Food, Wine, and (Agri)culture Trips to California
Jerry Fischetti '78, CCM, CHE
Traveling through Northern California exposes students to be up-front and close to many of the concepts and issues facing today’s foodservice professional. Students get to see cattle grazing on golden ranches in Sonoma County. There are opportunities to taste freshly harvested seaweed from Mendocino. Legal participants taste and evaluate more wines than one can count. Students learn about healthy soil and have the opportunity to prepare compost and feel the texture of a superior growing medium.
It is a time to integrate theory with reality. Students have an opportunity to meet industry leaders, quiz them on their convictions and challenges, and come away with a new perspective. It is also a time for the students to share and exchange with each other, to develop their interpersonal skills and to grow by working through the challenges presented by daily travel and meeting demanding schedules.
And finally, it is a chance for the students to develop their critical thinking skills through vigorous writing assignments and project work that, hopefully, keeps them curious and involved throughout their lives.
My name is Gustavo Arias, and I am a 22 year-old student here at the CIA in Hyde Park, NY. I enrolled for an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts at The Culinary Institute of America in 2006, and right now I am wrapping up the college’s Bachelors Degree program.
I came to the CIA from Savannah, Georgia but I am originally from Puerto Rico. I knew at an early age that I was interested in working with food, and that one day I would like to become a chef, among other things.
This past summer I had the opportunity to spend four weeks traveling across Northern California with 50 of my classmates as part of wines course in the Bachelors Degree program. The trip was designed to help us learn more not only about food and wine – but also where the ingredients that we use as chefs actually come from.
Sure, we sampled a tremendous variety of foods and wines, but we also had a chance to get our hands dirty and take our education to a whole new level. We visited wineries, dairies, and farms - and even more surprising places like the coast line of Mendocino, CA where we harvested sea vegetables.
The trip really opened my eyes. I have a stronger connection to food and where it comes from and it just wouldn't feel right if I didn't share my experience. So, I invite you to join me on this Edible Adventure to California!