WCCC graduates enter school's culinary arts and hospitality hall of fame
By Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Published: Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
As executive pastry chef at the Rolling Rock Club, Tammy Fuchs whips up sweet confections for private parties, dinners and catering engagements, even 27 pies for Thanksgiving dinner.
As an executive with Heartland Restaurant Group, Anthony Braun manages 650 employees at 28 Dunkin' Donuts restaurants and relies on a philosophy of trying to brighten each customer's day.
Both Westmoreland County Community College graduates were inducted recently into the college's Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality Hall of Fame.
As she donned a crisp, white chef's coat, Fuchs said her culinary education began at a young age and continues to this day.
She credits her mother, Sally Schultz, a whiz at “good, home-style” meals, and father, the late Robert Schultz, an outdoor chef, as her first instructors. With a WCCC scholarship, she took up a formal education in its baking and pastry program.
The learning continued as she made cakes at Christopher's Sweet Shop in Murrysville and “cranked out pastry after pastry.”
Now she's executive pastry chef at the Ligonier Township club, where she can roll pastry dough while watching deer meander past the window. Fuchs, 37, of New Alexandria has worked for 16 years at the Rolling Rock Club.
She relishes transforming a bushel of peaches into a fresh sorbet. She's known for flaky, buttery pie crusts enveloping seasonal fruit or cream pies — a specialty she's honed after baking hundreds.
“Just to make something from nothing ... taking the butter, sugar, flour and eggs,” she said. “If you're lucky, it's edible. If you're very lucky, it's beautiful too.”
Fuchs earned executive pastry chef certification through the American Culinary Federation's intensive screening process based on schooling, experience, a written test and a practice exam.
During the four-hour exam, Fuchs whipped up a Grand Marnier souffle, a vanilla bean panna cotta, a Spanish vanilla torte, a chocolate cake with butter cream and two dozen brioche pastries — “all of that in four hours where you're being stared at the whole time.”
Through the federation, Fuchs was named Pastry Chef of the Year in the northeast region last year.
She gives back to her alma mater as an adjunct faculty member who teaches two classes each semester on topics such as baking, decorating skills and specialty artistic techniques.
Fuchs credits her family, including her husband, Michael, and daughter Avery, and staff at the college and the Rolling Rock Club for their help.
Restaurant management maven Anthony Braun practices the “day maker” philosophy he preaches to 650 employees, constantly working to make a positive impact on somebody's day.
“At the end of the day, you're going to win with your people. Our crew members influence our guests' day,” he said. “The day's not finished until you've done something to influence someone's life in a positive fashion.”
In a holiday letter, he lauded his team's “amazing spirit, unwavering commitment and incredible work ethic.”
Braun, 49, of Pittsburgh graduated from WCCC in 1985 and continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard Business School.
He served in executive-management capacities at several restaurant chains before becoming a partner with Heartland Restaurant Group, where he's chief operating and financial officer.
Braun oversees training, store construction, accounting, payroll, human resources and marketing at 28 Dunkin' Donuts stores across the region.
“I do everything but make the doughnuts,” he said.
Braun said the restaurant business was “infused in my blood early on.”
His late father, chef Jack Braun, helped to develop the community college's culinary apprenticeship program and served as president of the American Culinary Federation.
At 13, Braun took his first restaurant job as a dishwasher at the Lemon Tree, where his father was chef. With his salary, Braun bought his dad a coin with an image of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. His father later gave him back the coin, a passing of the torch of sorts.
Braun credits his father, his team, his alma mater and many others who have walked alongside him on his career path.
He remembers coming to WCCC as a “cautious and nervous” teenager. He cited WCCC as the place where he learned the importance of influencing staff.
“I have not lost track of that,” he said.
Rossilynne Skena Culgan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Husband to stand trial in Derry middle school teacher’s murder
- Mt. Pleasant to save with energy-efficient lighting
- Latrobe couple charged with shoving guard, stealing from Wal-Mart
- Scottdale center to host tribute to singing legends
- Youngwood woman charged with selling heroin in Greensburg hospital
- 4 Franklin Regional students remain hospitalized for stab wounds
- Lt. governor to speak at Westmoreland County GOP’s Reagan dinner
- None injured when car strikes school bus in Derry Township
- ‘We Are FR’ fund going strong
- Westmoreland County shared ride program sees drop in usage
- Norvelt man’s art on display at Seton Hill University’s gallery