I received news that a few students from The Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts, a division of YTI Career Institute – Lancaster, were chosen to help prepare and serve food at Governor Ed Rendell's (45th Governor of Pennsylvania) good bye/appreciation party. I contacted Jeremy Auchenbach, 3rd term student, to share his experience in the Governor's mansion.
"The Governor's party was an amazing experience. It was my first time ever working in a professional kitchen so it was very beneficial and a great first kitchen experience!
I was asked by Chef Robert Miller, PSCA instructor, if I had an interest in participating and of course I was flattered and took it on. I was a little nervous the week working up to the event since I had no idea what to expect, we are talking the Governor's Party in his mansion. I had this vision of chaos in the kitchen with a million people running around. Being only a 3rd term student I was wondering what they would expect out of me. I really didn't know what to expect.
The day started at 8:00 AM when I met a classmate at school. We rode together to the event and got there a little early. We met with Chef Barry Crumlich, Executive Chef of the Pennsylvania Governor's Residence, and he gave us our first task: prepping vegetables and herbs. It was non-stop for the most part up until about 9:00 PM. It was most intense at around 5-6 when we were getting ready for service. We served a buffet style meal and Chef Crumlich assigned me to the carving station. I couldn't have been in a better position, personally carving and serving for the Governor and his family and friends. My most memorable moment was at around 1:00 PM, I heard Chef Crumlich say, ‘Hey Governor.' I looked to my right and there was Governor Rendell reaching into the cupboard for a bag of chips. I introduced myself and shook his hand.
The day ran pretty smooth and everybody worked well together. It was nice and calm, and well directed by Chef Crumlich and his Sous Chef. I was amazed by Chef Crumlich's calmness and composure. He was able to direct everybody under such high pressure and feed 130+ people. I had this vision of Hell's Kitchen because like I said, I never worked in a professional kitchen so it was a pleasant relief to work with such a great team in this kitchen. I would go back and work there in a heartbeat, I really enjoyed it. By 10 PM, Chef Crumlich cut us loose and it was such a rewarding breath of fresh air to step outside, sit in the car and drive home. It was altogether, by the time I got home, an 18 hour day, but it was a surprisingly fast day with how busy we were kept. It was an unforgettable first kitchen experience for me and I am so grateful to have gotten the opportunity."