Let’s make some jam!

By Matthew Cowles, Rachel Bland, and David Brophy

From left to right: Rachel Bland, Matthew Cowles, and David Brophy

Many a time during the summer or some off time, we find ourselves looking for something to do. We tend to cook during our free time, experimenting with new recipes. So here is a little jam recipe that both Rachel and David have created during their class time that anyone can do themselves at home. The best part about cooking when you’re bored or have too much free time is that you get to eat it once you’re done!

At first, Rachel had made a strawberry, rhubarb, earl grey, and vanilla jam while in the Healthy Baking Club and absolutely loved it. Strawberry Rhubarb is always a great jam, but one of the fun things about cooking is getting to tweak a recipe and make it better, and once she did, she couldn’t get enough of it. So David and Rachel decided to do a variation of it by doing strawberry, vanilla, and earl grey for a project. The first time they made it, they thought the flavor was good, but it wasn’t perfect and decided to keep testing. After the testing and the changes were made, they were happy with the recipe that they have now. It is guaranteed to be great as a spread to go with cheese and bread or put into a yogurt parfait.

Jam recipe:

2 ½ cups fresh strawberries, cut into quarters

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup water

2 tea bags of Earl Grey tea

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds removed

2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon pectin powder


  1. Combine sugar and water over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add the Earl Grey tea and let steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the tea bags and add the strawberries and vanilla seeds and the bean. Cook over medium to high heat until a boil.
  3. Add the pectin powder and lemon juice.
  4. Cook until mixture goes over 214 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. To check the consistency of your jam, put a tablespoon or so on a plate and place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Jam should be thick and sticky.
  6. If the jam is not done, let it boil for a few more minutes.
  7. Once the jam is done, put it into glass jars to cool. The jam can be held in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

This jam is an excellent recipe to get started with and can be used in so many ways with so many different recipe variations. You can also adjust all the ingredients to your flavor needs, so feel free to play around with it. This jam is an easy first recipe for people just getting into jam making or a great recipe for people who love making jams already.

Jam making is definitely a skill everyone should have. It is relaxing, fun, and a useful skill to have under your belt, and what better way to start out than with this delicious recipe?! This is the first jam I have ever taken part in making, and I was so pleased with the turnout (David Brophy). So enjoy, and don’t forget to share your finished product with a friend!

-Matthew Cowles, Student Leader

Culinary Arts, Class of July 2018

-Rachel Bland, Student Leader

Culinary Arts, Class of July 2019

-David Brophy

Culinary Arts, Class of July 2019

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.

Our first term as Student Leaders

By Patrick Gendaszek, Mercy Tolbert, and Stephanie Sinclair

From left to right: Stephanie Sinclair, Patrick Gendaszek, and Mercy Tolbert

Looking back on my first term as a Student Leader, I think about all the excitement I had for things like Welcome Home (freshman move-in weekend) and the group work of making the schedule for our hours. Move-in weekend was a blur because there was always something to do and people to meet. It was nice to be able to tell the new students who we are and that we are here to help. The Q&A session we hosted was great for being able to pass on the little tips for college life I had learned over the course of my associate degree.

After that, we had the first team meeting and made the schedule for our hours for the next ten weeks. I got one night in Operations and two shifts in the Library. Operations would not be much of a change for me, as I had just done two or more nights a week for the last fifty weeks. But, the Library was the thing I wasn’t sure about, as I had spent many a night and break there typing papers, much like I still do with papers and blogs to this day. Having never been the one on the other side of the desk, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it. Turns out I loved it! It was a chance to meet new people and build a relationship with students I may otherwise never get to meet.

This is me looking back on my first term as a retrospective so that you can better understand the pride and importance that I, Patrick Gendaszek, as well as Stephanie Sinclair and Mercy Tolbert take in the new positions we find ourselves in.

-Patrick Gendaszek, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Class of March 2019

The past five weeks of being a Student Leader have brought many lessons and experiences that I never expected. First off, having the opportunity to be a Student Leader is such a blessing and I’m very grateful for it. It assured me that my hard work is paying off, but I know that I still have more work to do. My Student Leader hours have consisted of only working in the back of the house in the restaurant on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. It was a great interest of mine to work with plating the desserts for the restaurant and I’ve been having a blast. I realized that my job is pretty important, because the plates that I put out are basically the last impression of each person’s dinner, so they have to look nice. With this in mind, I make sure to send out only desserts that are up to par and meet the standards that everyone expects.

