Giving thanks and giving back with Walnut Hill College Student Leaders

Two Walnut Hill College Student Leaders, Joshua Reilly and Meg Linck, prepare a pre-Thanksgiving meal at the Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House, along with other members of the Student Leadership Development Institute. Photo credit: The Philadelphia Inquirer

On Tuesday, November 26, members of the Walnut Hill College Student Leadership Development Institute visited the Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House to prepare a pre-Thanksgiving dinner for residents of the transplant house and their families. This was the 7th meal in a partnership between the College and the Transplant House, all in an effort to engage WHC students with members and organizations of the University City community in a meaningful way.

The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, and we are happy to share their article, written by Mari A. Schaefer, both here and below:

Students at the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College prepared a full Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings for patients and families who were staying at the Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House, where guests wait for or recover from an organ transplant.

The facility celebrated the holiday in the past with either a potluck or a catered meal, said Kirsten King, director of the 13-room guesthouse, located on 3940 Spruce St. In addition to doing all the cooking this year, the students sat with the guests to help celebrate, she said.

“They have been really enthusiastic collaborators,” said King. Residents of the Transplant House have been known to stay for as long as eight months during recovery, she said. So the homemade meal, which was funded with grants from Penn Medicine and the Transplant Institute, means a lot to them.

Added King, “We even asked them to make extra,” so that leftovers could be served on another night.

Video credit: Walnut Hill College Student Leader Steven Walsh

The Student Leadership Development Institute began a new partnership with the Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House on Spruce and 38th Streets about 14 months ago. If you are unfamiliar with the Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant house, the house is not a medical facility, but rather a small guest house designed to meet the unique needs of transplant patients and their families during a trying time in which they wait for a transplant to be approved.

Initially, Dr. Julia G. Lavenberg, who is a Research Analyst for the Penn Medicine Center for Evidence-Based Practice, reached out to me, along with the Manager of the Transplant House, Kirsten King, with an opportunity of a potential long-term partnership involving what we do best: providing exceptional hospitality and food. The overall idea was for Walnut Hill College and, more specifically, the Student Leaders to plan, prep, and provide delicious meals for the patients, families, and friends residing at the Transplant House on a monthly basis. Needless to say, this was a fantastic opportunity for the college to partner with a nearby university in the community and, specifically, for our Student Leaders and the Student Leadership Development Institute to be at the center of the partnership…and we said yes.

Since the partnership began, these Student Leaders have planned, prepped, and provided seven different meals to the families and patients of the Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House, each meal with its own menu and its own theme. From garlic knots to focaccia, from Italian wedding soup to baked potato soup, and from snickerdoodles to berry pie, the patients, families, and friends of the Transplant House were treated to home-cooked meals and the incredible aromas that came with them.

Needless to say, I am extremely proud of this partnership and of our Student Leaders for delivering such an amazing experience to the guests of the Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House, and we are beyond excited in continuing this partnership for years to come!

Written by Dr. Joshua Seery, Director of the Walnut Hill College Student Leadership Development Institute


Walnut Hill College and Georges Perrier announce new University City restaurant, Bistro Perrier

A return to classic French cuisine and tableside service

By Sharlene Johnson

As published in the University City Review, September 5, 2018

 

“This is my [last] stop. I’ll cook whatever they want me to do, but I will not do anything for anybody else, except Walnut Hill College.” -Georges Perrier

Getting ready for the start of another school year is always an exciting challenge for the chef instructors at Walnut Hill College. Doing that in conjunction with the launch of a brand new restaurant concept has brought the usual hustle and bustle on the University City campus to a fever pitch, as the team not only puts the finishing touches on a new menu but also prepares to teach their students how to make each dish to perfection. While that may seem daunting to some, the college’s experienced chef instructors are up to the task, and they received some expert guidance from a familiar face and a culinary legend: Walnut Hill College Master-in-Residence, Georges Perrier. Chef Perrier’s involvement in the new restaurant is no coincidence—after all, it bears his name. Opening Wednesday, September 5, Bistro Perrier is an ode to the classic French bistro and represents the close relationship between Walnut Hill College and Chef Perrier that has endured for years.

