Skip to main content

Former student shares Japanese-inspired dish

By Sheridan Lane, director, culinary program and operations, Lincoln Land Community college 

It is back to school, back to sports, back to learning, and it is back in a big way. The first day photos are posted, the school year is off and running, and, for many, maybe the education jitters are working their way out. 

At Lincoln Land Community College, we cannot be more excited about the number of students attending classes in our programs here at the newly branded Workforce Institute. We have welcomed a large group of soon-to-be employees that will be out in your community working hard to serve, fix, haul, pave, build, create and lead industries all over central Illinois and beyond.  

As an educator for over 15 years, nothing is more exciting than back to school with the exception of one thing – when former students come back to campus to visit or holler back to say they are doing awesome! 

Recently, a student of the LLCC Culinary Arts program stopped by to share his experience and his success. Having started right here in our kitchens at the Workforce Institute, Brian Fisher came by to take a few pictures in our labs holding his diploma.  Brian not only graduated from LLCC, but also went on to finish his bachelor’s at the Business and Hotel Management School in Lucerne, Switzerland where he did an internship at the five-star, Asian inspired, deluxe hotel called The Chedi in the small village of Andermatt. He spent his time honing Japanese cooking techniques and learning the intricacies and attention to detail presented in this luxury hotel up in the Swiss Alps.  

Brian shares with us a quick and easy Japanese-inspired dish that can be ready in minutes for a unique weeknight meal. Visit your local Asian market ahead of time or shop on Amazon to find the unique ingredients that will make this dish your own five-star dinner.  

Finally, I encourage you to take moment this fall to visit your alma matter or to reach out to those folks who have influenced your own trajectory. Whether they are small steps forward or big celebrations, success stories from former students are absolutely like rocket fuel for us educators, so share your story today!

Chef Brian’s Busy Black Pepper Beef        

(Can substitute chicken or tofu for the beef if desired.)

  • 2lbs beef tenderloin (cut into 1 inch cubes)
  • 2 small bell peppers (one green, one red, both cut into ½ inch dice)
  • 1 medium white onion (also cut into ½ inch squares)
  • 1 tbsp Kacap Manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine (aged Chinese rice wine)
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp potato or corn starch (you pick!)
  • 3 garlic cloves (rough chopped)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 to 4 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 ½ cups jasmine rice, steamed  


First, crush the black peppercorns in one of a variety of methods: in a spice grinder, in a mortar and pestle, in a bag with a rolling pin or meat mallet, or purchase coarsely ground black pepper!

In a bowl, whisk together black pepper, oyster sauce, Kacap Manis, dark soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and sesame oil. 

Next, add in the beef tenderloin cubes and mix in the marinade to coat evenly, set aside. Meanwhile, cut vegetables, and heat your wok (or large non-stick frying pan if you don’t own a wok) on medium heat. Once hot, add the beef pieces carefully while reserving the marinade to add later. Add the oil and stir often. After browning on all sides, add the garlic and continue stirring often for about 1-2 minutes. Then add the onions and bell peppers.  

Once again, WORK THAT WOK MAGIC! While stirring frequently, watch for the onions to become slightly translucent, and then add the rest of the marinade. Don’t overcook the vegetables as they should be still slightly crunchy. After another minute of stirring often, the black pepper beef (chicken or tofu) should be ready to plate on a bed of steamed jasmine rice. Garnish with French’s fried onion strips if you like and serve.

Lincoln Land Community College offers credit programs in Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, Hospitality Supervisor, Hospitality Professional, Culinary Manager, First Cook, Baking/Pastry and Value-Added Local Food, and non-credit cooking and food classes through our Community Education Culinary Institute. For more information, visit our website at