SPC's A-Plus French Business Trip

August 31, 2018

Public Information Officer

EIGHT GLOBALLY-MINDED FIRST-YEAR ST. PHILIP'S COLLEGE STUDENTS ENHANCE THE HUB OF FRANCE’S PREMIERE FOODIE EVENT NEXT MONTH BY TEACHING THE ART OF TEX-MEX DURING GASTRONOMY WEEK 2018

St. Philip’s College shares its Texas hospitality with the French foodies to give them a nibble of what the college is doing as a hub of education with influences that include Texas’ unique Afro-, Tribal-, Asian-, Latin- and Anglo-American food business culture

Most Americans don’t travel abroad to observe the nation’s Hispanic Heritage Month, but for eight globally-minded students at St. Philip’s College, travel abroad during Hispanic Heritage Month makes A-plus business sense. These unique students are celebrating America’s Hispanic Heritage Month on a business trip where they will enhance the hub of France’s premiere foodie event with classes they will lead on the art and industry of Tex-Mex cuisine.

The classes are part of the college’s noted international exchange program with partner institution Lycee Guillaume Tirel culinary school in Paris. In the first weeks of their first year as students at the St. Philip’s College Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Department, culinary arts students Rachel Danae Portzline, Deborah Weiss, Maria Carlin, Jose Angel Picon, Jennifer Velasco, Matthew Ode Smith, Jr., Rebecca Diann Anthony and Victoria Aurora Lozada Romero are all about the serious business of representing the best of American culinary culture during Gastronomy Week in the gastronomy capital of France with college faculty member Chef Patrick Costello.

“This year’s members are all first-time attendees, and all culinary program students from St. Philip’s College,” said Costello. “They are likely to meet a few of the students from Paris who have studied intensively with us at our campus in San Antonio with our booming culinary industry during the CultureFest and Fiesta season that occurs here each April.”

A typical Fêstival of Gastronomy features 11,000 events, nearly two million visitors, 61,000 banquets and picnics, and 350 initiatives abroad. Because the St. Philip’s College-to-Paris program coincides with the start of the college’s demanding class year, only the most academically strong students can consider the opportunity, Costello said. The first-time-in-Paris culinary arts team of Portzline, Weiss, Carlin, Picon, Velasco, Smith, Anthony and Romero are carrying on the tradition, and taking care of business in France.

St. Philip’s College shares its Texas hospitality with the French foodies to give them an appealing nibble of what the college is doing as a hub of education with influences that include Texas’ unique Afro-, Tribal-, Asian-, Latin- and Anglo-American food culture, Costello explained. The Gastronomy Week—CultureFest/Fiesta exchange program comes down to a sharing of the loves for food and commerce. By demand over the years, treats the St. Philip’s College team has deployed to Paris to help Parisians get the flavor profiles of the region’s food have included pecans, baby back ribs and a small gordita. This year, the team consists of students who have yet to actually lead and learn during the college’s Salsa Contest, Soul Food Fest, CultureFest and Cowboy Breakfast lineup of hospitality-related operations run or partnered in by its students, let alone the epic season of foodie delights served through their student-run Artemisia’s restaurant.

Chef Patrick Costello is the second faculty member to lead the college’s longest-running educational expedition for students in both San Antonio and France. He led eight SPC students on the journey in 2017, and the college hosted 15 French culinary students during the college’s CultureFest Fiesta event in April of 2017 for classes with Costello in fish preparation and in Texas Barbecue with award-winning alumni guest Chef Johnny Stewart. Those visitors learned the secrets of Stewart’s large barbecue rig when it was parked on campus and fired up as a smoking, flavory training aid fit for teaching and learning the secrets of modern commercially produced American barbecue from a master of the form. Six St. Philip’s College students did very well in similar circumstances when they served diplomacy abroad as participants in the college's second transatlantic culinary exchange program in September of 2016 with the Lycee Guillaume Tirel culinary school in Paris with college faculty member Chef Frank Salinas. The St. Philip’s College students and Chef Salinas learned and represented America by sharing foods from Texas with the people of Paris in celebration of the Lycee’s tenth anniversary and France's 2016 Gastronomy Week observances. While Costello and the students are also likely to share news on expansion expected this decade when the college opens its $30 million Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center of Excellence building, they are also likely to share that Chef Costello is a rising business resource as the newly appointed vice chair of the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation Board of Trustees who will advance to chairman–elect status with the foundation in 2019. That organization provides professional education advocacy for 12,000-members of Texas’ foodservice industry.