A long-time friend of the college, Georges Perrier was named Master-in-Residence in 2017 and will lead workshops for Walnut Hill College students and staff in the coming school year. He was set to start his duties last school year; however, a severe heart attack in March almost took his life and resulted in him having to undergo emergency surgery. Thankfully, Chef Perrier survived, and after months recuperating, he is finally ready to return to the kitchen to assist with preparations for a restaurant he holds dear.

In honor of the renowned chef, Walnut Hill College has appropriately named its new restaurant Bistro Perrier, serving French cuisine in a European courtyard setting. Leading the staff behind the restaurant is Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Operations, Todd Braley, former co-chef/owner of The Pickled Heron in Fishtown. Chef Braley and his team have created a menu that highlights uniquely French fare, including Salade Lyonnaise, Escargots en Croûte, and Steak Tartare, while paying homage to Chef Perrier with daily specials from his famed Le Bec-Fin menu. Bistro Perrier will also offer tableside service, allowing guests to have an entertaining and heightened sensory experience as they watch their food being prepared by Walnut Hill College’s Hotel and Restaurant Management students.

Of course, no restaurant named after a chef of Perrier’s caliber would be complete without a lesson from the man himself, which is why the college’s chef instructors became students for a day as Chef Perrier taught them how to make sauces, his specialty. On Thursday, August 16, Chef Perrier presented Walnut Hill College’s first ever “atelier du chef,” or chef’s workshop, a pedagogical initiative designed to help the chef instructors create standardized cooking procedures to teach their students. Working side by side with Chef Perrier, the instructors whipped up Sauce Béarnaise, Sauce Choron, Sauce Rouennaise, and Jus de Poulet, and they relished the opportunity to learn something new about sauces they’ve been making for years from one of the most accomplished chefs in the industry.

Bistro Perrier

Chef Georges Perrier
Executive Chef Todd Braley (right)
Chef Perrier leads the first "atelier du chef," or chefs' workshop, at Walnut Hill College
Chef Perrier poses with Walnut Hill College chef instructors
Chef Perrier and the entire chef faculty at Walnut Hill College
Mussels et Frites: Saffron, Dijon, White Wine
Petit Salé aux Lentilles: Salted Pork, Le Puy Lentils
Escargots en Croute: Cornmeal Sable
Coquilles St. Jacques: Polenta, Bouillon de Saffron
Salade Lyonnaise: Frisée, Lardons, Poached Egg
Steak Frites: Red Wine Jus
Filet de Lotte à la Provençal: Pan Roasted Monkfish, Tomato, Olives
Parisienne Gnocchi: Parsnips, Fine Herbs
Bistro Perrier at night

After the workshop, Chef Perrier sat down with the team at Walnut Hill College to talk about Bistro Perrier, his life after a near-death experience, and the next generation of chefs.

It’s been a little over six years since you left Le Bec-Fin, your renowned restaurant, and now here we are preparing for the opening of a restaurant that has been named in your honor. What does Bistro Perrier mean to you?

Well, you know, I’ll tell you something. When you’re recognized by your peers, there is nothing better in life. Customers are nice, but your peers, if they recognize you, the chefs…my people, that’s very special to me.

And now you’re getting to work alongside your peers today.

You know, I always say in life, when you teach what you know to other people, it’s wonderful. That’s the way I learned. And that’s the way they learned, because what I did today, they will remember that the rest of their lives, and they will use it and do it. Simple as that. Cooking ain’t complicated. We [chefs] make it complicated, but it’s not complicated.

So earlier this year, you had a pretty serious health scare. What’s it like being back in the kitchen doing what you love?

You know…I almost died. As a matter of fact, I got sick. I was dead. And when I was lying down on the floor, I said nobody’s gonna help me, I’m gonna die right now. I saw death. And then finally, somebody came and gave me bouche a bouche [mouth to mouth]. Oh man. Yeah, she saved my life. The doctor said if she would have not done that, I would have been dead. I was dead. Very, very lucky. I guess it was not my time.

Wow. And we’re grateful for that.

Yeah, I’m very grateful. You cannot take life for granted. Now, I see everything in a different view, eyes. I’m very senseful [sic] and very lucky. I’m a very lucky guy. I should not be here, you know, to have pleasure, what I have, you know, a lot of pleasure. I could be dead.

Now Chef, as Master-in-Residence, you’ll be helping to guide our students and teach them some of the skills you’ve learned over your long career. What advice would you give to somebody who’s just starting out on their culinary journey?

