Escuela de Turismo y Hostelería El Casino de Ronda
Inside the kitchens of The Predicatorio, a restaurant overlooking the San Francisco neighbourhood in Ronda, six youngsters are helping chef Atanasio Muñoz prepare the dishes of the day. While one of them is thinly slicing the garlic, another is watching over the arroz caldoso con carabineros (soupy rice with red shrimp). The youngest, at just 17 years old, is preparing some jamoncitos de pollo al whiskey (chicken cooked in whiskey) that is releasing delicious scents throughout the kitchen. In the opposite corner of the kitchen another youth is following instructions given by Muñoz to create the dessert of the day: crépes filled with custard.
All of these youngsters are students at the Escuela de Turismo y Hostelería El Casino de Ronda (the Tourist and Hospitality School in Ronda). After more than eight years of waiting the Asociación de Empresarios de Ronda y Campillos-Guadalteba (Ronda and Campillos-Guadalteba Business Association - APYMER), driven by the energy of the association’s president Salvador Galvan, opened the doors of this centre in 2010 to cover a much needed educational vacuum in the area. It currently functions without any institutional funding. “The creation of a school with these characteristics was fundamental,” explains Piedad García, director of studies at the centre. “Ronda lives from tourism and the hospitality industry”.
Before its inauguration, young people looking for educational opportunities in this sector had to travel the 100 kilometres that separate Ronda from the principal educational establishments for gastronomy and the hospitality industry in Seville, Malaga and Jerez. Getting there is arduous, particularly during the winter months when the roads tend to be icy. Many families are unable to fund the costs involved in having their children live away from home, meaning that sacrifice is part and parcel of attaining any sort of academic training. “Ronda sells itself as a centre for touristic excellence. We aim to ensure that this excellence is tangible through professional training,” explains García. “Local businesses should come to understand that the true value of their companies lie in their human resources”.
The school has set to work with this goal in mind. There are currently four courses on offer: Management and Administration of Tourist Accommodation, Restaurant Management, Catering and Bar Services and Specialised Cooking for the Hospitality Sector. Their classrooms are located in the Casino de Ronda, in the building that housed the Círculo de Artistas. The first thirty students enrolled at the school, aged between 17 and 38, study subjects such as IT, marketing, enology, sensory analysis, quality management systems, environmental awareness, nutrition and dietetics on the first floor of the building that overlooks a classic Andalusian patio. “It’s a definite accomplishment to have attained this number of students in our first year in operation,” highlights Francisco Javier Vazquez, vice-president of APYMER.
In one of the classrooms they are cleaning the remains of a Christmas baking class taught that very morning. In another, the director of studies is teaching a food handling workshop: “Most food handling courses last only four hours during which time students are shown a video. Our workshop lasts thirty hours. We believe that this is the only way in which to instill the importance of proper food handling and to teach students the risks involved in doing so incorrectly”.
This way of thinking underpines all the classes taught by the thirteen teachers and professional at the school. “People used to learn through practical experience. They were employed as an apprentice to a person skilled in a particular area and therefore gained the knowledge and limitations that come from learning from one individual. Here we’ve got an entire team of professionals equipped with current manuals alongside several establishments that teach real-life business practice,” clarifies Piedad García.
The school has organized master classes from the likes of Dani García (from Calima and La Moraga) who explained the secrets behind the creation of some of his most famous dishes as well as answering questions about his career. “I also studied cooking at a catering school,” explains the Marbella-based chef who has already two Michelín stars to his credit.
Besides the professional courses and workshops, the Escuela de Turismo y Hostelería de Ronda is constantly expanding its horizons to include the University of Cambridge ESOL qualifications (English for Speakers of Other Languages), speclialized cooking workshops (Confitería Daver has already taught several pastry workshops) and even wine tasting, ice cream and olive oil workshops.
Meanwhile, customers are starting to order at El Predicatorio Restaurant. As they look out at the view over Ronda their orders are coming out of the kitchen. The arroz caldoso is delicious. The dishes have been prepared with the help of students from the Escuela de Turismo y Hostelería de Ronda who dream of owning their own restaurant some day, serving up delicious food and making a living by doing something they love. “Since I was little I’ve always enjoyed helping my mother in the kitchen,” confesses Iván Jurado, born and raised in Ronda. Diego Torres from Cuevas del Becerro has already discovered that he is attracted to the world of baking and that he wants to continue studying this specialization when he completes his education in Ronda. Esteban Sánchez, from Zahara de la Sierra, wants to open a restaurant serving up elaborate dishes that are currently not on offer in his home town.
“The most rewarding feeling comes from educating confident and highly-trained students to find work or even run their own businesses,” concludes Piedad García. To that end the local business association is working hard to ensure a bright and professional future in and around Ronda.
Ver Tertulia Andaluza en un mapa más grande
- • Official website for the Escuela de Turismo y Hostelería de Ronda
- • Official website for the Ronda and Campillos-Guadalteba Business Association
Tags: alimentación, alojamientos, andalusia, educación, escuela, escuela de hosteleria, escuela de hosteleria de ronda, españa, featured business, featured food & drink sector, gestión, hostelería, nutrición, restaurantes, spain, talleres, andalusia, culture, courses, gastronomy, hotels, hotel, malaga province, restaurant, ronda