By Heather Cass
Publications Manager, Office of Strategic Communications, Penn State Behrend
Penn State Behrend Managing Chef Kyle Coverdale
Ever wish you could have a professional chef next to you, walking you through a new recipe? Thursday night, you can. Penn State Behrend’s culinary king, a.k.a. Managing Chef Kyle Coverdale will be offering a virtual cooking tutorial via Zoom.
The event, cohosted by two student clubs, Leaders in Education and Action in Food Systems (LEAFS) and Greener Behrend, is not a watch-and-learn, but an interactive cook-along. Sign up and you’ll get a list of ingredients along with your Zoom meeting link. Then, get your shopping done, do the recipe prep work and log on Thursday, November 19, at 6:30 p.m. from your kitchen to cook with Kyle and dozens of other members of the Penn State community.
“As periods of isolation and quarantine continue, we wanted to create a sense of community by coming together, virtually, to learn, cook, and share a meal and conversation,” said Pearl Patterson, a senior Psychology major and co-president of the LEAFS club.
Coverdale said the Food Services staff, including Behrend’s five chefs, have been looking for ways to bring students and the college community together and, traditionally, those events on campus revolve around food.
“Last week, we did a cooking class with students in-person at Bruno’s (with all COVID safety measures and distancing in place) and we made and enjoyed classic Ukrainian dishes,” Coverdale said. “Doing it virtually allows us to include a lot more people because we’re all in our own kitchens.”
We caught up with Chef Kyle to find out what attendees will be making and what he loves about cooking for Penn State Behrend students, faculty, staff, and guests.
What’s on the menu for the Fall Cooking Party? We’ll be making a Roasted Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Kale, Dried Cranberries and Feta bowl, and Beet Carpaccio with Roasted Carrots and Goat Cheese Mousse.
How long have you been a chef? I have been cooking for more than fifteen years. I attended culinary school at Mercyhurst University.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef? Being able to bring people together with my work. When I travel and get to cook with other chefs from all over the world, it is amazing how we can “talk” through food. Also, it is an ever-changing artform. There is always something new to learn.
What do you enjoy about cooking at Penn State Behrend? We have so many great events and a diverse population. It gives me a lot of opportunities to cook different things, learn new dishes, and get ideas from our students.
What is the most popular meal/food you make at Behrend? This is a hard one. From a catering perspective, I have a surf-and-turf meal that is quite popular. It includes a fillet and crab cake over garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus topped with bearnaise sauce. In the dining hall, we just offered a Katsu sandwich, which is an amazing Japanese street food sandwich, that was very popular.
What makes or breaks a recipe? Bad ingredients. If you start with low-quality ingredients, the outcome of the dish will likely be subpar.
What would you say to people who say they hate to cook? Anyone can cook and if you don’t believe me, watch the Disney movie Ratatouille. Cooking doesn’t need to be hard, and it’s okay to use items that are already prepped to help make the task less daunting. If you do eat out, please do support local restaurants.
Want to cook with Chef Kyle? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a list of ingredients and a link to attend the Zoom event!