The delegations from the college usually express themselves in a few words and images on social media, and true to form, an Instagram page with one or two images were all the business-related communication to emerge in 2017. The project runs from Sept. 16-26, so if anyone in San Antonio is planning to visit France this month, they might be able to get a tiny nibble of the best Texas offers, along with the rest of the world, said Costello. By global culinary education standards, the exchange is a premier partnership, Costello explained. The four-year-old exchange originally celebrated the international links the school in Paris has forged, and foreign delegations of students came from Germany, Canada, China, Cuba, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Portugal and San Antonio to support a program that stressed the importance of international trade. To that end, alumni from the college’s first class in Paris joined their foreign counterparts by offering typical and traditional commercially successful specialties from their regions.  

For details on the exchange program before Chef Costello departs for France, reach him at 210-486-2388, pcostello1@alamo.edu.

CAPTIONS (Images courtesy Lycee Guillaume Tirel on Instagram):

01-Students from Serbia, Mexico, Slovènia and Spain attend a class at Lycee Guillaume Tirel in Paris to learn Tex-Mex cuisine from five students and one faculty member from St. Philip’s College. The students and faculty members represent American culinary culture during the 2017 version of Gastronomy Week, the country of France’s premiere foodie event, as guests of partner college Lycee Guillaume Tirel. Standing during the September, 2017 lecture (from left) were college faculty member Chef Patrick Costello and students Edward Kelly, Ryan Harper, Yolanda Guerra and Sabrina Perez.

02-An archival image of St. Philip’s College exchange students (from left) Ryan Harper, Nancy Anne Emma, Allison Ansley, Edward Kelly, Yolanda Guerra and Sabrina Perez (far right) in Paris with college faculty member Chef Patrick Costello (second from right) to represent American culinary culture during Gastronomy Week, the country of France’s premiere foodie event Sept. 17-29, as guests of partner college Lycee Guillaume Tirel is a reminder that students from the college’s fourth class in this project return to France in September.

About the St. Philip’s College Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts department: The St. Philip’s College Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts department provides five primary programs along with one full-time faculty member and multiple adjunct faculty members to work directly with students in each area. All five programs involve students in classroom-based learning experiences, as well as lab experience, and work-based learning during a practicum course. The culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and restaurant management programs have been acknowledged with an Exemplary rating from the American Culinary Federation Foundation Accrediting Commission. St. Philip’s College is one of only 25 schools worldwide with the commission’s Exemplary status and is rated Exemplary by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The 110-year-old St. Philip’s College hospitality professions programs typically graduate 100 students annually, and expansion is expected this decade when the college opens its $30 million Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center of Excellence building funded as part of a $450 million bond package approved by voters in May 2017 to both construct new Alamo College District facilities and renovate existing college buildings. Students graduating from the management programs: Hotel Management, Hospitality Management, and Restaurant Management are eligible to receive Certified Hospitality Graduate (CHG) certifications from the Accrediting Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration™. Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts students are eligible for Certification by the American Culinary Federation. The CHG is an industry-recognized professional certification that has been granted to only three hospitality programs in the state of Texas and only one program in the college’s service area. For information on registration in the college’s program, contact the department staff at 210-486-2315 or book reservations with the staff of the college’s student-operated restaurant by calling 210-486-2328.