Ivy Tech culinary arts students dine at a restaurant in Italy. Courtesy photo


From May 14 to 23, nine Ivy Tech culinary arts students had the opportunity to travel to Italy, visiting Milan, Turin, Bologna, Parma, and Florence. They were accompanied by Chef Tad DeLay, assistant professor of culinary arts. 

“It was my idea to round the students out, to get them out of their comfort zones and experience other languages, cultures, and, especially, foods,” says DeLay. “I wanted them to collect some life experiences, like trying to get across to non-English speakers what they needed or wanted. I told them to learn a little Italian beforehand and to keep a journal and take a ton of pictures.”

Food was the centerpiece of the trip. In Italy, that means pasta. 

In Bologna, the group was encouraged to watch and ask questions about the preparations of several pasta varieties: pappardelle (wide, flat pasta served with meat, cheeses, mushrooms, or vegetables), capellini (thin pasta in strands, like spaghetti, often served with light sauces or seafood), and tortelloni and tortellini (both round pastas—tortelloni is larger—stuffed with cheese and meat, a leafy vegetable or mushrooms, and typically served in a beef or chicken broth). 

“In America, we complicate Italian food,” says student K.J. Fahr. “There, they let the simple, fresh ingredients speak for themselves. The traditional preparations are brighter and fresher.”

In the province of Cuneo, in northwestern Italy, the group visited an organic farm and restaurant where they were served a 10-course lunch that included salami, prosciutto, roasted pork, gnocchi, and 11 cheeses. In Parma, the students saw Parmesan cheese being processed in a factory with vats that each hold the milk of 40 cows. 

DeLay says that second-year culinary arts students prepare some of the same world-cuisine dishes they saw prepared in Italy. Culinary arts at Ivy Tech is offered as a technical certificate and associate of applied science degree through the hospitality administration program. 

“These trips are part of Ivy Tech’s effort to establish a world-class culinary arts program,” DeLay says.

Funding for the trip was provided by Ivy Tech and Circle of Ivy, the Ivy Tech women’s philanthropic group. Each student contributed $400. Last year, a group went to France. Next year’s trip will be to Spain and Morocco.

For more information, visit ivytech.edu/hospitality-admin/.