To celebrate the opening of Mercer County Community College’s new teaching kitchen, a ribbon cutting ceremony took place on September 14, 2011. The building of the new kitchen was done to help accommodate the growing number of students that are entering into the college’s hospitality and culinary programs.
The kitchen, made possible by Federal Perkins grant funding, was decorated with hors d’oeuvres prepared with the help of current culinary students. The ceremony’s special guest was Sam Morgante, a former white house military chef. Attendees of the ceremony had a treat when Morgante joined Mercer instructor Frank Benowitz in creating one of former president Bush’s favorite meals, Texas flank steak. The dish was prepared with New Jersey seasonal vegetables. When asked what it was like collaborating with Morgante, Benowitz replied, “We have worked together before, and it’s always a fun time.”
“The kitchen opening ceremony was definitely an eye opener to the Mercer culinary department, and it was nice to meet a white house chef,” said Mercer television student Zohair Zaidi.
After sharing the Texas flank with the guests, Morgante and Benowitz joined with Mercer President Dr. Patricia C. Donohue and associate professor Doug Fee, to cut the ribbon. After the ribbon cutting, Chef Morgante presented Dr. Donohue with a gift of knives for the teaching kitchen, which were engraved with the presidential seal. With the new kitchen all done, this will sure attract even more students to the hospitality and culinary programs.