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New Television Cooking Competition has Keuka College Connection

Next time you go to your favorite restaurant, you might want to take a second look at the menu. Thanks to On the Menu, a new reality series on TNT, original family recipes will soon be added to 10 different chain restaurants’ menus. On the Menu premiered Friday, Oct. 3, and the Oct. 24 episode will have a Keuka College connection.

Garrett Zur ’09, who is earning his master’s degree at Keuka College, will be one of four amateur home cooks featured on the new show’s fourth installment. He and his fellow cooks will compete to put their family’s recipes on the menus of such restaurant chains as Chili’s, Outback Steakhouse, and The Cheesecake Factory, among others. One restaurant will be featured for each of the 10 episodes.

“I cannot share what was made, but the challenge for the episode was to create a new decadent dessert for Planet Hollywood,” said Zur, who learned about the competition from Twitter. “I wanted to participate because it is my culinary passion to be on TV and with TNT having a new cooking show, why not be part of that? It is an awesome experience—one like no other. It was such an honor to have this opportunity.”

On the Menu, hosted by Ty Pennington and Chef Emeril Lagasse, who serves as Menu Master, bills itself as the first cooking competition show ever to give viewers at home the chance to taste the dishes they see on screen, as well as give everyday cooks the chance to have their dish appear in restaurants across the country.

Each episode of On the Menu opens on a set that looks like the featured chain restaurant. And like Zur’s favorite cooking show, Food Network’s Chopped, the four cooks must face a series of elimination challenges in order to make it to the final round.

“I like Chopped because it uses ingredients that I sometimes have in my house and it tests my creativity on what I could make,” said Zur. “Plus, any food challenges are fun to watch.”

In the first round, Zur and his competition must demonstrate their understanding of all things Planet Hollywood through an intense preliminary challenge. In the second round, the three remaining cooks must each create their own new dish for the restaurant and serve it to a room full of hungry diners and super fans of the featured eatery, whose votes will determine who moves on to the final round.

But the cooks don’t have to face the challenges alone. Pennington leads competitors through each of the elimination challenges, while Lagasse provides his expertise as a seasoned chef and industry insider, using his vast knowledge of cooking, branding, and sales to help the contestants shape their culinary creations.

After refining and perfecting their dishes based on the comments they receive from the diners in round two, the final two cooks serve their creations to Pennington, Lagasse, and representatives from the featured restaurant, in whose hands the final decision rests.

And if Zur wants his culinary creation on Planet Hollywood’s menu, he will need to rely on the skills he learned from his mother, one of his earliest influences in the kitchen.

“Ever since I was a kid, I have loved baking. I got my baking ‘gene’ from my mom who taught me the art of baking,” said Zur. “The best lesson my mom taught me was to lick the beaters. She would always say ‘if the batter tastes good, then the cake or dessert will taste good.’”

The hardest part of baking, said Zur, is knowing that it is chemistry. “You have to precisely measure each ingredient or it will not work, unlike cooking where you can eyeball. The easiest part? There are so many simple recipes out there.”

Zur also credits such television chefs as Chef Pasquale Carpino, Rachael Ray, and Debbie Fields—of Mrs. Fields Cookies fame—as impacting his culinary aspirations.

“At age 14, I started watching Rachael Ray. She is my culinary idol—I love watching and learning from her,” said Zur. “She has so many different books, tips, and tricks. I love her cookware and her daytime show. She truly taught me how to cook without needing a lot of direction. Her Cookin’ Round the Clock was the first cookbook I ever got. She didn’t attend culinary school, so she also taught me that you don’t need a culinary degree to pursue the passion of food.”

Armed with that knowledge, and the confidence he gained from making his culinary television debut, Zur is one step closer to making his dream come true.

Added Zur: “One day, I want my own cooking show, but my next step is to complete my master’s degree. Then hopefully, I will appear on more TV shows for cooking. For now, I will spread my ‘fooditude’ to anyone interested.”

Zur’s episode of On the Menu airs Friday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. on TNT.

Keuka College’s Fall Theatrical Production is set 614 Years Ago

Brian Cobb '08 M'11 (l) and John P. Christensen rehearse a scene from The Lady's Not for Burning

A  romantic comedy in three acts, Keuka College’s fall theatrical production, The Lady’s Not for Burning  is set in the Middle Ages.

Written by Christopher Fry, the play reflects the world’s “exhaustion and despair” following World War II, with a war-weary soldier who wants to die, and an accused witch who wants to live. In form, it resembles Shakespeare’s pastoral comedies.

