Pecans + Talented Students = SPC at 2018 Pecan Jubilee Festival

November 13, 2018

Public Information Officer


All are welcome to join St. Philip's College hospitality students during the tasty day of music, fun, streaming and food in Floresville that is the 2018 Pecan Jubilee Dessert Bake-Off Contest, a festival hosted about 15 miles southwest of Sutherland Springs by the San Antonio River Authority this weekend.

With all baking contest entries in by the Nov. 9 deadline, St. Philip's College chef instructor Chef Cindy De La Fuente has confirmed today the student-led desert judging and pecan food demo team for the fourth edition of this event on Nov. 17 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. in John William Helton Nature Park in Floresville

Surrounded by some of the nation’s hugest pecan trees, several baking and pastry students under Chef De La Fuente's leadership traditionally provide sensational cooking demonstrations using pecans in candy making in addition to judging or other neutral competitor support for the festival's Pecan Dessert Bake-Off, a baking competition for 50 local chefs judged by local elected officials and community members that will also take place on Saturday. 

"With an all-new team of bakery and pastry chefs, we are gearing up for a bigger and better Pecan Jubilee on Saturday," Chef De La Fuente said. Student chefs making their Pecan Jubilee debut in 2018 are Dennis Deitz, Anthony Sadler, Monica Boyd, Alicia Goolsbay and Diana Presley, said De La Fuente.

For the chef's pastry and baking program students, the Pecan Jubilee is their version of the Cowboy Breakfast headlined by culinary arts and hospitality professions students who have given back to the community every February for many years. Texas is persistently the second-top pecan producing state in the U.S. with an average crop of 60 million pounds. The pecan has been the Texas State Tree since 1919, the year after World War 1 ended. The college's students are synonymous with the global pecan culture, regularly promoting gastronomically legendary and iconic Texas pecan recipes during annual international hospitality exchange programs in Paris. By demand over recent years, treats St. Philip’s College students have deployed pecans to Paris to help Parisians get the flavor profiles of the region’s specialty food classics.

Usually St. Philip's College students help a community when they participate in the Pecan Festival. In 2017, the students healed a community, doing what they usually do, but in the context of recovery from the Sutherland Springs tragedy experience. The 2017 team helped Wilson County to continue to heal as it observed the anniversary month of the Nov. 5 church shooting in Sutherland Springs with such events as the family-friendly event at the park, and the 2018 team of Deitz, Sadler, Boyd, Goolsbay and Presley from St. Philip’s college will continue the tradition. Big news the students will have to share is San Antonio’s $4 billion tourism community is enjoying the St. Philip’s College Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center of Excellence construction project underway since October at the multicampus college’s 1801 Martin Luther King Drive location. The new 61,200 square foot, four-story facility will include five teaching kitchen labs and two full commercial kitchen labs around which the rest of the facility is organized, and of course, pecans will be prepared there by the next generation that includes Wilson County residents as students.

While competing to music by Billy Morgan and the Barn Burners and Small Town Habit, the 2017 winner of the festival bake-off grand prize received a bake set ($300 value) courtesy of Walmart Floresville, with another bake set up for the winning on Nov. 17, according to contest rules published online at the event web page. The archival competition registration form with St. Philip's College mentioned as an education partner with the authority and Walmart in their corporate roles is still available to reminisce over online at While Bret Mullins Band, Marcy Grace and Billy Morgan and the Barn Burners offer music to simultaneously compete and unwind to for 2018, find out about how festivalgoers can have a live college football stream with their pecans this year at the authority’s event web page.

According to a 2017 news report on the festival and the college’s role, “…it was the pecan, a Texas icon at least since it was named the official state tree in 1919, that took center stage. Entries in the bake-off have risen from about 20 two years ago to 50 on Saturday. St. Philip’s College instructor Chef Cindy De La Fuente gave demonstrations on making pralines and pumpkin pecan fudge… Aside from being the dominant nut in Texas, typically second only to Georgia in pecan production by state, pecans rate well against other nuts for baking, as well as in salads, hot or salty snacks or as a crust for fish and other entrees, De La Fuente said… “They have a nice tender, creamier, warm flavor that you can’t get from walnuts or almonds,” she said.”

For details on the event, read the archival 2017 report Pecan festival in Floresville highlights nature park, food, fun by San Antonio Express-News reporter Scott Huddleston and photographer Kin Man Hui. See St. Philip's College students at images 8 and 10 in the report by Huddleston and Hui.

To join the conversation on St. Philip’s College participation in the festival, contact Chef Cindy De La Fuente at 210-486-2399, Find 2018 event details at the authority web page.

About the St. Philip’s College Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts department: Recognized as exemplary by both the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the American Culinary Federation, the Tourism, Hospitality, and Culinary Arts programs at St. Philip’s College leverage a 110-year legacy of preparing practicing and aspiring hospitality industry professionals for success and service in their industry by offering degree and certificate candidates academic programs in five primary occupational areas along with one full-time faculty member and multiple adjunct faculty members to work directly with students in each area. All five programs involve students in classroom-based learning experiences, as well as lab experience, and work-based learning during a practicum course. The culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and restaurant management programs have been acknowledged with an Exemplary rating from the American Culinary Federation Foundation Accrediting Commission. St. Philip’s College is one of only 25 schools worldwide with the commission’s Exemplary status and is rated Exemplary by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The 110-year-old St. Philip’s College hospitality professions programs typically graduate 100 students annually, and expansion is expected this decade when the college opens its $30 million Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Center of Excellence building funded as part of a $450 million bond package approved by voters in May 2017 to both construct new Alamo College District facilities and renovate existing college buildings. Students graduating from the management programs: Hotel Management, Hospitality Management, and Restaurant Management are eligible to receive Certified Hospitality Graduate (CHG) certifications from the Accrediting Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration™. Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts students are eligible for Certification by the American Culinary Federation. The CHG is an industry-recognized professional certification that has been granted to only three hospitality programs in the state of Texas and only one program in the college’s service area. Since 2014, the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management San Antonio has offered the college’s alumni opportunities to transfer to one of the world’s top three hospitality programs. For information on registration in the college’s program, contact the department staff at (210) 486-2315 or book reservations with the staff of the college’s student-operated restaurant by calling (210) 486-2328. (Archival images courtesy SARA on Facebook)