Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College

The Restaurant School at 42nd and Walnut is close to campus and offers many classes open to the public. Take a look at some of the dishes that Penn Appetit staffer Alex Leavy prepared during a class at the Restaurant School, taught by Chef Ron Giovanni.

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms


2 dozen large mushrooms, such as shiitake, or button mushrooms
½ medium onion, finely diced
4 tbsp. diced celery
4 tbsp. diced red bell pepper
3 tbsp. minced garlic
½ lb. lump crabmeat, picked to remove shells
bread or panko crumbs
2 tsp. Flour
1 egg
Canola oil for sautéing
Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
1 c. seafood or vegetable stock


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pull stems out of mushrooms and dice stems very finely. Saute onions, celery, bell pepper, mushroom stems, and garlic in oil until onions are clear. Add flour and blend. Add stock and simmer 10 minutes. Add crabmeat and breadcrumbs, season with salt and cayenne to taste. Add one egg.

Pipe mixture into mushroom caps. Top each with enough breadcrumbs to evenly coat and bake for 12 minutes.

Brussel Sprouts with Sauteed Bacon and Apples


1 pint Brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 c. water
1 c. milk
2 tsp. salt
4 slices bacon
1 apple – peeled, cored, diced
1 tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste


Cut an “X” in the bottom of each Brussels sprout to allow the cooking liquid to penetrate the inside.

Combine the water, milk, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, add the brussels sprouts and reduce to simmer. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until soft.

In a sauté pan over medium-low heat, render bacon crisp. Crumble and reserve the bacon, and also reserve the fat.

Heat saute pan and add the reserved bacon fat. Sauté brussels sprouts and apple in bacon fat until heated through. Add crumbled bacon, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and combine. Serve on a warm plate, if possible.

Chef Ron Giovanni began in a pantry position, but worked his way up to become a line cook, sous chef, and executive chef. He is currently a culinary instructor at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College and West Catholic High School in Philadelphia. He is developing a professional personal chef service called Dine-By-Design. Chef Giovanni can be contacted at 856-582-4889 or RonAGiovanni [at] aol [dot] com.

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