Don’t get frustrated.

Simple as that?

Don’t get frustrated. Learn patience. You know, cooking is not [learned] in one day. You gotta be patient. It comes every day. You know, even I’m 74 years old, and I’m still learning. I was somewhere…where was I? I was somewhere with a friend of mine, and I tasted something. I said, “What is this? Why is this so good? How did you do it?” I said, “You gotta give me the recipe.” The guy gave me the recipe. I didn’t think he would, but he gave it to me.

So one last question for you, Chef. Beyond Walnut Hill College, what’s next for you? What do you have going on?

This is my [last] stop. I’ll cook whatever they want me to do, but I will not do anything for anybody else, except Walnut Hill College.

You have a long history here at the college.

Yeah, and I like the people. I like the owner, Danny, and they respect me. Everybody’s nice. I can do my stuff. Nobody interferes. That’s what I like, and I like to come here. You know, it’s nice when you’re older to still be able to cook, cause it makes me feel good. I need it. I feel relaxed, and I’m glad. The [chefs today] were so excited. You could see they were happy to learn something. I felt that today. They were really excited. You know, that’s what counts.

Bistro Perrier opens to the public on Wednesday, September 5 at Walnut Hill College, located at 4207 Walnut Street. For more information, including the menu and reservations, visit BistroPerrier.com or call (267) 295-2302.


Georges Perrier is the inspiration behind the new Bistro Perrier in Philadelphia

His world-famous restaurant, Le Bec-Fin, was one of the most renowned restaurants in the world for 44 years. Now, Georges Perrier is the inspiration behind Bistro Perrier, a classic French bistro at Walnut Hill College. The restaurant will showcase traditional French fare, led by Executive Chef Todd Braley.

Georges Perrier at Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia

Known for bringing French cuisine to the forefront of Philadelphia’s restaurant scene, Georges Perrier is a culinary legend in the city, and he’s been a long-time friend of Walnut Hill College. Chef Perrier became Master-in-Residence at the college in 2017, and he began his role at “Le Bec-Fin Redux,” a one-night-only reprisal of his famous menu in the restaurant that would later become Bistro Perrier. That summer, he would go on to lead a lucky group of food and wine enthusiasts on a gastronomic tour of France. Much like the tour of France that our culinary and pastry students take, this unique trip with Chef Perrier and fellow French chef Esther McManus included visits to farms, vineyards, wineries, and restaurants throughout the Champagne and Burgundy regions, as well as a jaunt through Paris. The group received insider insight and exclusive access to French eateries as Chef Perrier’s special guests, making their trip a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Down the road, Chef Perrier will also help guide the careers of young culinarians at Walnut Hill College. He’ll teach classes, host special dinners, and lead workshops for professional chefs on the WHC campus. Imagine how a young culinarian will feel as Chef Perrier guides them and inspires their career. It is truly a life-changing opportunity.

About Georges Perrier:
 
Originally from Lyon, France, a city world-renowned for its culinary arts, Chef Perrier began his accomplished culinary career at age fourteen. He trained with the great chefs at some of the finest restaurants of France, including Michel Lorrain of Casino de Charbonnières near Lyon, Jacques Picard of L’Oustau de Baumanière in Provence, and Guy Thivard at La Pyramide in Vienne, owned by the legendary Ferdinand Point. Chef Perrier arrived in Philadelphia in 1967 as Head Chef for Peter von Starck’s La Panetière. Three years later, Perrier opened his own restaurant at 1312 Spruce Street. He named the restaurant “Le Bec-Fin,” a French idiom for “the good taste.” The small restaurant quickly became a Philadelphia institution. The restaurateur refused invitations to relocate to Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Chicago, opting instead to pave the way for Philadelphia’s restaurant renaissance. Visitors to the city considered Le Bec-Fin an essential stop, and regular patrons traveled from New York and Washington D.C. for a single meal.
 
