Chef Maria Cristina Rinaudi spent three weeks in Grand Rapids, sharing cooking techniques and meeting with hospitality and tourism management students. Rinaudi is the owner of Ristorante Le Torri in Castiglione Falletto, Italy, and is a key international partner in Grand Valley’s study abroad program to Italy.
“Our work here with Chef Cristina has been particularly valuable,” said Charles Baker-Clark, associate professor and chair of HTM’s study abroad program. “The department has made a significant investment into creating an excellent study abroad opportunity for students. By collaborating with Cristina, we have been able to enhance the quality of our study abroad program while strengthening our ties with a valuable international partner.”
Rinaudi visited classes to talk with students about the food traditions of Italy, the use of local produce, sustainability matters, restaurant ownership and career development opportunities. She also conducted seminars and attended university and community events.
“This was such a nice experience,” said Rinaudi. “The students were not only interested in learning about the different food and wine in Italy, but about the country itself and Italian customs.”
Rinaudi’s visit was made possible through support from the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department, Modern Languages, Padnos International Center and Faculty Teaching and Learning Center grants.
“The whole experience was very worthwhile and has enriched the learning experience for Grand Valley students and many other community-based stakeholders,” said Paul Stansbie, chair of the HTM department.