Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

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Art Bites

After a year of sticking close to home, Bernini & The Roman Baroque: Masterpieces from Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia provides a tantalizing taste of Italy.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Washington County and Blue Ridge Community and Technical College have partnered to bring the taste of Italy right to your kitchen! Each program pairs a close look at of the pieces in the exhibition with a cooking demonstration by a Chef Instructor.

Over the series of programs, learn about the opulence and splendor of Baroque art, and some fascinating food history, while also getting some practical cooking instruction. Watch all five programs and you’ll have the makings of an entire meal inspired by Baroque Italy.

All Programs are no cost, virtual programs.

To Register:
301-739-5727 OR email Donna at and indicate the dates you will attend, along with your full name, email address, phone number, and mailing address.


July 10, 1 p.m. | Vini

Chef Miriam Conroy and Sarah Hall, Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Director

This special series begins with a look at the painting Bacchus or The Allegory of Taste by Pier Francesco Mola paired appropriately with an exploration of Italian wines with Chef Miriam Conroy. Experience a journey into the wines of the Baroque period. Modern wines will be expertly recommended for pairing with the upcoming courses.

July 17, 1 p.m. | Primo

Chef Ashley Piel and Daniel Fulco PhD., Agnita M. Stine Schrieber Curator

Create a beautiful fresh egg pasta “alla Chitarra,” with Chef Ashley Piel, then make an herbaceous Roman-inspired sauce with browned butter, wild mushrooms, pistachios, and Pecorino Romano. This culinary visit to the Roman countryside will be paired with a discussion of Jean de Momper’s Landscape with Hunting Scene.

 August 7, 1 p.m. | Secondo

Chef Brandon Michael and Audrey Scanlan-Teller, PhD, Art Historian

Herminia among the Shepherds by Filippo Lauri provides the inspiration for Chef Brandon Michael’s preparation of a crusted lamb chop for grilling. Participants will learn how to make a basic pesto with traditional greens and herbs from the Blue Ridge Community and Technical College greenhouse.

August 14, 1 p.m. | Contorno

Chef Kevi Lee Furgason and Faith Herrington, Jean Cushwa College Intern

Be dazzled by the abundance of summer as depicted in the allegorical painting of the season by Carlo Maratti and Mario Nuzzi, then Chef Kevi Lee Furgason will show us how to roast one of Italy’s most beloved vegetables, cauliflower, dressed with a traditional sauce of walnuts, capers, and anchovies.

September 4, 1 p.m. | Dolce

Chef Steven Weiss and Sarah Hall, Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Director

The dramatic Suicide of Cleopatra by Domenico Fetti provides the inspiration for a fig dessert created by Chef Steven Weiss. Finish your Italian Baroque meal by creating a velvety Zabaione, an airy custard enriched with Marsala and beautiful fresh figs.

Instructor Bios:

Chef Steven Weiss

(Associate Dean/Chef Lecturer, Bachelor’s Degree) is the Associate Dean of the Hospitality and Culinary Arts programs at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College and brings over 30 years of experience. Chef Weiss was a team member and Captain for the 2000 and 2003 National Pastry Championships; and has been featured in numerous newspaper and magazine articles spot-lighting his talents. He is known to be one of the top sugar artists in the country and has competed on various television shows, specials and challenges. Chef Weiss has also been involved with food service training at the White House, bringing knowledge to the food service staff of the West Wing.

Chef Miriam Conroy

(Department Chair/Chef Instructor, AAS Degree in Culinary Arts) graduated with Honors from L’Academie de Cuisine, in Gaithersburg, MD. She trained with Global Master Chef Wolfgang Vomend for three years. As Chef de Partie at The Bavarian Inn, she was responsible for preparation of hot and cold a la carte and buffet presentations.  She was the owner and operator of her own catering company, Chef Miriam, LLC.

Chef Kevi Lee Furgason

(Bruin Café/Chef Instructor, Bachelors Degree) graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelors in History of Architecture and a minor in Painting. During her studies, Chef Kevi worked in several capacities in both the front and back of house, from bussing to bartending to prep cook, eventually settling into the pastry kitchen. She has worked with two Michelin starred chefs, at two James Beard nominated restaurants, and been associated with some of the finest dining in Pittsburgh, including the Frick Fine Arts Center, Le Pommier Bistro Francaise, and Spoon.

Chef Brandon Michael

(Food Truck Chef Instructor/Bruin Café, Associates Degree) is a graduate of the Culinary program at Blue Ridge CTC with an Associates degree in Culinary Arts.  Chef Brandon spent three years working in Telluride Colorado, a #1 rated ski resort in the United States.  At the Madeline Hotel,   he specialized in high end exotic meals, featuring, local elk, trout, and organic produce.  Brandon began working at Blue Ridge in September 2019 to facilitate the launch of the Bruin Express food truck.

Chef Ashley Piel

(Food Truck Chef Instructor/Bruin Café, Associates Degree) is a new instructor at the Blue Ridge Academy of Hospitality and Culinary Arts and has over 20 years of experience in the food service industry.  She holds an associates degree in Culinary Arts from St. Louis Community College and is an ACF Certified Culinarian. Her experience includes fine dining, fast casual dining, catering and QSR establishments including 10 years working for the FialaFoods Company.  Before joining Blue Ridge, Chef Ashley operated a food truck for Revel Kitchen in St. Louis MO.

Bernini & the Roman Baroque: Masterpieces from the Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia is organized by Glocal Project Consulting and us toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

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