Foodservice leaders from seven countries enjoyed lunch at The Red Room, toured the culinary facilities and attended presentations at the Preston Ridge Campus last month.

Partnering with the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, the International Trade Association hosted a trip to the U.S. for industry leaders in Eastern Europe. Participants travelled to Dallas, Austin and Chicago.

Home countries of attendees included Armenia, Azerbaijan, the Republic of Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine. Although most individuals required a translator to speak with Americans, the group shared the Russian language.

Karen Musa, Institute for Hospitality and Culinary Education program chair, said the U.S. is known for its foodservice expertise, which is likely why the group chose the states over other countries.  As part of the trip, participants wanted to learn about American foodservice and culinary education.

“The consensus was that they were very pleased with the visit to Collin College,” Musa said. “They learned a lot about the Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Education and were very excited about the cost of the education for even international students.”

After eating at The Red Room, Collin College’s on-site teaching restaurant, Anastasia Orekhova, CEO of Federation of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs of Northwest in St. Petersburg, Russia, told Musa, “the food was very tasty.”

Musa also noted how striking the visitors found the culinary facilities and the Preston Ridge Campus library.

“One delegate said the library was much bigger and impressive than many of the university libraries in Russia,” Musa said.

Kevin Payne, executive director of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, said the visit was almost ideal.

“This is what I envisioned a partnership to be like, what we [GDRA] and Collin College have,” Payne said.  “Besides the weather, the visit could not have gone any more smoothly.”

For more information about the Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Education, visit http://www.collin.edu/hospitality.

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