Northwest NEWS

July 12, 1999


Janine Disparte-Pace

Culinary arts grad has recipe chosen in nationwide search

by Deborah Stone, features writer

   Tyson Foods, the Springdale, Arkansas-based poultry processing company, recently released its new Tastes of the Times chicken recipe book. The book draws upon the talents of foodservice operators across the country and is designed to be the most extensive chicken recipe book specifically created for foodservice operators.

   Janine Disparte-Pace, of Bothell, had her recipe for Chicken Wellington selected in a nationwide search last year. Pace, a recent graduate of Lake Washington Technical College's culinary arts program, created the dish as a student in the College's Our Class Act Restaurant. Her recipe was one of only 125 chosen to be published.

   Tyson had received hundreds of chicken recipes for consideration and used specific criteria in evaluating them. All recipes needed to be original and have been menued in a foodservice operation during the previous year. Other criteria for selection included ease and efficiency of preparation and trend relevance.

   The culinary arts program at Lake Washington Technical College, headed by chefs Don Johnson and Alan Joynson, allows students to design their own specials and present them in a working restaurant located on the college campus. After Pace created her Chicken Wellington dish and gave it a test run, she received enormously positive feedback from students, the chefs, and most importantly, from the patrons at the restaurant.

   "It was a hit! It sold out immediately and I felt then that I was perhaps on to something. So I decided to hone it a bit and enter it into the Tyson contest. It was a great surprise and honor to have it chosen. It's amazing for me to realize that it will be cooked in Tyson kitchens and all around the world," said Pace.

   Pace is not new to the foodservice industry, as she holds a degree in restaurant and hotel management, in addition to her culinary arts certificate, and has over twenty years' experience in the field. After receiving her certificate last year, she decided to start her own catering butiness.

   "I'm really enjoying working for myself now," comments Pace. "My business is called JD's Catering Service, and I handle any size group for any type of occassion. I'm flexible and can work from my home or prepare on site. I have a crew that helps me when it's a big job, and so far, things are going well."

   Pace credits Lake Washington's program with providing wonderful opportunities for hands-on training. "The chefs are incredible and give students a complete education in every aspect of running an establishment. They also provide wonderful support by encouraging each individual to pursue his or her own personal interests," she said.

   Tastes of the Times is a coffee-table-quality hardback book, containing more than 200 quantity-and-quality-tested recipes. Many of the dishes use common ingredients and incorporate labor-saving techniques. The collection demonstrates the versatility of chicken in a variety of menu applications such as appetizers, salads, soups and one-dish meals.

   According to Robin Jensen, Tyson vice president of foodservice marketing, the book was created to give operators exciting ways to meet increased patron demand for chicken dishes. "The challenge for operators is to continually find new and exciting ways to satisfy patrons," says Jensen. "Tastes of the Times was created especially for foodservice operators, specifically with that challenge in mind."

   To order Tastes of the Times, call 1-800-24-TYSON.

Chicken Wellington

   4 chicken breast filets
   1 Tbsp. butter, salted
   1 Tbsp.garlic, fresh, minced
   3 cups button mushrooms, fresh, sliced
   1 cup spinach, leaf, thawed, pressed dry
   2/3 cup Bousin-style cheese, garlic-and-herb flavored
   1/2 cup English walnuts, minced
   2 Tbsp. parsley, fresh, minced
   4 puff pastry, commercially prepared, cut into 7-inch squares
   1 egg, large, whole, slightly beaten
   1-1/3 cups chicken gravy, commercially prepared, hot
   3 Tbsp. parsley, fresh, minced

   Cover chicken tightly and stack in cooler between 32 and 36 degrees prior to use. Heat butter in skillet or braising pan over high heat. Add garlic to butter and saute for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Sauté chicken for 4 to 5 minutes.

   Transfer to bowl. (Reserve 1 tablespoon mushrooms for use in gravy.) Add spinach to same pan and sauté over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until moisture has evaporated. Remove from heat. (Reserve 1 tablespoon spinach for use in gravy.) Add remaining spinach to mushrooms. Add cheese, walnuts, and parsley to mushroom/spinach mixture and mix thoroughly.

   Place pastry squares on floured work surface. Place 1 chicken breast filet on each pastry and tuck narrow end of chicken under itself to form a square. Top each chicken breast filet with 1/2 cup mushroom/spinach mixture. Fold opposite corners of each pastry square over the filling to meet at the center and pinch together to seal. Pinch remaining edges to seal.

   Transfer to parchment-lined sheet pans. Brush pastry square with egg. Bake in preheated conventional oven at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until pastry is golden and chicken is no longer pink. Bake 35 to 40 minutes; or bake in preheated convection oven at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven. Keep warm above 140 degrees. Add reserved mushrooms and spinach to gravy. Mix thoroughly and keep warm. To assemble single serving: spread 1/3 cup gravy on plate and top with 1 pastry square. Garnish with 2 teaspoons parsley.