During its forty years in operation, Le Bec-Fin and Chef Perrier received the highest accolades in the hospitality industry. Le Bec-Fin was the only Philadelphia dining establishment to receive the five-star rating from the Mobil Travel Guide for a total of twenty-three years in a row. In 1994, readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine chose Le Bec-Fin as the #1 restaurant in the country. The restaurant also garnered top honors in prestigious publications such as Gourmet, Food & Wine, Esquire and Wine Spectator magazines. In 1998, Chef Perrier was honored by America’s leading culinary organization when he was awarded Best Mid-Atlantic Chef by the James Beard Foundation. Chef Perrier’s first book, Georges Perrier Le Bec-Fin Recipes, was published in 1997 and contains more than 100 recipes. In 2009, Chef Perrier was in Paris, France to receive the highest French honor bestowed on a person who distinguished themselves through civilian or military valor, the Legion d’Honneur. In 2010, Chef Perrier received the Academiciens de l’Annee, the high honor presented by the Academie Culinaire de France. (Bio courtesy of AudreyClaireCook.com.)

An ode to the classic French bistro

Walnut Hill College has focused on educating students in the art of French cuisine since it was founded in 1974. From beef bourguignon to crème brûlée, our students have learned the techniques and flavors of France, and we are delighted to showcase their talents at our new signature restaurant, Bistro Perrier. So what makes this bistro stand out from the rest in the booming Philadelphia food scene? As an ode to the classic French bistro, Bistro Perrier intends to revive the long-lost art of true hospitality.

Student Doing a Tableside Flambé Demonstration

Bistro Perrier is set in our European courtyard, which features charming cobblestone paths and an intimate rooftop deck. This quaint and relaxed atmosphere serves as the perfect backdrop for a bistro-style dining experience. We want our guests to feel at home as they enjoy delicious food and wine with friends and family over a long dinner, much like one would at a bistro in the heart of Paris.

Bistro Perrier in the European Courtyard

Continuing the theme of a family-oriented dinner, Bistro Perrier will also offer tableside service. Guests will have the pleasure of watching our management students prepare dishes like Steak au Poivre and Crêpes Suzette Flambés right at their table. Tableside service will give our students the opportunity to hone their hospitality skills while engaging with diners, who we’re sure will enjoy this unique experience.

The Legendary Le Bec-Fin

While the setting and the service shine, the food is set to be the star of the show. We’ve taken inspiration from our esteemed Master-in-Residence, Georges Perrier, to create a menu that hearkens to the days of Le Bec-Fin. Signature dishes include Chef Perrier’s Galette de Crabe, or crab cake, and Bouillabaisse de Marseille, a traditional fish stew. The menu also features Escargots en Croûte and Parisienne Gnocchi as well as traditional Crème Brûlée and Tarte aux Pommes, made with apple, salted caramel, and vanilla.

We hope to have you join us for the grand opening of Bistro Perrier on Wednesday, September 5. For reservations, please call (215) 222-4200 or visit us on OpenTable.


The Chef of the Year is here!

On Saturday, April 21, Walnut Hill College chef instructor Tim McLean was voted “Chef of the Year” by his peers in the American Culinary Federation Philadelphia Delaware Valley Chefs Association. Chef McLean was recognized out of hundreds of chefs in the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley area for his hard work and commitment to his craft. The honor comes as no surprise to the Walnut Hill College family, as year after year, he has shown an unwavering dedication to teaching his students, the next wave of culinary professionals.

Prior to joining the faculty at Walnut Hill College, Chef McLean earned an associate degree in Culinary Arts from Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wisconsin. He has over 15 years of professional experience, including stays at Caffe Espresso in Green Bay, The Milwaukee Club, The Wisconsin Club, Hotel Metro, Sauce, Grenadiers, Osteria Del Mondo, Eagan’s on Water, and Whole Foods Market-Milwaukee. He has also been an active member of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) for over five years and was a board member with ACF Chefs of Milwaukee. In 2015, Chef McLean earned the illustrious title of Certified Executive Chef from the ACF.

Please join us in congratulating Chef McLean on his amazing accomplishment!


Walnut Hill College marks Women’s History Month with first woman chairperson

As part of its efforts to empower more women in the male-dominated culinary industry, The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College has elected Irene Rothschild as the first woman chairperson of its Board of Trustees. The announcement comes at the close of Women’s History Month, during which other women leaders at Walnut Hill College have been recognized for their outstanding work both at the College and in the culinary and hospitality industry.

