Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Honors Harrisburg Chefs for Commitment to Culinary Excellence

Jun 19, 2010, 19:00 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

ORRTANNA, Pa., June 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today recognized two Harrisburg chefs for their commitment to using locally sourced foods, educating the public and creating expressive culinary works.

Harrisburg Area Community College culinary arts instructor Chef Michael Finch and Bricco Executive Chef Jason Viscount were honored with the 2010 Governor's Award for Excellence in the Culinary Arts as part of the Gettysburg Festival, a 10-day celebration of the arts.

"Pennsylvania is home to many talented chefs who showcase the state's best flavors and products through some really creative culinary dishes," said Governor Rendell. "Chefs Finch and Viscount are innovative professionals who instill their passion for local food in each of the students that work alongside them. They've been strong supporters of our PA Preferred program and that commitment is helping the farmers, food processors and distributors in the program expand their businesses.

"Their work in the capital region is absolutely phenomenal. Bricco is one of my favorite restaurants in Harrisburg and the staff and students of the Harrisburg Area Community College have done awesome work on a number of occasions at the Governor's Residence."

As a culinary instructor at HACC, Finch teaches each of his students the importance of using locally sourced ingredients for the best taste and value. Outside of the classroom, Finch has lent his expertise to the PA Preferred Culinary Connection Stage at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, where he works behind the scenes to provide the public with entertaining and educational demonstrations. Finch is a founding member of Slow Foods Harrisburg and helps connect consumers and chefs with farmers.

Students enrolled in HACC's culinary arts program hone their culinary and management skills at Bricco, a popular Mediterranean fine dining restaurant in downtown Harrisburg headed by Chef Viscount. From Viscount, students learn how to create menus inspired by locally available ingredients as part of the restaurant's membership in the PA Preferred program. In addition to his role as executive chef and mentor, Viscount is a favorite on the PA Preferred Culinary Connection Stage at the Pennsylvania Farm Show each year and teaches cooking classes at his restaurant.

PA Preferred is the Department of Agriculture's branding program that helps consumers easily identify locally sourced products through its gold checkmark in a blue keystone logo.

There are more than 4,000 member locations enrolled in PA Preferred, including farmers markets, restaurants, food processors, grocery chains, craft breweries and wineries.

"Pennsylvania is home to an incredible variety of affordable and fresh agricultural products, and I applaud Chefs Finch and Viscount for their commitment to using these ingredients," said Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding. "Locally grown food is fresh and delicious and lends itself just as well to daily meals in our homes as it does as the centerpiece of masterfully crafted culinary works of art, and I encourage everyone to support our 63,000 farm families by looking for the PA Preferred logo when grocery shopping or dining out."

In its third year, the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Culinary Arts has recognized culinary leaders committed to the use of local ingredients, including Christopher O'Brien, executive chef at Hyeholde Restaurant in Moon Township, Allegheny County, in 2009; and Andrew Little, executive chef at the Sheppard Mansion in Hanover, York County, in 2008.

For more information about the PA Preferred Program, visit

CONTACT: Nicole L. C. Bucher, Ag; 717-787-1323

or Michael Smith, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor