Where are they now? Kim McLendon GNA ’95


Rustic Kitchen cooking show

Taylor Zabrenski, Student Writer

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” -Walt Disney

Having a dream is important, but making your dream a reality is life changing. No matter how large or small, all dreams can be achieved when one is determined, courageous and willing to pay the price of what it will take to make your dream come true. Despite the drawbacks, pursuing your dream is the ultimate feeling of self-accomplishment.

Kim McLendon, a 1995 graduate of Greater Nanticoke Area High School, had the dream of one day hosting her own cooking show. This dream, however, was said to be mere fantasy when she would share her goal with others. With the support of her family however, McLendon proved otherwise.

Currently, McLendon hosts a cooking show at Rustic Kitchen which is located within the Mohegan Sun Casino in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The show is called In The Kitchen. Shows take place every Friday and Saturday evening with a cost varying between $60 and $70. Each meal prepared during the show consists of an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Tickets must be purchased in advance, they are non-refundable, and patrons must be at least 21 years of age.

Cooking show photo

Cooking show feature entree
Cooking show feature entree

This is our production area for our show.

Accompanying the cooking show, Kim furthered her interest in culinary arts by teaching at Luzerne County Community College, a position she still holds. The courses taught by McLendon include: Culinary Math for Hospitality, Introduction to Pastry Arts, The Art of Fruits and Vegetables, and Soups and Sauces.

She also teaches a hospitality program to ready students for the national Servsafe exam, a children’s Culinary Camp, and a personal enrichment culinary class open to the general public, all at L.C.C.C. The camp is a two week program for students ages 9 to 11 and 12 to 14. These classes are typically instructional courses teaching students how to prepare pizza, pasta, Polish, Italian or any type of ethnic food, and also a basic soups and sauces.


The GNA Insider sat down with Kim McLendon to ask her a few questions: 

What year did you graduate from GNA?

I graduated in 1995. 

Who was your favorite teacher?

I had several favorite teachers, but I would have to say Mr Lukashefski.  He was my psychology teacher. 

What did you like most about attending GNA?

I enjoyed my time at GNA, but I honestly have to say I enjoyed the friendships that I made and the education I received. It was a wonderful school. 

 Did you participate in any extracurricular activities while you attended GNA?

I was in band front, track and played field hockey. 

 Do you have any advice for current GNA students?

My advice would be to focus on your studies and take as many college prep classes as you can. Focus on being kind to others, responsible, and being a friend to all. Truly be yourself. Don’t allow your peers to lead you down the wrong path. 

Where did you go to college and what did you study?

I attended Luzerne County Community College. I have a A.A.S in Education and Culinary Arts.

What or who inspired you to become a chef?

My family owns a restaurant called Rossi’s Italian Restaurant in Archabald, PA. 

I’ve always loved to cook as a kid, but thought that I wanted to be working in the criminal justice system. Most of my family members are State Troopers or work in the Criminal Justice system. 

I took a few Criminal Justice courses at L.C.C.C. and realized that wasn’t the field for me. I decided to follow my heart and pursue my passion. I’ve always wanted a cooking show since I was a child, but almost gave up on the dream. When I would share that goal in life, most people would tell me that’s a fantasy, not a career. I’m extremely fortunate that I have two parents and a wonderful husband who supported that dream and allowed me to create it. 

What courses do/did you teach at L.C.C.C.?

I teach Culinary Math for Hospitality, Introduction to Pastry Arts, The Art of Fruits and Vegetables , and Soups and Sauces.

I also teach a hospitality program and ready students for the national Servsafe exam and a children’s Culinary Camp at Luzerne County Community College in the summertime. It’s a two week program for students of the ages of 9 to 11 and 12 to 14; I also teach a personal enrichment culinary class to the general public at L.C.C.C. on Saturdays from 9 to 12.

 What do you feel is your most prestigious achievement as a chef?

I’m so appreciative of having my own cooking show, but I feel that one of my most prestigious achievements is being a mom and being able to teach others how to cook.

A favorite parable of mine is: 

“Give a man a fish, you have fed him for a day teach a man to fish you have fed him for a lifetime.”

Also, when I was Mrs. Pennsylvania International 2012, I was able to use that entire year to teach children how to cook and feed families. That was one of my prestigious achievements as a chef as well, and also being able to teach my own children how to cook. They now help me in the summer and also at church to teach other children how to cook as well. 

I am also extremely proud that our daughter, Madison, was featured in the Citizens Voice amazing kids section for her passion to teach other children how to cook. 

What do you like most about hosting the cooking show at Rustic Kitchen?

I enjoy teaching others how to cook, and I also love meeting so many new people who come into our studio each week.


Make your reservation today and attend Kim’s cooking show at: