One of the World’s Top Pastry Chefs Stops by the CIA
There was a surprise waiting for some CIA baking and pastry arts degree majors on March 7— their first day in a new bakeshop. In addition to meeting their new professors, students in the Specialty Breads and Individual & Production Pastries classes were treated to demonstrations by Oriol Balaguer and other top pastry chefs from Barcelona, Spain. Chef Balaguer has been recognized in Spain as the country’s Best Pastry Chef.
“It was very cool to see someone from a different country show us what they know,” said sophomore baking and pastry major Alexis Pauzer of Shamokin, PA. “Even though there was a bit of a language barrier, this was still something special. We were learning about baking and pastry from a new culture.”
For the past several years, the CIA has participated in an educational exchange with Barcelona’s esteemed pastry school, Escola Pastisseria Gremi de Barcelona (EPGB). Joining Chef Balaguer on the visit to the CIA’s New York campus were the school’s baking and pastry dean, Olivier Fernandez; faculty member, Jose Romero; and the president of Barcelona’s Guild of Chefs, Pera Masramon. In addition to holding demos and meeting with students, the Catalonian chefs spent a full day with the CIA’s baking and pastry faculty, exchanging ideas and recipes. Once a year, several CIA faculty members travel to Barcelona to share knowledge and teaching methods with EPGB faculty.
“Through this collegial professional relationship, we share our knowledge with chefs from one of the top baking and pastry schools in Europe and they share with us,” says Chef Thomas Vaccaro, CIA dean of baking and pastry arts. “I encourage our students to come away from these demos knowing more about the art of baking and pastry. These demonstrations give CIA students the ability to apply this new diverse knowledge in their professional lives.”
This is the kind of experience that is only available at the CIA, a true “university of food.”