the instructors that I had and most of them took me under their wing in one respect or another. And I did work really, really hard when I was here even though I was working full time in a restaurant and getting crushed on a day to day. But I think I did pretty well as far as taking advantage of the instructors that I had and their experience, and their willingness to share their experiences.

CJ: I remember once you said that when you reach a major milestone you like to treat yourself to something new. Do you try to make it relevant to the achievement or is it just something that you €™ve had your eye on?

TB: This is the first job that I €™ve taken that I haven €™t done it yet, and that €™s mostly just because I haven €™t had time. It takes a little bit of my time, but I usually buy a knife for myself.

CJ: Do you have something in mind for this one?

TB: Possibly a Deba fish knife, and I €™m not sure what the second runner up is, but basically from my first job on, each job that I €™ve taken usually within a month or two I usually end up buying a new knife for myself €¦or I get one for Christmas or something, but it €™s always correlated to the timeline of the career. It €™s a nice way to look back and be like €œI got this when I was at the Ritz, I got this when I was here €, so it €™s usually a knife (laughs).

CJ: Can you recall any particular dish or plate that you composed that you were especially proud of?

TB: Hmm, that €™s a tough one. At the restaurant, we had one dish that never changed. Every other dish changed constantly, and it was a saffron and mussel dish. I guess I would probably have to say that that was my signature dish at any time because that €™s the only dish that €™s never changed. So everything else was always whatever was in season, whatever we could get from the farmers. So I guess it would be the mussel dish. It €™s a ridiculous amount of butter, a ridiculous amount of Dijon mustard, and then saffron steeped in white wine and mussels, and that €™s pretty much it. It usually doesn €™t need much seasoning because of the brininess of the mussels and then everyone thinks the sauce is great, but they don €™t realize it €™s pretty much 80% butter and then the mustard. That would probably be my signature dish.

CJ: Do you have a favorite tool in your kit right now?
TB: My spoon.

CJ: Is it a tasting spoon €¦plating spoon?

TB: I think it probably would be considered a plating spoon. A lot of chefs use the same one. It €™s the grey Kunz design spoon. I think you can get it online. I know JB Prince in New York used to be the only one that sold it but now I think you can get it pretty much anywhere.

CJ: Why is it your favorite?

TB: It €™s just the perfect balance, the perfect size €¦If I had two tools it would be my one chef €™s knife that I bought on my trip to France and it would be my spoon. I pretty much cook anything with those two things. Pack light.

CJ: You €™ve catered, you €™ve owned a restaurant, now you €™re teaching €¦ Is there any other sector of the industry on your list that you hope to tackle?

TB: I €™ve done a little bit of food styling, I did it for a kids television show. I €™d like to do more food styling sometime cause that was a lot of fun, and someday I €™d like to do a cookbook. I would definitely like to do a cookbook at some point. We thought we were going to get it together for the restaurant, and then running a restaurant took precedence. But yeah, someday I would like to do a cookbook.

CJ: I do have one more question. Do you have a favorite breakfast food? Do you eat breakfast?

TB: Oh boy, not normally, because for somebody who has chickens in his backyard, I €™ve got plenty of eggs. But actually my favorite breakfast food is taking almost any leftover and serving it with an egg. So whether it €™s beef bourguignon or braised chicken or whatever and have it with a poached egg as the sauce, kind of makes anything breakfast.

-Cecelia Johnson-Chavis, Student LeaderCulinary Arts, Class of March 2018

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