Directed by Professor of Theatre Mark Wenderlich, The Lady’s Not for Burning opens Friday, Oct. 17. The show begins at 8 p.m. in the Red Barn Theater, with additional performances Saturday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 19 at 1 p.m. and again at 7 p.m.

“There are some neat angles in this show, as the play is co-produced by the Penn Yan Theatre Co. (PYTCo.), the Division of Humanities and Fine Art, and the Arion Players Drama Club,” said Wenderlich. “Two town people are in the cast, and we also have two alumni and a staff member [in the production].”

Thomas Mendip, a discharged soldier, weary of the world and eager to leave it, comes to small town Cool Clary, announces he has committed murder and demands to be hanged. A philosophical humorist, Thomas is annoyed when the officials oppose his request, even believing he is not guilty of the crime he suggests. Shortly afterward, a young woman, Jennet, is brought before the mayor for witchcraft, but for some strange reason she has no wish to be put to death.

Jake Banas (l), Eileen Farrar, and Justin Krog rehearse a scene from Keuka College's fall theatrical production

A dark comedy of rare wit and exulted language, Thomas tries, in his own way, to prove to the official how absurd it would be to refuse to hang a man who wants to be hanged, and at the same time to kill a woman who is not only guiltless, but doesn’t want to die. Jennet enjoys the banter, and soon sees the merit in Thomas the man.

The mayor’s family members, clerks and officials gather for an impending wedding and seem to be stuck with the dilemma of two uninvited people—who may or may not be hanged in the morning—who must be included in the pre-nuptial activities.

First produced in England, The Lady’s Not for Burning had a successful run in New York. It has proved, because of its delightful freshness, the dramatic thrust of its poetry, and the sheer high spirits with which the author has endowed his characters, a joy to producer and actor, as well as to the audience.

The New York Herald Tribune called it “a poetic fantasy of rare splendor and delight…a work of magical humor and deep beauty.”

Ryan Gillotti and Alicia Brown rehearse a scene from The Lady's Not for Burning

The cast includes Ryan Gillotti (Richard), a senior American Sign Language-English interpreting major from Auburn; Alicia Brown (Alizon Elliot), a senior occupational science major from Kirkwood; Phil Atherlay (Nichols), a junior adolescent English/special education major from Deposit; Jake Banas (Chaplain), a senior English major from Delmar; and Caleigh Alterio ’14 (Jennet Jourdamaine), who is pursuing her degree in occupational therapy.

Justin Krog, program developer for the College’s Office of Information Technology Services (ITS), portrays Tappercoom. Penn Yan resident Brian Cobb ’08, M’11 will return to his alma mater to portray Thomas Mendip in the production. Cobb teaches English at Penn Yan Academy. Logan Ackerly ’14 also returns to his alma mater and will portray Humphrey. Ackerly serves as an installation merchandiser at Hallmark Cards in the Greater New York City Area. John P. Christensen, reporter for the Penn Yan Chronicle Express portrays Hebble Tyson, mayor. Eileen Farrar, a Penn Yan resident who has worked with PYTCo., portrays Margaret.

Amelia Gonnella, a freshman clinical science major from Marcellus, serves as stage manager.

Tickets are $5 for Keuka College students, faculty, staff, and alumni; and $10 for the general public. Seating is limited. Tickets for The Lady’s not for Burning can be purchased in advance on instantseats.com, and are available at the box office.

New Look for Phillips Lounge

Barbara Schaefer Allardice '61 and Keuka College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera get ready to cut the ribbon

Keuka College’s Phillips Lounge (in Dahlstrom Student Center) received a much-needed face-lift over the summer. A grand opening ceremony was held Monday, Sept. 22.

Thanks to the leadership of two College Board of Trustees members, Don Wertman and his wife, Chris, and Dr. Barbara Schaefer Allardice ’61 and her husband David, the lounge’s old fireplaces were removed and now features stunning floor-to-ceiling views of Keuka Lake.

A before-and-after look at the Phillips Lounge

The fireplaces were removed in order to maximize space, and the new lounge offers collaborative workspaces, state-of-the-art TVs, a writeable surface wall, and new furniture with built-in charging capabilities.

For more photos of the new lounge click here.

Dr. Wendy Gaylord Charter Member of National Language Service Corps

According to the United States Census Bureau, more than 300 languages other than English are spoken in the U.S. Nearly 7,000 living languages are documented worldwide.

