NANTICOKE – Kyle Recicar, 16, said he has been cooking for himself since I was a little kid, and a recent experience fueled his desire to make it a career.
Recicar was one of about 60 high school students -- wearing professional kitchen attire -- who last week attended the taping of two segments of Cooking Classic, the Luzerne County Community College's program that could air on a local television station next spring.
Twelve episodes have been taped and the show will now go into post-production, Tom McHugh, chairman of LCCC's communications arts department, said. He said graphics, recipes and ingredients will be added for viewers.
This was great, Recicar said after the taping. I learned how to cook food properly and how to season food.
Recicar is a 10th grade student at the West Side Technical and Career Center in Pringle. He hopes to enroll in the LCCC culinary arts program.
Sitting behind Recicar was Micayla Rodriguez, 16, of Clarks Summit, who attends the Career Technology Center of Lackawanna County. Her aunt owns a restaurant in Colorado and Rodriguez has always admired what she does. An 11th-grader, Rodriguez said she will be the first member of her family to attend college and culinary school is where she wants to be.
Nathan McAndrew, 15, a sophomore at the Lackawanna County CTC, said LCCC is the first culinary school he has visited. I love food, he said. I think it's a good trade to get into – I mean, people will always have to eat.
Gary Mrozinski, dean of business and technologies at LCCC, said enrollment in the culinary arts program has doubled in the past five years. The construction of the Joseph A. Paglianite Culinary Arts Building and the Kowalski Auditorium/TV studio, he said, has increased interest in the program.
On Tuesday, Chef David Pembleton, LCCC professor of culinary arts and pastry arts, joined hostess Kathy Coslett to prepare chicken stir fry and beef lo mein in the first taping. Chef John Hudak of Vanderlyn's restaurant in Kingston was the guest chef in the second episode. He prepared chairman's reserve filet mignon. Other professional chefs will appear on the show.
Pembleton explained how to season dishes and how to prepare sauces and ingredients. Baking is more of a science, he told the students. Cooking is more of an art.
I believe ‘Cooking Classic' serves many positive purposes, Coslett said. It gives the faculty chefs at LCCC and our area chefs the recognition they deserve; it introduces current culinary students to an arena of study that they may have overlooked – one that is crucial to succeed in today's world of culinary arts – and it beautifully spotlights the most state-of-the-art, live audience, television studio of its kind in the region.
McHugh said he and Coslett worked together at WVIA-TV and he asked her to host the show.
We needed a professional TV person, McHugh said. And it has worked. We've had interest from WBRE and WVIA on airing the shows. We are talking to other stations and we hope to have a decision soon.
Coslett said the experience has been incredible.
Cooking is a part of everyone's life, she said. And cooking shows on television have become very popular.
David Pembleton, professor of culinary arts and pastry arts at Luzerne County Community College, provided details on the show's 12 episodes:
• 1. David Pembleton: Pork hunter style/chicken scampi
• 2. Kim McLendon: Grilled vegetable lasagna
• 3. Kate Gabriel: Low and slow braised short ribs w/wild mushroom risotto
• 4. David Pembleton: Grilled swordfish w/pineapple sauce; salmon en papillote
• 5. David Pembleton: Stuffed shrimp; steak Diane
Brian Zawicky: Mediterranean chick pea stew
• 7. Kate Gabriele: Dakani chicken
• 8. Kate Gabriele: Fresh made pasta with a fra diavolo di Mazara sauce
• 9. Mike Langdon: Pan seared chicken breast, sweet potato puree, smoked bacon braised Brussels sprouts
• 10. Jake Hizny: Old Clothes (Roupa Velha Brazil)
• 11. David Pembleton: Chicken stir fry/beef lo mein
• 12. John Hudak: Chairman's reserve filet mignon