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Students Get Immersed in Oaxaca’s Renowned Street Food Culture

March 25, 2014 -- During CNM’s Spring Break last week, six students from CNM’s Culinary Arts program ventured to Oaxaca to experience and learn about one of Mexico’s most vibrant and appetizing street food scenes.
Students Get Immersed in Oaxaca’s Renowned Street Food Culture

CNM students study the offerings of a Oaxacan street food vendor. Photo courtesy of CNM students.


During their week-long visit to Oaxaca that was made possible through a partnership with the Street Food Institute, the students participated in an immersion-learning experience designed to broaden their culinary knowledge and skills. They spent afternoons with a celebrated Oaxacan culinary expert, Chef Susana Trilling, at the Seasons of My Heart Cooking School, learning to cook the classic dishes of the region. Chef Trilling also wrote the book “Seasons of My Heart; A Culinary Journey Through Oaxaca, Mexico.” They spent their mornings at the Instituto Cultural de Oaxaca, studying and practicing Spanish, a much-needed skill in the culinary industry, especially in New Mexico.

The students spent their evenings experiencing first-hand the renowned street food culture of Oaxaca.

“I really believe the value of this trip was immeasurable for these students,” CNM Chef and Culinary Arts faculty member Scott Clapp said. “Most of them had limited travel experience, especially outside our country, so they were so excited throughout the entire trip. They got the opportunity to cook many of the classic dishes of the region, they got to experience both the current and ancient Oaxacan culture, and they all improved their Spanish. And I think they got to build friendships that will last a lifetime.

“I have never been around a more excited group of students.”

The six culinary students who participated in the Oaxaca experience included Mayaneli Brown, Josylnn Gutierrez, Anzia Bennett, Vicki Baxley, Vernon Pajarito and Colleen Westerfeld.

“This experience was something entirely different than I anticipated,” said Brown. “I think we’ve all been reminded that food is so much more than a necessity – it’s a harmonious ceremony of people creating something beyond memorable.”

CNM students and faculty members prepare to depart for Oaxaca at the start of Spring Break.
In addition to Clapp, the students were accompanied by CNM Chef Briana Dennis and staff members from the Street Food Institute (SFI), which has partnered with CNM to teach culinary students about the world of street food and mobile food operations, including food trucks. The CNM students who traveled to Oaxaca will debut their favorite Oaxacan recipes in the coming weeks at the SFI-CNM Food Truck that serves lunch outside of Smith Brasher Hall on Main Campus every Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

For more information about CNM’s Culinary Arts program, click here. For more information about the Street Food Institute, click here.

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