Such diversity of language illustrates the need for dedicated language resources in local communities, and the U.S. at large. But where can these resources be found?

Enter the National Language Service Corps (NLSC) and its members, including Dr. Wendy Gaylord, dean of China programs. Gaylord became a charter member of the NLSC in 2009 when it was a pilot project. In 2013, it became a permanent part of the Department of Defense, providing services to all branches of the government.

“I was interested in participating as a charter member because I want to use my language skills to promote understanding,” said Gaylord, who speaks fluent Indonesian. “The NLSC is an organization of volunteers fluent in foreign languages who are willing to provide language services to the U.S. government when required. I am always interested in ways to use my Indonesian language skills, so this was a good fit.”

A first-of-its-kind government organization, the NLSC offers multilingual speakers the opportunity to volunteer their language skills and be a bridge to their language communities. These individuals speak, listen, read, understand English and another language, and make themselves available to help others when a U.S. government requirement arises.

“I heard about the NLSC program during the pilot phase because I had received a Boren Award to support my use of Indonesian language during my doctoral dissertation research in Indonesia. I was accepted, in part, because I have been a State Department interpreter for the Office of Language Services, so my name was already on a list somewhere in the government,” said Gaylord. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to add an important international and language component to their educations.

According to Gaylord, the NLSC  is needed because while the U.S. has many people with foreign language skills, the government had no way to find such people when needed.

“The NLSC is a group of people who think that their skills can be used for good if they can help bridge cultures divided by language,” said Gaylord. “I have worked overseas and have seen the problems that can arise when people are unable to communicate effectively due to the lack of a common language. I have always thought that it is critical for people to really learn other languages and cultures in order to know their own.”

In order to be a member of the NLSC, Gaylord took language tests—in English and in Indonesian—to document that she is fluent. Members can be called upon in times of need to use their interpreting, translating, teaching, and/or subject matter expertise skills to assist others in the United States and around the world during short-term assignments.

“I receive messages whenever there is a need for an Indonesian speaker to carry out an assignment,” said Gaylord. “These vary in scope and in length of time. Because I work full-time at Keuka College I have not been able to respond to some of these, but recently, I did participate in a four-day assignment in Washington, D.C. It was very gratifying to think that the work I do benefits other people.”

While Gaylord speaks Indonesian and English fluently, she has studied Chinese and can communicate, but is not fluent. She also relies on her high school French and Latin, which she admits, “are only useful in crossword puzzles.”

Added Gaylord: “I imagine that Indonesian does not have many assignments compared to languages needed in some of the world’s ‘hot spots’ such as Afghanistan or areas of the Middle East. I have not been able to take an assignment that is out of the country. I have only been to Washington D.C., but I would enjoy doing more.”

Poet Bruce Bennett to Read from His Works as part of Keuka College’s Spotlight Series

Poet Bruce Bennett will read from his works Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Gannett Room of Lightner Library.

Part of the College’s Spotlight Series, the reading is free and open to the public.

Bennett, who serves as professor of English and director of creative writing at Wells College,  is the author of nine full-length books of poetry and more than 20 poetry chapbooks. His books include Something Like Karma and Subway Figure. His chapbooks include Visitation and The Holding Stone, and A Girl Like You. His latest book, Swimming in a Watering Can, was published this year.

His New and Selected Poems: Navigating the Distances was chosen by Booklist as “One of the Top 10 Poetry Books of 1999.” Bennett has reviewed contemporary poetry books in The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Harvard Review, among others, and his poems have appeared widely in literary journals, textbooks, and anthologies. He was awarded a Pushcart Prize for his villanelle, The Thing’s Impossible, which appeared in the fall 2011 issue of Ploughshares.

He received three degrees, including his doctorate, from Harvard University, and taught at Oberlin College from 1967-70. While at Oberlin, Bennett co-founded and served as an editor of Field: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics.

In 1970 he moved to Cambridge, Mass., where he co-founded and served as an editor of Ploughshares. Three years later, he began teaching at Wells College.

During the 1980s and 90s, Bennett served as co-associate editor at Judith Kitchen’s State Street Press in Rochester and Brockport. In 1993, he co-founded the Wells College Book Arts Center and Wells College Press, and served as director of both until 2002. Under his direction, Wells College Press published a number of poetry chapbooks and pamphlets, as well as poems by writers featured in the Wells College Visiting Writers Series.