 

Irene Rothschild has been a valued member of Walnut Hill College since 1996 when she joined its Advisory Board, and she has been a member of the Board of Trustees since it was founded in 2007. While on the board, she served as chairperson of the Scholarship Committee and spearheaded the College’s scholarship fund for high school students. Irene was a long-time culinary instructor who gained extensive teaching experience at various culinary schools and colleges, primarily in the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York areas. Among other notable roles, she was president of the Culinary Society of Philadelphia and Les Dames d’Escoffier as well as the proprietor of Irene’s Charcuterie, a French-style food shop and catering company in Ardmore, PA. Irene previously hosted a radio program about cooking and dining on WCAU (CBS) and worked as a spokesperson for several major companies. She has written cookbooks, done food reviews for Foodline, and contributed two columns for PhillyFeast. As the new board chair at Walnut Hill College, Irene will no doubt bring to her position a true sense of leadership and an understanding of higher education and hospitality.

 

In addition to Ms. Rothschild’s election, Walnut Hill College honored fellow board member Della Clark with its Meritorious Service Award at the College’s commencement ceremony on March 14. As President of the Enterprise Center, Della Clark leads an award-winning business accelerator that provides minority entrepreneurs with professional skills, resources, and opportunities to generate and sustain business in the Greater Philadelphia region. Since 1992, she has cultivated relationships with key corporate and industry leaders from the wider business world, representatives from educational institutions, and high-ranking government officials at the city, state, and federal levels. Della Clark has received numerous awards for her work in the community, including the Meritorious Service Award, which Walnut Hill College reserves especially for members of its organization who exemplify a commitment to civic responsibility.

 

Ms. Rothschild and Ms. Clark are just two of the many women making contributions to the Walnut Hill College community. In a predominantly male industry, the enrollment and visibility of women continue to increase at the College, where currently 50% of the board members and nearly 60% of the students are women. Among those advancing the College’s efforts is Chef Marie Stecher, Walnut Hill College alumna turned chef instructor. When asked about her experience as a woman in the industry, Chef Stecher remarked, “I was lucky in my early career to work under three talented women chefs who helped me shape my career: Pastry Chef Susan Fritz (from Restaurant Passerelle), Pastry Chef Marylyn Cooper (from Sweet Daddy’s Bakery), and Chef/Owner Susanna Foo. Each, in different ways, taught me hard work, creativity, [the importance of] respecting everyone in your kitchen, and [the notion that] kindness goes a long way. Now, as a pastry chef and chef instructor, I try to pass those lessons learned to future women.” And she isn’t alone. On April 14, Walnut Hill College board member and chef instructor Christina Pirello of the show Christina Cooks will be a guest speaker at “Her Story,” the 2nd annual event by BEN FM that honors inspirational women. Hosted by Kathy Romano at the Arts Ballroom, “Her Story’s” special guest will be celebrity chef Rachel Ray.


Walnut Hill College students debut new menu with dishes from around the world

As everyone begins getting used to 2018, another group of Walnut Hill College bachelor students prepares to present its senior capstone menu from February 6 to April 14. The brand-new menu was constructed by 23 very talented students, all with an eye for excellent hospitality. Over the next 10 weeks, when you come to dine at the International Bistro, you will have the chance to enjoy this delectable assortment of food and see our bachelor students mentoring some of the freshmen and sophomores on how to run the restaurant.

The range of dishes on this new menu allows guests to experience popular foods from around the world while enjoying the ambiance of the International Bistro here in University City. Starting with the appetizers, the Caribbean Goat Tacos are topped with fresh pineapple and red onion and remind guests of the warm summer months when they take a bite of the tender tortilla. The savory and salty notes of the goat blend very well with the sweet, cooling sensation of the pineapple, while the red onion gives you the needed acidity and bite to make your tasting experience complete. On the milder—but just as flavorful—side, the Balsamic Chicken Flatbread will take you to Italy as you experience the sweet and tangy balsamic vinaigrette combined with the grilled chicken and crispy flatbread to create an amazing flavor combination! And, of course, we couldn’t forget dessert. The Lemon-Ginger Mousse Bomb is delicate yet packed with hints of lemon and ginger, and the raspberry powder used as a garnish adds a tartness that really sets this dessert over the top. Overall, the menu includes five offerings each for appetizers, entrées, desserts, and cocktails, all of which will be available now through April 14.

