Tamara STELMACH (Pennsylvania, USA) - Alumna 2014

MCTI - Culinary Arts Instructor

I am pleased to say that this program is one I will never forget !

There were twelve different countries represented at this course. The dinners that were included were designed to be educational experiences. We had to find flavors, aromas and spices. We understood how important aroma was to everything we eat. The program was an eye-opener for me. It was an intensive and rigorous program that offers an array of diverse subjects and ideas all related to aspects of food production in France.

As a chef instructor I feel that, the HEG program provided me with so much invaluable information and, contacts that I am still utilizing today. I have brought the HEG program into my classroom with the use of Skype. The students in the October 2014 HEG class are educated giving professionals that my students had the great privilege to speak to. For example a food scientist in the Netherlands, a chef in Israel and soon they will be speaking to a nutritionist from France.

The course has supplied me with valuable subject material. The benefits to my students started immediately : for example, they learned that eating well requires more than just food, it is a social activity.

I explained to the students that the French believe that eating satisfies emotional as well as physical needs. Students discussed how and why the social component of the American style of eating is often absent.

Students discussed what is missing in the current Obama initiative to fight obesity. After observing and analyzing the difference in social norms, the students requested the opportunity to apply their new knowledge and to test some theories that they were curious about. Our next class project will have the students designing and implementing a survey to compare the socialization aspect of the French dining culture with the current eating habits of Americans.

Also, my students had the privilege of Skyping with an Israeli chef that I met in the Hautes Études du Goût course. He owns two restaurants in Israel, one of which is Kosher and the other a French Bistro. He did a live cooking demonstration for the students and introduced them to local spices and herbs from the area he lives in. He gave the students advice on what it takes to be a great chef and they were able to “meet” his customers in the restaurant. There was a Q & A session where the chef and his staff answered the student’s questions.

This is just the beginning of the many education benefits that my students and I will reap from this opportunity I was given. This November the students will Skype with the Dean from Le Cordon Bleu in Tokyo, as well as a food scientist I met from Turkey and a young restaurant owner entrepreneur from Texas. Additionally, I am planning lessons to bring my classes much of my new-found knowledge of food science that I learned from the world renowned scientist, Herve THĺS.

Institut des Hautes Etudes du Goût, de la Gastronomie et des des Arts de la Table

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