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Philadelphia Chefs and Culinary Students Collaborate on Festive Five-Course Dinner for Friends of James Beard Benefit

November 5, 2013

Culinary students in the kitchen
Drexel culinary students teamed up with local chefs to create a five-course fall dinner for Philadelphia’s first-ever Friends of James Beard Benefit Event

Some of Philadelphia’s most talented young chefs – all alumni of Drexel University – will team up with current culinary students to create a festive five-course dinner for Philadelphia’s first-ever Friends of James Beard Benefit Event on Thursday, Nov. 14. Proceeds from the event will fund scholarships for students in Drexel’s Center for Hospitality & Sport Management with financial need.

Drexel culinary students prep for the festive five-course dinnerThe event will be hosted by Dr. Jonathan Deutsch ‘99, director of the Center for Hospitality & Sport Management, and Michael Traud, a chef-professor formerly of Vetri and Zeppoli.

Guest chefs will include Nick Macri of SouthWark, Brian Lofink ’03 of Sidecar Bar, Kraftwork and Kermit’s, Josh Lawler ’02 of The Farm & Fisherman, John Taus ’04 of The Corner, Greg Garbacz ’04 of Sbraga and Angela Park ’06 of Park Ave. Cakes, as well as sommelier Bob Barrett ’98 of Winebow. 

Each chef has been paired with one or two students who have worked with them to develop each course. They will then prepare the course together on the evening of the event. Food and bar service will be provided by students from a dining room management class taught by adjunct professor Paul O’Neill, who also serves as a manager at Vetri.

The event will take place in Drexel’s state-of-the-art dining facility, the Academic Bistro (101 N. 33rd Street, sixth floor). A cocktail reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $130 for members of the James Beard Foundation and $150 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased here or by emailing Jessica Apgar at 

The menu is as follows:

Chef-professor Michael Traud, formerly of Vetri and Zeppoli, will co-host the eventFirst course
Country pâté, hot coppa and black pepper salami with seasonal accompaniments, paired with Zardetto Prosecco Conegliano Brut DOC
Prepared by Nick Macri

Second course:
“Nicoise” salad with olive deviled egg, roasted tomato, haricots verts purée, gem lettuce leaves and seared tuna, paired with Domaine Gros Nore Bandol Rose 2012
Prepared by Greg Garbacz

Third course:
Butter-poached lobster popovers with sunchokes, fennel, brandy and beer, paired with Saison Dupont
Prepared by Brian Lofink

Fourth course:
Hay-baked chicken with smoked Tomatoes, sage, cauliflower and button mushrooms, paired with Weingut Heinrich Zweigelt 2008
Prepared by Josh Lawler

Fifth course:
Pumpkin panna cotta with apple cider caramel, bacon-pumpkin seed brittle and sugar snap crumble, paired with Southern Tier Imperial Pumpking Pumpkin Beer
Prepared by John Taus

Greg Garbacz ’04 of Sbraga is one of the guest chefs for the eventPetit Fours
Prepared by Angela Park

“Over the past fifteen years of our culinary program at Drexel, we have produced some of the nation's finest chefs and beverage professionals,” said Deutsch. “We are so honored to have our alumni share their work with us to support the next generation. Each chef has taken a culinary student under her or his wing to prepare their course. Our alumni sommelier Bob Barrett worked with our fine dining class on the wine pairings. It will be a delicious evening in the space that started all of these chefs on their course to success.”

Drexel announced the launch of its new Center for Hospitality and Sport Management in October. Formerly in the Goodwin College of Professional Studies, the freestanding Center includes programs in sport management, hospitality management, culinary arts and food science.

Media Contact:

Alex McKechnie