“Sizzle” Magazine Highlights IUP Culinary Study Abroad Experience

Posted on 1/25/2010 3:53:11 PM

In the current edition of Sizzle, the American Culinary Federation’s quarterly for students of cooking, the benefits of studying abroad are discussed in the article “Taste the World.”

Author Suzanne Hall talked to faculty members, students, and alumni from several U.S. and international cooking schools. Among those interviewed were IUP faculty member Gary Fitting and director and chef instructor Patrick Diethelm from DCT University Center in Vitznau, Switzerland, the host of IUP’s international study program in Switzerland.

Also interviewed were IUP Culinary Academy alumni Jeffrey Miller ’08 and Elizabeth Williams ’09. Miller and Williams participated in IUP’s Swiss study tour and the year-long international culinary program and externship in Switzerland at DCT.

Here is a sample from the article:

“Culinary school teaches the basics, but working with foreign chefs provides the passion. Swiss chefs, for instance, can talk about food all day and all night,” says Gary Fitting, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, chef instructor at the Academy of Culinary Arts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Patrick Diethelm, director and head chef instructor at the Hospitality Leadership and European Culinary Arts Center at DCT University Center in Vitznau, Switzerland, believes that students who study a cuisine at its origins benefit from a more complete understanding of the overall culture and “are better equipped to make their personal variations to the dish.”

For one week each March, about two dozen students from IUP take in the cuisine and culture of Switzerland. They attend classes at DCT, visit a producer of Switzerland’s famed Emmentaler cheese, and travel to other culinary and historic sites throughout the country. For program alumnus Jeff Miller, the brief introduction to Switzerland encouraged him to go back for a full year, studying at DCT and externing at a hotel in the area. He believes that the knowledge and experience he gained gave him a leg up when it came to landing his current position as a cook at Patrick O’Connell’s The Inn at Little Washington, Washington, Virginia. There, Miller put his Swiss training to work, starting as the overnight baker and then becoming the butcher.

Like Miller, Liz Williams also decided to take a year to study at DCT in Switzerland and complete her externship. She advises students planning to study abroad to talk with someone who has been there. That person could be a resource as the student packs and prepares for the time away from home. “Also you should try to learn as much of the language as you can. That’s especially important when you move from the classroom to the workplace,” Williams said, noting that she learned a lot during her sojourn in Switzerland. Among the most important was how to work with a wide variety of people and to have confidence in herself.