Penn College cook takes first in Mrs. T’s Pierogies contest
Mrs. T’s Pierogies recently named a recipe developed by a head cook at Pennsylvania College of Technology the winner of its Fall 2020 College & University Recipe Contest.
Jennifer N. Severson, head cook in the college’s CC Commons dining unit, received first place honors — including a $500 gift card — for her Fall Pierogi Hash.
Severson’s recipe calls for bacon, butternut squash, green apples, yellow onions and, of course, Mrs. T’s pierogies.
“My inspiration for creating the dish was the time of year,” Severson explained. “National Pierogy Day 2020 was Oct. 8. The weather is cooler, and the holidays are fast approaching. To me, the flavors of fall and winter are filled with hearty dishes comprised of warm spices and seasonal fruits and vegetables. And of course, a little bit of bacon.”
The dish was praised by the Mrs. T’s team and was well-received by on-campus customers.
“The name and ingredients were intriguing, although unfamiliar to most in a cohesive dish,” Seversen said of campus diners. “Customers were pleasantly surprised by the balance of sweet, savory and spice.”
The contest, in its third year, was open to all colleges and universities that participate in Mrs. T’s National Pierogy Day celebration. It typically attracts about 100 entries each year. In 2019, Penn College’s Andrea N. Breon, head cook in the Keystone Dining Room, took third prize in the competition, and Mike S. Dinan, an assistant manager in Dining Services (then-head cook in CC Commons), was awarded honorable mention.
Severson joined the Dining Services staff at Penn College in August. She is a graduate of Oregon Coast Culinary Institute, where she earned associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. Before coming to Penn College, she was the executive chef of dining and catering services at Southwestern Oregon Community College and previously worked in restaurants and health care kitchens.
Penn College Dining Services operates 10 dining units on campus, offering buffets, grill and deli items, pizza, snacks, coffee and much more.
Mrs. T’s, of Shenandoah, is the nation’s largest producer of frozen pierogies, producing nearly 600 million of the Polish dumplings each year.