We were delighted to recently receive an email from Larry Crawford, theAcademic Supervisor of the Trumbull Career & Technical Center. The Center is a vocational school for juniors and seniors in Trumbull County. One of our programs is Restaurant Services, which trains students to become chefs and bakers upon their graduation from high school.

I met Larry right after 9/11 when he was the principal at Lordstown School. We had corresponded about Michael Yoest, a student who had spoke about how important it was to be proud to be an American. We recognized Michael with an Eli’s Cheesecake as a thank you for his patriotism.

In his current role at TCTC, Larry shared with me the story of Shane Benner, a student in Restaurant Services. Shane is becoming a great baker and is best at creating cheesecakes. He bakes it once per week and serves it to the patrons of the student restaurant and recently was honored to have his dessert featured at a large banquet.

We were delighted to recognize Shane and his passion for baking and education by sending him an Eli’s Cheesecake. We were honored that Larry shared the story with the local newspaper which gave Shane the most well deserved recognition.

Shane, congratulations on your achievements and creating a great cheesecake. Also Larry congratulations on celebrating 37
years in education and working to see that your dedicated students arerecognized for exemplary work.

“A teaspoon of sugar makes the cheesecake go down”

 Eli’s Cheesecake of Chicago Recognizes TCTC Student


Recently, the students in Restaurant Services at the Trumbull Career & Technical Center prepared lunch for a large group of visitors to the building. Their topic of conversation quickly turned from the business at hand to the taste and texture of the raspberry cheesecake that was served for dessert. The consensus opinion was, “This is the best we have ever tasted.”

The creator of the cheesecake was Shane Benner, a senior from Hubbard High School enrolled in the Restaurant Services program at the TCTC. He said one of the secrets to making cheesecake is to add just the right amount of sugar to the cream cheese. He uses
3/4th of a cup to make a full size cheesecake. He places raspberries on the bottom of the cake and pours a puree for the topping. One of the guests commented, “If St. Peter promised to serve this in heaven, I would never sin again.”

Benner said that all of the members of his family were encouraged to try their luck in the kitchen. “Cooking was something that everyone was interested in doing at my house.” He attended the TCTC to improve his skills in Culinary Arts. Next year, he will
attend Sullivan University in Kentucky. He will take an 18month course for certification as a licensed professional cook. He plans to become a chef in an upscale restaurant, but eventually, his goal is to own his own restaurant.

Brigitte Gillies, Restaurant Services Instructor, said, “Shane is my go to guy in the program. He is a perfectionist in the kitchen. Every task is completed to the fullest extent possible, but he also uses good judgment. This is a quality you cannot teach.”

When you do good things, the word gets around, but in this case, it traveled more than 400 miles. Marc Schulman, the President of Eli’s Cheesecake in Chicago, heard about Shane’s expertise with the dessert that is the specialty of his restaurant. He was also impressed to know that Shane has excellent interpersonal skills. When Shane passes someone in the hallway, he says hello. When volunteers are needed for a service project, he signs up. A package with Shane’s name on it has arrived at the TCTC containing a refrigerated cheesecake courtesy of Eli’s.In the person of Shane Benner, the TCTC gets two for the price of one; a good cook and a gentleman.

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