Whitney Chen is coming to Lehigh!

We wrote about one of our favorite TV chefs this summer when alumni Whitney Chen appeared on the FoodTV network competition, “The Next FoodTV Star” this past summer. We have some really fantastic news to share with our readers….

(brace yourself)

Lehigh’s very own Whitney Chen ’05 is coming back to campus to share her story of following her passion. She’ll even be doing a food demo that EVERYONE can see. Of course, since everyone will want to see her, your chance to secure a place in the room is RIGHT NOW on this very link.

She will discuss her journey from energy consultant to Three Michelin Star line-chef to food editor and writer and how she’s used her IE degree to get her from one career to the next.  The Next Food Network Star contestant will be demonstrating some of her favorite meals perfect for cooking at college!  Recipes will be provided for all attendees.

More about Whitney Chen -> she graduated from Lehigh with her degree in Industrial Engineering in 2005. She worked in New York City as a former engineering consultant for four years, then quit her job and received a culinary certificate from L’Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, Md. She worked her way up the culinary ladder to the line at a Three Michelin Star restaurant in New York City.

A serious home cook turned professional chef; Whitney enjoys using the freshest seasonal ingredients in her cooking and believes that anyone can incorporate advanced techniques into making everyday meals that impress. Whitney came in fifth place in season seven of The Next Food Network Star. Whitney also writes for the Hinsdale-CalendonHills Patch.com; some great recipes here to try .


Bethlehem Restaurant Week is coming!!!!

Is that your stomach growling? Then, we begin with an apology for the torture of this post which is all about food.

Have you ever made a really, really good meal? Have you ever played with food? Have you ever tried to impress your date with your culinary genius? Do you watch cooking shows? Or do you just like to be impressed with the skills of an expert cook, or seasoned chef? If you’ve answered, “yes” to any of these questions, we encourage you to check out Bethlehem’s Restaurant Week. If you do, make plans for some great meals – and go easy on the grocery list this week.

Presented by the Downtown Bethlehem Association, this week-long event features 32 (that’s right – THIRTY TWO) restaurants offering fixed menues for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • Breakfast price points: $5, $10
  • Lunch price points: $5, $10, $15
  • Dinner price points: $10, $20, $25, $30, $35
No passes, tickets or coupons are required. Instead, diners may simply visit their favorite participating restaurants throughout the week to enjoy the special prix fixe breakfast, lunch or dinner menus. It is strongly recommended that diners make reservations in advance. To make reservations, diners should contact the restaurants directly. This is your chance to revisit a favorite restaurant, or try a new destination. Most of the restaurants are within a reasonable walking distance from campus; some in South Bethlehem, some in Historic North Bethlehem.

For a list of participating restaurants, check out this website. Or enlarge the image you see here.

But wait, there’s more! There is also a contest during Restaurant Week. You could win $2,000 of gift certificates from the participating restaurants. Each time you dine on a restaurant week menu, the server will hand you a contest slip. You can fill in up to three contest slips a day – a total of 21 entries for the week. More Restaurant Week contest details and rules here.

As one of our favorite foodies likes to say, “We bid you, good eating!” (~Alton Brown)

artist of the day #37: Jan Vormann

Did you ever hurt yourself as a child, and your parents tried to make you feel better by giving you a toy? I think that is sort of what Jan Vormann is doing, except the bruised knee belongs to his surrounding world. Although his medium of choice is quite varied, I came to know him through his use of toys to fix the wear and tear of the world around him. Perhaps the thing he has gotten to be known for most is his use of Legos to replace missing bricks and repair damaged walls. Jan will simply walk around any given street with a bag of Legos and some strong adhesive to fill in a gap he feels needs some color. In more than one place he was asked to do a permanent installation by city officials. He encourages public interaction and loves it when people just spontaneously help him out.

He has also taken this same approach of repair to some found objects. He has taken several damaged trophies and sculptures and repaired them with parts from found toys. This takes something that would have been otherwise discarded and then redefines it through rebirth.

If I were to sum up his approach, I would say more than anything he is simply trying to remind us of the wonder inside a child’s mind. He wants to remind us of the magic that a toy can bring into our mind. He is serious about trying to be funny.

Vormann also does some other series of works, but it was his interaction of toys that introduced me to him. He has created a series of kinetic sculptures that also tend to have a sense of humor to them, although an often darker one. He created a small collection of animal cages that also double as suicide machines in case the animal rather die than be held captive. (Check the video links) Other kinetic sculptures offer a different kind of sand hour-glass. In some works the choice of media is the central theme, in others it is completely irrelevant. Even though I came to know his kind of as the “Lego Guy” I hope that is not the reputation he continues to hold. I think his work only gets more interesting the more you look into it.