Student Exchange program with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador
Vanessa Chow, a graduate from our June 2009 Baking and Pastry Arts program has just returned from a 3 week student exchange program in Quito, Ecuador, the first city in the world to be named a World Heritage Site. Nestled deep within the valley of towering Andean volcanoes, at 2,800m (around 10,000 feet) above sea level, Quito’s spectacular old town extends over 320 hectares – the largest historic centre in the Americas. Quito’s historical heritage is only equaled by the energy and vibrancy of its thousands of residents.
You name it, and it's available in Quito. Restaurants range from the basic places offering chicken and rice for $1.50 to international food with very expensive prices. The country benefits from all worlds, with a variety of dishes inspired by both coastal and Andean produce. Seafood and fish is fresh and delicious, while meats, particularly pork, are excellent. These combine with typical ingredients such as potatoes, plantains and all sorts of tropical and Andean fruits.
What was your experience like from arrival to the different classes that you experienced?
Everyone was very kind and welcoming, I immediately felt like I belonged there. The weather there is amazing, it was 20+°C everyday and it was only January! There are many different ethnic cuisines to choose and learn from - Chinese, East Indian, Mexican, and Ecuadorian etc.
What did you learn or take from this experience?
I learnt that no matter where in the world you are, as a Chef you can fit in immediately. Indeed there is a language barrier but as long as you know the basics of cooking you can work along side each other easily without any hesitation.
What were some of your favorite experiences?
My favorite part was all the great food! As well, I am amazed at how many talented Chefs there are at USFQ. My host was very nice to me and took me around Quito on our spare time. I am lucky to have seen and done so much in Quito within the three weeks I was there.
Can you include some sort of "quote" on the overall experience also?
This was a once in a lifetime opportunity! If you have the chance, you should do it! You’ll learn a lot from traveling and experiencing different cultures while learning new cooking skills besides you’ll gain many fond memories.
Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador http://www.usfq.edu.ec