Red River College is cooking up a partnership with students from France.
Students from the Lycée Alexandre Dumas H¥tellerie & Tourisme institute will get a chance to learn from their Canadian counterparts at Red River's School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts. The two schools signed an agreement Monday that means, among other things, students and faculty from both schools will be able to go on exchanges and study in both countries.
Christiane Muylaert, principal of Lycée Alexandre Dumas in Strasbourg, France, said her students can benefit from experiencing new styles of restaurant work.
"Sometimes we feel like our rules are a bit too strict, so we need to share, in order to be more open-minded, to learn from other cultures," Muylaert said.
For students at Red River, the agreement is a chance to study the culinary arts in France, a country known for its long tradition of fine dining. Red River College president Stephanie Forsyth said it's important to her that students at the college's culinary school get a bigger taste of the world and its culinary possibilities.
"It raises global awareness. It develops relationships that will last their whole lifetime... It really opens their eyes to the ways other countries are doing restaurant work," Forsyth said.
The Red River students will get a chance to cook in France through semester-long exchanges, while the students from France will get the same opportunity in Winnipeg. Apart from learning about Canadian dishes, students from France will be able to learn English in Canada, which is an important skill for graduates, Muylaert said.
"For our students, these days, it's impossible to work in the global restaurant and hospitality industry if they don't speak perfect English" she said.
Winnipeg is a good location with which to partner, Muylaert said, because the city has an active French-Canadian community.
"This is the first agreement we're signing outside of Europe. The presence of the two languages here is very interesting," she said.
This is the second agreement Red River is has signed with a French culinary institute. Last November, Forsyth signed an agreement with the Institut Paul Bocuse Worldwide Alliance in Ecully, France. Two Red River students have already gone on an exchange to that school, Forsyth said.
Other programs at Red River College have agreements with countries such as China, India and the Philippines, Forsyth said. She said the aim is to expand relations with schools all over the world.
"We're just at the beginning stages of doing this work, but we think it will be a really wonderful addition to the programming we're able to offer," Forsyth said.