We welcome you to experience the delightfully tasty menu that our bachelor students have worked hard to create. To see the full menu and make your reservation for this limited-time engagement, visit us on OpenTable or call (215) 222-4200.

International Bistro

Salmon Croquette
Al Pastor Tacos
Spring Rolls
Asparagus Salad
Tom Yum
Chimichurri Skirt Steak
Peri-Peri Chicken
Pesto Fettuccine
Lemon Garlic Trout
Crème Brûlée and Macarons
Pavlova
Latin Trio
Sweet Sushi
Lemon Meringue Pie
Blackberry Smash
Rum Punch
Cucumber Cooler
Strawberry Passion Fruit Margarita
2018
Inside the International Bistro
Allison Bar at the International Bistro
Inside the International Bistro
Inside the International Bistro

Reservations may also be made by calling (215) 222-4200.


The International Bistro introduces a new student menu

The start of the New Year means a fresh start on Walnut Hill College’s University City campus. Students hone their focus for final exams, our graduating associate students embark on a week-long food and hospitality tour of either France or Florida and the Bahamas, and the next crop of talented individuals prepares to join the WHC family in February. After a much-needed holiday, our students have returned to the kitchens with a renewed sense of purpose and creativity, resulting in delicious new dishes for our four restaurants. Our current menu for the International Bistro comes courtesy of seven graduating bachelor students, who have developed a selection of appetizers, entrées, desserts, and cocktails from around the world as part of their capstone project. Starting this week, they’re excited to present their menu to the public.

The diverse menu takes diners on a culinary journey, starting with the appetizers. The Kibbeh Nayeh, a beef tartare dish, offers a complex balance of flavors and textures, from the smokiness of the tahini to the delicate umami of the beef tartare to the bright sharpness of the cumin vinaigrette. On the lighter side of the flavor spectrum, the Shrimp Dumpling Soup invites spring with flavors of lemongrass and ginger, which are grounded by an earthy cardamom broth. On the finish, there is an explosion of flavor as preserved lime and pomegranate come together.

This delicious sensory experience continues with the entrées, which include the Borrego de Coco with its braised lamb, plantain gnocchi, and crispy okra. The rich, bold flavors of the braised lamb are complemented by the pillowy sweetness of the plantain gnocchi. And speaking of sweetness, the desserts on the menu truly stand out, especially with the vegan Chocolate and Coffee Panna Cotta. A rich, velvety, panna cotta is lightened by a luscious dulce de leche. Toasted coconut introduces a subtle warmth and crispness that perfectly marries the elements together. Overall, the menu includes five offerings each for appetizers, entrées, desserts, and cocktails, all of which are available now through Saturday, February 3.

Our bachelor students have worked very hard to bring their menu concept to fruition, and we hope you will join us for dinner to experience it firsthand! To see the full menu and make your reservation for this limited-time engagement, please visit us on OpenTable or call (267) 295-2302.

 

International Bistro

Salmon Croquette
Al Pastor Tacos
Spring Rolls
Asparagus Salad
Tom Yum
Chimichurri Skirt Steak
Peri-Peri Chicken
Pesto Fettuccine
Lemon Garlic Trout
Crème Brûlée and Macarons
Pavlova
Latin Trio
Sweet Sushi
Lemon Meringue Pie
Blackberry Smash
Rum Punch
Cucumber Cooler
Strawberry Passion Fruit Margarita
2018
Inside the International Bistro
Allison Bar at the International Bistro
Inside the International Bistro
Inside the International Bistro


Georges Perrier returns to the culinary stage at “Le Bec-Fin Redux”

On Friday, June 16, internationally-acclaimed chef Georges Perrier hosted Le Bec-Fin Redux, his first gastronomic event as Master-in-Residence at Walnut Hill College. 100 guests joined Chef Perrier for a six-course dinner that included classic dishes from his famed restaurant, Le Bec-Fin, as well as a French wine pairing with each course. The evening offered an opportunity for Chef Perrier to debut his new role at the College and also to share his culinary talents with the public once again.

