I’m Matt. Me and my camera explored what the Greatest Degree on Earth might look like, visiting 5 continents in 12 days. Read about my journey meeting brilliant minds, going behind-the-scenes at some of the world’s coolest brands and discovering some amazing places to study.
Here are a few of my highlights from my travels.
DAY 5, MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND
On day 5 I visited Glion, a hotel management school in the hills of Montreux. It is a beautiful campus with great facilities including a student training restaurant overlooking Lake Geneva, a huge gym, student bar and student accommodation.
Glenda gave us a great campus tour, she explained that there are 93 nationalities at campus right now.
Glenda introduced us to Marc Herbin, F&B Faculty Leader who gave us a private demonstration on how to open a bottle of champagne with a sabre. This was extraordinary. I’ve seen it done before, but not like this. Marc opened the classroom door and with one swift flick of the wrist he had the bottle top and cork flying out the door. It looked so easy! He showed us the trick to making this work and now I can’t wait to host a dinner party to give this trick a shot. I should mention that Marc was particular about collecting the sliced off bottle top and cork from the outside garden. Marc also showed and explained to us the chalky soil in which the grapes are grown. It really was just like the white chalk in which you would use on a blackboard. A very inspiring and passionate teacher, we had a great time with Marc.
We also interviewed a student who is very impressive and mature beyond his years. Loic Pinilla is from Brazil and speaks 4 languages. His goal is to make it up the ranks in the hospitality world and one day run a hotel. His dream is to have a world of no barriers where language is no problem. And so his goal is to learn Chinese next in order to open up his world to billions of more networking opportunities.
The campus overlooks the beautiful Lake Geneva and so we were hoping to film a beautiful sunset from the balcony at the end of our day, however alas the skies were overcast and cloudy so that was not to be. Nevertheless we saw amazing scenery.
DAY 7, MADRID, SPAIN
A friend had recommended that we try to have lunch at the oldest restaurant in the world. We were in luck! They had a reservation available for us at 1pm. So we made our way there on foot (cabs take longer than feet in this city!).
We had worked up an appetite and decided we should try the restaurant’s famous suckling pig. Restaurante Botin was built in 1725 and has been awarded the “earliest restaurant in the world” by the Guinness Book of Records. I was then taken upstairs where we enjoyed the surroundings of old tiles, antique furniture and old artworks. It was fascinating to see such an old structure be so sturdy and so practical to today’s bustling restaurant. We had a laugh at the menu where every dish in the vegetable section came with ham. Clearly pork products are their niche (I don’t recommend any vegans make it to this location!). To make our stay a truly local experience we also ordered a pitcher of sangria. The waiter would come to a spot near our table and serve the suckling pig from the middle of the restaurant. Both the meal and the sangria were delicious!
DAY 8, MADRID, SPAIN
We had 2 more hours to kill before heading to the airport, we had one more stop to tick off our list – Mercado San Miguel. This is a vibrant and colourful marketplace for fresh food, wine and sweets. We explored the fruit displays, the oyster shucker, the thousands of sweet treats (YUM) and the unusual looking meats. I couldn’t go past the black paella. It looked weird, but smelt so good! The man behind the counter couldn’t speak any English, and my Spanish is pretty terrible, so we still had no idea what was in it but it tasted pretty delicious! I have a feeling it was squid ink, but who knows.
It seems every single night the people of Madrid are out and about, dining in the streets, drinking in the bars, shopping at the malls… there really is a reason to celebrate every single night!
DAY 9, LIMA, PERU
We had lunch booked in the student training restaurant, K’ata. Here we briefly had the pleasure of meeting with Josilú Carbonel: International Office Director and Giannina Robinson: responsible for Hospitality and Management Faculty. I was invited into the kitchen where the students were cooking a cake. I donned an apron and hairnet and helped to mix the eggs into the mixer and discovered that we were making a chocolate cake.
We enjoyed a beautiful lunch in K’ata restaurant – spring rolls, chicken and fried rice followed by a custard apple chocolate cup. The students had done a great job and we were very impressed with the standard of cooking and service.
Want to read more about my incredible Greatest Degree on Earth journey? Jump onto the blog of Torrens University, also part of the Laureate Network of International Universities.