The IV International Congress of Gastronomy Educators at SPC Project

September 14, 2018

Public Information Officer


To celebrate the first anniversary of its role as a contributor to the 300-year-old City of San Antonio’s 2017 cultural designation as an United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World City of Gastronomy, St. Philip's College announced this week that the college hosts the U.S.A.’s turn in an international economic development program for the world’s hospitality professionals and students that is led by hospitality professions schools in countries of the Western Hemisphere where gastronomy is an economic engine.

The Alamo Colleges District announced last week that the project also known as the IV International Congress of Gastronomy Educators is Oct. 19–21 with conference registration at the El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel at 110 Lexington Ave. and shuttles from that downtown hotel to multiple venues at St. Philip’s College at 1801 Martin Luther King Drive.

Cost is $285 for chef educators/professionals and $55 for students. E-registration is underway for the weekend program of globally-minded academic presentations and hands-on learning that has been merged with the college’s Flavor in San Antonio Symposium project where local chefs accompany 125 prospective chefs through what the culinary environment and experience is like under the sponsorship of the Johnny Hernandez Foundation’s KitchenCampus.Org.

The 2018 Gastronomic Meeting of the Americas program will be the first this organization has held in the United States and the second in North America, having previously been held in such locations as Colombia (2011), Brazil (2012), Mexico (2017)---and back to Brazil in 2019. As hosts of the 2018 event, college faculty and leaders attended to learn their responsibilities during the 2017 event at Cancun’s Universidad Tecnológica with 300 guests from Peru, Brazil, Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, France---many of whom are colleagues of the college.

Two of the 2018 program highlights in San Antonio involve local talent. The first is The Student Practicum for International and Local Students where local high school students from schools to be announced partake in the Flavor in San Antonio experience with Chefs Geronomo Lopez, Steve McQue and more on Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. in the labs of the college's Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Department. While most of those international students are expected to shake off jet lag and take in the Fiesta Texas experience the following day, educators will attend the seminar themed The Art of Texas BBQ by college alumnus, faculty member and award-winning local high school culinary teacher Chef Johnny Stewart Oct. 21 from noon-3 p.m., also at the college.

Organizers share that one reason this series of programs is important is because it does more than prepare future hospitality professionals and their institutions to serve the visions of consumers who expect regionally authentic experiences wherever they go in the world that serves them. It also validates indigenous descendent populations and their cuisines, further integrating them into their fair shares of the valuable economic engines, markets and industries of many prosperous, competitive countries.

Knowledge building on the internationalization of food, commerce and real estate is becoming a specialty of many college-level hospitality programs, with St. Philip's College specializing in regionalization, internationalization and globalization through its hospitality exchange programs in Colombia, Brazil and France, along with practicum programs for students in its San Antonio service area that is one of the nation’s 10 most populous areas.

Higher education's role in conveying regional gastronomic identities and concepts to students at the college who are already employed in the business is part of daily classroom activity that will be shared through hands-on activities for the visitors to the college in 2018.

The Riviera Maya tourism and resort district of Mexico that hosted the 2017 season meeting is synonymous with epic beaches, yoga retreats, preserved Mayan ruins and Afro-Mexican-Antillean cuisine. It's also the hub of the university that the students college alumnus and faculty member Chef Patrick Brown visited with on that business trip. Brown shared how the Afro-Colombian culinary studies exchange program he is developing helps to convey identities and concepts into recipes that chefs will translate to increased revenue for the business units that feature these culinary advantages. The college has already hosted Colombian students and faculty following Brown’s first foray into the Colombian culinary universe.

Brown elevated the interests of students in Cancun when he and others on the business trip shared that St. Philip’s College---one of the nation's largest Historically Black College and Universities member institutions---aligned its first two Western Hemisphere hospitality business professions exchange programs with the three countries in the Western Hemisphere with---among other treasures---the largest African descendent populations---Brazil, Colombia and America. Through the international partnership, visitors for the 2018 event will likely be brought up to date on education for the large economic engine that is the hospitality industry in San Antonio. The college was a contributor to the city’s 2017 UNESCO cultural designation, partnering to ensure the city obtained the world-class designation in October of 2017. As a result of the partnership, San Antonio is a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, elevating its global visibility as a leader among culinary destinations where culture and creativity are strategic factors for sustainable jobs and urban development. The St. Philip’s College hospitality programs typically graduate 100 students annually, and congress visitors will learn that expansion is expected later 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. This growth will allow the college to contribute to a 300-year-old city with a unique cultural designation and a promising future that includes excellent education, urban development, and visits. The city’s urban development will be unmissable for congress visitors from the moment they register, as the El Tropicano faces the construction site of a luxury high rise property on the Riverwalk.

For general event details, contact Dr. Renee Drabier, the Alamo Colleges District international programs coordinator, at 210-485-0174, For information on college elements of the project, contact Chef Will Thornton, chair of the college's Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts department, at 210-486-2313,

About the St. Philip’s College Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts department: The St. Philip’s College Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts department provides five primary programs 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. 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.