Flint, MI—Mott Community College (MCC) will be sending its first group of culinary arts students to study abroad next month. 

Gabriel Hinojosa is one among 10 culinary arts students at MCC who were selected for the trip, which includes the chance to study at the Culinary Institute of Barcelona. It’ll be Hinojosa’s first time traveling overseas, and he said he looks forward to learning about gastronomy, working with chocolate and getting a deeper understanding of cooking seafood. 

“I’m definitely nervous, just because I’m traveling out of a new country, but definitely confident in knowing that this is happening for a reason,” Hinojosa said. 

During their time at the Culinary Institute of Barcelona, the students will take classes in “modern cuisine techniques” and Mediterranean cuisine, and take part in a farm-to-table culinary program, according to an MCC press release. Sightseeing and dining at Michelin star restaurants, eatries deemed to offer “outstanding cooking” by the Michelin Guide, are part of the itinerary, too. 

Asija Jones, another of the college’s selected culinary arts students, is eager to not only learn new culinary skills but also to experience the architecture and language in Barcelona.

“I’m a person who’s very into culture, like if you can teach me anything, I love that because it just makes you feel like we’re connected to those people,” said Jones, who has taken Spanish at MCC. “Even if you don’t know very much, it’s just the little by little, as you learn a little bit more, you’re like, ‘Okay, that’s great. I like that.'”

But the trip to Barcelona isn’t only a learning experience for students.

Mark Handy, culinary arts instructor at MCC, said he looks forward to taking what he learns at the Culinary Institute of Barcelona back to his international cuisine classes.

“I hope to bring back some new skill sets that I can share with our students in the future,” Handy said.  

Previously, he noted, they had planned for a culinary arts trip to Italy in 2020, but it was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moving ahead, according to the MCC press release, the college will start programming international opportunities in culinary arts annually.

Jesse Lawson is in his final year as an MCC culinary arts student. He aspires to one day to open a restaurant and build his own brand. He said he hopes that his experience in Barcelona will help further those goals. 

“The lessons and the information that I’m going to receive from going over there are going to be priceless … This should be really fundamental to where I’m trying to take my career to,” Lawson said.

The selected MCC culinary cohort will be in Barcelona from March 8 to March 18.

Nicholas is Flint Beat’s public health and education reporter. He joins the team as he graduates from Santa Clara University, Calif. Nicholas has previously reported on dementia and brain health, as...

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