The Perfect Pairing for Happy Hour! Check Out Chef Matt’s New Recipe!

September 22, 2021

Ingredients

  • Sliced focaccia bread
  • ¼ cup Village’s house-made raspberry jam (can sub for store-bought)
  • 4 tbsp soft brie cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
  • Olive oil (for drizzling)
  • Balsamic vinaigrette (for drizzling)
  • Organic micro greens (for garnish)
  • Chopped pistachios (for garnish)
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Slice focaccia bread (or bread of choice) into about ½ inch thick pieces and place on oven-safe sheet pan
  2. Lightly drizzle bread with olive oil; season with kosher salt and pepper
  3. Chop fresh herbs including rosemary, sage, and oregano
  4. Top bread with freshly chopped herbs
  5. Evenly distribute softened brie cheese on each slice of bread
  6. Place in wood-fired oven for 4 to 5 minutes* or until lightly golden and toasted
  7. Transfer bread to plate. Top with Village’s house-made raspberry jam**
  8. Top with micro greens and drizzle balsamic vinaigrette
  9. Garnish with toasted chopped pistachios
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Meet Chef Matt and Discover The Village’s Five-Star Dining Experience!

Executive Chef of The Village at Penn State, Matt Lambert, has a long history in culinary arts. With a passion for food and cooking since childhood, Matt certainly knows his way around the kitchen. “My interest in cooking began at home. My mom, and my dad were pretty enthusiastic cooks and we had a family dinner every night. By the age of 12, I knew how to cook dinner on my own,” he recalls.

Years later, Matt began pursuing his degree in culinary school. “I got a degree in Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts from Johnson and Wales in Providence, Rhode Island,” he says. From there, Matt worked in a series of independent, fine-dining restaurants and hotels throughout New England, and about 20 years ago made his way to where he lives now in Central Pennsylvania.

It was there where he began working at Penn State University’s School of Hospitality Management. With his wide variety of experience, Matt decided to open a large dining hub in the small city of Mifflinburg, PA where he worked for five years. Here, Matt ran into Duane Leitzell, director of dining services at The Village.

“Duane and I worked together nearly 20 years ago at Penn State,” he explains. “We bumped into one another and he was looking to replace a chef and I was looking to make a career move, and here I am,” Matt says proudly.

Beginning his role as Executive Chef at The Village in November of 2019, Chef Matt says that what he enjoys most about his profession is getting to know the residents and listening to their feedback. “When I first started here I didn’t realize what a major part of their social life the dining experience is,” he explains.

It’s amazing how you can make a resident’s day simply by providing a great meal with great service. That’s what makes this job so rewarding.

Executive Chef of The Village at Penn State, Matt Lambert

Matt explains that the dining team’s ultimate goal at The Village is to exceed residents’ expectations. “It doesn’t matter if we’re serving filet mignon or a hamburger, we do everything we can to put forward the highest quality food and ingredients.” Matt also says that part of what makes The Village’s dining program so successful is their dedicated team who give residents an outstanding dining experience each day.

We feel so lucky to have a chef whose menus and food are outstanding. The Chef and Director of Dining Services make eating at The Village a very special experience. The waiters and waitresses brighten our days with their efficiency of service, kind words, and big smiles.

Marge and Max S., residents of The Village at Penn State

Each day, residents look forward to fresh, local ingredients and five-star menus with a variety of options for soups, salads, entrees, and dessert. “Each night’s menu is different,” Chef Matt affirms. He also adds that The Village’s Bistro is a resident favorite for a more casual dining experience. “We make a lot of lighter fare here with fun appetizers. We also have a wood stone pizza oven so we make lots of wood-oven roasted sandwiches and personal pizzas,” he describes. Another feature residents love is the al-fresco dining right alongside the beautiful Palmer Park.

Nobody gets you closer. Nobody gives you more. Nobody treats you better.