Aside from my Student Leader hours, I’ve found that I am starting to build relationships with my fellow Student Leaders. I think we have a great group of people with great ideas and different skills and experiences. So far, we work together very well, and I can’t wait for the projects and events we’ll complete in the future.

I am really starting to get a feel for what to expect in the real world once I finish college. If I can go to my classes at the beginning of the week and then work and do my Student Leader hours at the end of the week, then I can certainly handle whatever life throws at me. It really is a lot to juggle, but it’s not at all impossible. Hard work, determination, and passion really are the keys to success, and being a Student Leader is helping me to learn how to apply them to my everyday life.

-Mercy Tolbert, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Class of July 2019

My first term as a Student Leader has been a balance of teaching and learning from a unique perspective. I knew that I had gained a lot of knowledge from the associate program to be able to assist the students, but I did not realize how much I would be able to help out, especially during Restaurant Operations. Just last term, I was doing exactly what they had to do, like making drinks at the bar, polishing dishes in the kitchen, and running food to tables. After six terms of practicing and perfecting these tasks, I knew how much detail went into each one. In addition, I knew how boring it could be when there were no customers in the restaurant and everyone just had to wait for something to do. As a Student Leader, I have really tried to defeat that boredom by helping students perfect their knowledge of the Front of House so they understand how and why it is important to their field of study. Aside from teaching, I have also grown by learning from my instructors and the upperclassmen. Pat, my fellow Student Leader and mentor, has been encouraging me to speak up and be loud, despite my quiet nature. We are only halfway through the term, but I have noticed myself becoming vocal in situations where I would usually keep to myself. I have also found that my instructors have really been taking the time to show me things that they know will benefit me as a student and as a future manager. There is a lot of responsibility, time, and patience that goes into being a Student Leader, but I am very happy to be giving back to the other students and continuing to grow as a student myself.

-Stephanie Sinclair, Student Leader

Restaurant Management, Class of July 2019

Our industry inspiration

By Kim Stefanelli, Kierstin Jester, and Caitlin Hedrich

From left to right: Caitlin Hedrich, Kim Stefanelli, and Kierstin Jester

Since I was young, I’ve always been glued to the TV watching Food Network. At first, I would always watch with my mom, who then decided to start trying to recreate the things she saw on TV. I remember being on my tippy toes watching her in awe as she would make either her famous red velvet cupcakes or even decedent brownies. My mother always put so much love and time into whatever she did. She would make things and always ask me how they turned out.  As I got older, I began to help my mom in the kitchen. In grade school, if there was a party, I would always volunteer to make the pastries because it always made me happy to see everyone else enjoy what I made. As I grew into a young adult, it hit me that I wanted to make people happy with what I made, just like my mother had done for me. My mother is my inspiration for everything I do. She is my rock, and without her, I don’t know if I would have such a passion as I do now.

-Kierstin Jester, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Class of July 2019


I grew up in the kitchen, and I think I always knew I was destined to have a career in the food industry. I would stand on a stool beside my grandmother as I watched her prepare the dishes that molded my childhood. I remember my mother making all my meals as a child, and when I look back on those times, I can still feel the love that she put into everything she made for me. It is the love and the memories that inspire me every day. I want to take the love that was given to me and put it into everything I make in hopes that the person who eats what I create can feel the love as well. Even in the times that I feel discouraged, I take a minute and remember why I love what I do and the people who inspire me. If there is one piece of advice that I could give, it is that when you feel discouraged or question your abilities, remember why you wanted it in the first place.

-Caitlin Hedrich, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Class of July 2019


Similar to Kierstin and Caitlin, I too grew up cooking and baking with my mom and dad.  My dad is still to this day one of the best cooks I know, and my mom is an amazing baker. I would sit at the kitchen counter, watching both of them work with ease. They’d come home from work and go to the kitchen because it would relax them from the busy days they just had. The more I watched, the more I learned, and eventually, I began helping out. I knew baking was a passion at a very young age, and I knew it was what I wanted to do. I began baking little things for classmates and friends, and seeing the smiles on their faces after they ate began a whole new inspiration. It was the greatest feeling in the world hearing someone say the food I made was delicious. My passion for the industry started with my parents, but my inspiration came from seeing others happy. There is a lot of negativity in the world, but food is one thing that brings people together and makes everyone happy. This industry is a selfless industry. We bend over backward to make others smile—and I love every second of it.

-Kim Stefanelli, Student Leader

Pastry Arts, Class of July 2018