food for thought
Tourism, food, and education intersect at Centennial College
(Photo above: Centennial students sample international cheeses at Toronto’s iconic St. Lawrence Market.)
There’s something happening at Ontario’s Centennial College that isn’t happening anywhere else in the country. Last September, Centennial launched a groundbreaking post-grad certificate program in Food Tourism. Students of the program, learn about the exciting links between tourism marketing and experiences involving gastronomy, wine, culture, food traditions, and community. “Food and beverage is one of the fastest-growing segments of the tourism industry and is now a primary motivator of where people choose to travel,” said Michael Bertuzzi, Professor and Coordinator, Tourism Studies, The School of Hospitality, Tourism & Culinary Arts, Centennial College. “We’ve put a program together that uniquely equips our students to bridge these two worlds that have become so interrelated.”
The program’s 14 courses – like Social Media of Food, Wine, Beer and Spirits, and Food Freelance Entrepreneurship – are taught one at a time, during two intensive weekends of 21 hours each, Saturday through Monday. This way, students are fully immersed in one concept at a time. All classes are experiential, hands-on, and 100% homework free. Field trips vary and might include a tour of Toronto’s Labatt’s plant, a visit to The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan, Ontario, or a country romp to a salmon run festival. Notable professors include celebrity chefs like Rodney Bowers and Zain Caplansky.
In its inaugural year, the program attracted 30 participants, many from a culinary background who entered the program looking to learn how to enhance the value of travel through food or how to attract global tourists through food. Next year, the Food Tourism post-grad will expand to two intake sessions, one in September 2019 and another in January 2020, at which time Centennial expects more local industry folk from culinary, travel, and event industries to enrol. Graduates from Food Tourism will be prepared to pursue careers in destination marketing, restaurants, hotels and resorts, community and tourist attractions, or work as tour guides and food writers.
Centennial has the most ambitious culinary institute in the country today. Six years ago, they built a new home for the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts at the Progress Campus in Scarborough with a student-run restaurant, multi-use event space, and Feast On certification. “It’s not unusual for our students to host a meatball competition one week, a butter chicken competition the next, and fly off to Japan or Morocco the week after that,” said Susan Kim, Professor, Food Studies, Centennial College. “All of our programs are ambitiously global.”