PSC Professor Tom Sydow is Guest Chef at the 2nd Annual Wycktoberfest

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Imagine walking into a local eatery and finding out that your English professor is the guest chef, serving a packed house and having to turn people away!

Tom Sydow, Potomac State College English professor, served as guest chef for the 2nd Annual Wyctoberfest at the Candlewyck Inn and Restaurant.

Sydow, along with Candlewyck’s chefs Fred Engle and Ernie Walker, served delicious German cuisine.


The featured menu consisted of several delectable dishes including jaegerschnitzel (veal) with jaegerwyck sauce, (a blend of bacon, mushrooms, and onions), riesling (highly aromatic white wine from Germany), sour cream and thyme.

Another dish was chicken paprikash in a red pepper, mushroom and paprika sauce on spaetzle (a German egg noodle).

A portion of the proceeds from this event will be donated to the local area Relay for Life, in memory of Chef Thomas Vieli.

“I have many fond memories of cooking with Chef Thomas and learned valuable cooking tips from him,” said Sydow.

“I’m also thrilled that Fred and Sharon (Engle) have invited me back to serve as a guest chef again this year.”

Many PSC staff and faculty attended the event including Dr. Jennifer Orlikoff, Ruth Upton and Virginia Kline.

Sydow said that “Fred and Ernie could not get enough thanks” for helping with Wycktoberfest.

Sydow’s first jobs in the food industry were at a Tasty Freeze and as a bus boy at a restaurant.

His cooking skills are self-taught. He learned his skills by trying many different spices and seasonings to create a twist on a variety of scrumptious dishes.

These days, one of his favorite dishes to cook is chicken thighs marinated in Schwartziber (a dark lager made in Germany with a hint of chocolate or coffee flavors) and molasses.

He also enjoys preparing cassoulets, a hearty French stew that is made with an array of beans and different meats.

Vegetarian dishes are not among Sydow’s favorite to make, as he said, “I just don’t get tofu.”

He teaches a community class called Grapes and Grains with a fellow professor, Donna Ballard. They brew several different types of beer and wine.

In past years, Sydow and Ballard teamed up with Vieli to prepare an Oktoberfest banquet for their students.

The banquet featured authentic German cuisine with beer and wine.

Sydow teaches a variety of writing, literature, pop culture and humanities classes at PSC as well as his unique classes of fly fishing and beer brewing and wine making.