Photos above courtesy of Marie Fritz

In preparation for Le Bec-Fin Redux, Chef Perrier worked closely alongside Walnut Hill College’s chef instructors and students to recreate his signature dishes. It was all-hands-on-deck in the College’s kitchens and dining rooms, as 100 beautifully and carefully crafted plates of each course were served to the eagerly awaiting guests. The six-course menu for the evening included:

  • An assortment of amuse-bouches: Snails in Champagne Sauce with Hazelnut-Chartreuse Butter, Lobster Bisque with Scotch Whisky, and Terrine of House Smoked Salmon
  • Terrine of Foie Gras Scented with Szechuan Peppercorns
  • Le Bec-Fin Crab Cake with Light Mustard Sauce
  • Roast Spring Rack of Lamb with Caramelized Vegetables
  • A selection of French cheeses
  • A panache of desserts: Floating Island with Caramelized Raspberries, Pineapple Poached with Ginger, Frozen Grand Marnier Soufflé, Black Currant Sorbet, and Gâteau au Chocolat Le Bec-Fin

The dinner concluded with guests receiving a gift of assorted pastries from Chef Perrier and even having the chance to chat and take a photo with him. Overall, the night was a great success and, hopefully, a sign of good things to come when Georges takes on his other duties at the College in the fall.

As Master-in-Residence, Chef Perrier will teach classes, host special dinners, and lead workshops for professional chefs. His next event will be a Gastronomic Tour of France from July 2-9. The public is invited to join him and his co-host, Chef Esther McManus, as they travel through Burgundy, Champagne, and Paris, visiting historic landmarks, champagne houses, wineries, farms, and, of course, many restaurants. Then, in the fall, Chef Perrier will lead a workshop on his specialty sauces that will also be open to the public.

Stay tuned for updates about Georges Perrier’s new role as Master-in-Residence and the events and classes he will host, and take a look at some photos from Le Bec-Fin Redux below.

Photos below (from top to bottom) courtesy of Angela Lutz, Ruth Payne, and Marie Fritz

 


Celebrity chefs judge cooking contest for area high school students at Walnut Hill College

On Saturday, May 6, six celebrity chefs served as judges during the annual Culinary Competition here at Walnut Hill College. The competitors, all top students from high schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, competed for scholarships to the College.

Imagine the excitement of the day: you are a high school student in a culinary course and have been practicing for months to compete in the popular scholarship competition. Now, six of the area’s most celebrated chefs are looking over your shoulder and tasting your dish while posing a few choice questions and, hopefully, selecting you for a much-treasured college scholarship.

Every year, two dozen of the best high school culinary students compete at Walnut Hill College for an advance in their culinary careers. Each student initially competed at their own high school, which earned them a spot in the College’s competition with the support of their families and teachers. Once in our kitchens, students were separated into two divisions, high school and vocational-technical school, and were tasked with putting their own spin on a chicken dish and presenting a plate that was delicious, eye-catching, and creative. Both divisions awarded scholarships to three winners in the amounts of $6,000, $3,000, and $1,800 to be used toward tuition at Walnut Hill College. The high school of the first-place winner in each division also received $500 for its Family and Consumer Science Department or Culinary Arts Program.

In the high school division, 1st place went to Tess H. of Rockville, MD, representing Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School, also in Rockville; 2nd place went to Qyideera P. of Philadelphia, PA, representing Frankford High School, also in Philadelphia; and 3rd place went to Queenie J. of Edgemoor, DE, representing Mount Pleasant High School in Wilmington, DE. And the vo-tech division awarded 1st place to Sierra W. of Harrisburg, PA, representing Dauphin County Technical School, also in Harrisburg; 2nd place to John M. of Williamstown, NJ, representing Gloucester County Institute of Technology in Deptford Township, NJ; and 3rd place to Renee S. of Bayville, NJ, representing Ocean County Vocational Technical School in Brick, NJ.

The celebrity chefs included Georges Perrier, founder of Le Bec-Fin, which was one of the top restaurants in the United States for 42 years; Walter Staib, TV host, cookbook author, and owner of The City Tavern; Asian celebrity chef Joseph Poon; Gerard  Caronello of the renowned La Bonne Auberge; Robert Parker, WHC alumnus and Executive Sous Chef at Brantwyn Estate at the DuPont Country Club; and Nunzio Patruno of the award-winning  Nunzio Ristorante Rustico. As an added bonus for the competitors’ family and friends, TV host and cookbook author Christina Pirello presented a special cooking demonstration.

Check out the competition photo album! And for more info on our competitions, scholarships, and other high school initiatives, please visit our High Schoolers page.