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New Study Abroad Program Offer Culinary Students an Experience of a Lifetime

Passport to Pastries study abroad.

Photo credit: Chef David Milburn

Starting in summer of 2020, a group of culinary students will study baking and pastries where many of the world’s best pastry chefs began – France – in the new Passport to Pastries program. Students will meet on the HCC campus three times a week for three weeks, and then travel.

Passport to Pastries is one of two new faculty-led study abroad programs, with the other, a trip to Ireland, for hospitality students. These programs represent the best of short-term study abroad, embedding field-specific, active learning opportunities to reach educational objectives.

In France, the students will participate in a five-day intensive French baking course at Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Pâtisserie with some of the country’s best pastry chefs in the town of Yssingeaux. They’ll visit sites like La Cité du Chocolate Valrhona and spend a day in medieval Le Puy-en-Velay to explore pastry and chocolate shops. The group will also visit Paris to tour patisseries, boulangeries, and chocolatiers.

“Students will learn in-depth the skills needed to produce French pastries,” said Chef David Milburn, assistant professor, baking and pastries at HCC. “While in France, students will receive a broad view of the pastry industry in a country that is known worldwide for being the birthplace of pastries, chocolates, and breads.”

By the end of the trip, students will be able to explain how history and culture has affected modern desserts.

“They’ll also be able to analyze, critique, and articulate an opinion toward finished pastry and baked goods,” Milburn said.

Students will receive a certificate from Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Pâtisserie once they complete the course.

Research and planning for the course took 18 months, and the culinary and hospitality programs have been working with staff at Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Pâtisserie for over a year.

“They are working with us to build a program that will give the students rich experiences taught in France by French pastry chefs,” he said.

He says the program is a great opportunity for pastry students to enhance their knowledge of the industry, compare and contrast the industry in France and the United States, and experience France as a pastry chef.

“The Passport to Pastries course will definitely better prepare them for the pastry industry,” Milburn said.

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