This 4-week program in Italy and France, draws from food-based traditions that have developed over the centuries spanning each country’s political, cultural, and social formation. In addition to the academic content, students will be exposed to the foundational food traditions that underlie and unite the Mediterranean through organized excursions, including: tours of vineyards/wineries, local farms, and markets; chef designed cooking classes; and collaborative discussion with chemists, chefs, and hospitality experts.
This is an authentic program and all of the venues, tours, and excursions are designed specifically to coincide with the curriculum.
Italian and French cuisine draws from food-based traditions that have developed over the centuries spanning each country’s political, cultural, and social formation. The two courses in this co-led program will introduce the students to the foundational food traditions that underlie and unite the Mediterranean area as well as the traditions that distinguish regional differences. In these courses, students will be tasked with investigations of specific ingredients (molecules), processes and techniques, equipment, and other significant factors. Students will prepare for this adventure by researching and acquiring requisite knowledge and skills through daily interactions with a chef and chemist.
In the first half of this program, students will implement what they have learned and acquire further knowledge and skills through an active exploration of authentic Tuscan venues. This will include unique and enriching experiences in and surrounding Florence and Siena. In Florence, students will engage with University of Florence faculty from a range of disciplines to explore a variety of aspects underlying the cultural and historical influences of and by food and beverage, including a culinary demonstration and discussions of local gastronomy. The experience will include a visit to one local farm with discussion on operations, history, and agricultural methods; a market tour with relevant discussion, food tours in Volterra, a visit to one vineyard/winery with discussion on operations, history, agricultural methods, culture, and a tasting; and a culinary demonstration at a Tuscan home estate.
Students subsequently will transfer their knowledge and skills to a unique situation in Lyon, France where they will further develop and enrich their understanding of the history, culture, and science underlying regional food and beverages and how they are paired. This will be accomplished via a series of culinary lectures and demonstrations at the esteemed Institut Paul Bocuse, as well as visits to a local street market in Lyon, a sightseeing tour of the gastronomic secrets of Lyon, an oenology (winery) tour, a cheese and wine tasting, and a visit to a local farm. This sequential exploration of Tuscany and Lyon is intentional as a means to illustrate and underscore the significant historical influence that the Roman epicenter exerted on European expansion, particularly as it relates to the evolution of food and beverage culture, traditions, and methods.
Some meals (10 lunches, 5 dinners, and 14 breakfasts)
Excursions to farms, wineries, cheese house, and brewery + cooking demonstrations
Emergency Medical and Evacuation Insurance
Cost Does Not Include:
Tuition for 6 credit hours
How and When to Pay
Please click here for further details regarding payment.
Financial Aid and Scholarship Funding
Many funding opportunities are available to USF students who are planning to study abroad. Please see our funding page for further details.
Health and Safety
Medical Insurance and Travel Documentation
USF provides program participants with sickness/accident and emergency medical evacuation insurance valid for the dates of the program. Those who will travel independently, either in advance of the program or after the program ends, must ensure that they have insurance coverage valid outside the U.S.
The program is open to students of any major, 18 years of age or older, with an interest in Italian and French culture and language. No knowledge of Italian or French language is necessary or required as part of the program. All majors are welcomed, but particularly those of the Colleges of Hospitality and Arts and Sciences (USFSM Science and Mathematics).
Faculty and Contacts
During summer 2014, Dr. K. Kenneth Caswell co-taught two courses (Introductory Biochemistry [BCH 3053] and Historical Perspectives of Chemistry [CHM 4070, newly designed and facilitated with a student-centered approach]) in Florence, Italy, as part of the effort to introduce more science courses in the USF World Education Abroad program. In preparation for that experience, he began developing some fluency in Italian, an effort that was greatly facilitated by his deep immersion while in Italy. He has continued to study and practice his Italian language skills, while also leveraging his experiences in the country to continue pursuing a more sophisticated, in-depth understanding and appreciation for various elements of Italian culture. Currently, Dr. Caswell works with Chef Joe Askren from the USF College of Hospitality in developing a Food and Beverage Science Program and courses, including the Science of Beer/Chemistry and Microbiology of Beer courses. Askren and Caswell have co-taught these cross-linked courses and work with the Introduction to Food Production course and local craft brewers and restaurants.
While running the two courses for USF in Florence during summer 2014, Dr. Caswell also helped lead scheduled trips from Florence to both Rome and Venice. In addition, he engaged in extended efforts to help students enrolled in these classes make their way around the city and plan extracurricular trips throughout the country. For example, he proposed and helped facilitate an unscheduled trip to Hadrian’s Villa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The trip was so successful that it sparked discussion of adding it to the normally scheduled USF in Florence trips. Dr. Caswell planned and participated in a variety of other trips intended to obtain insights and networks for future USF in Florence Program courses, including explorations of museums, vineyards, gardens, markets, and a variety of historical sites in a number of cities (e.g., Pienza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Cultural Landscape; Lucca, Montepulciano, Cinque Terre, Levanto, Fiesole). In these endeavors, Dr. Caswell made extensive use of trains, buses, cabs, and feet to intimately explore Tuscany on very long hikes. In many cases, his Italian was necessary for any form of communication. In addition, when one of Dr. Caswell’s students fell ill, he immediately provided assistance and investigated the available options to ensure the student had access to necessary medications, which involved translating, in real time at the Pharmacia, the listed ingredients of several over-the-counter medications from Italian to English for the student
Even before participating in the USF World Education Abroad program, Dr. Caswell was extremely well traveled, due to his personal history as a military dependent and then himself serving in the U.S. Air Force for 14 years. After spending his youth in the Far East, including Okinawa, Japan, and the Philippines, Dr. Caswell was deployed to a range of countries during his military service. He has traveled extensively to countries all over the world to explore his personal recreational interests. These international experiences have been instrumental in Dr. Caswell's academic and professional development, as well as in invoking a consistent dedication to learn about the world, its inhabitants, and the myriad opportunities and challenges people face in all of their interactions. He possesses a deep appreciation and sensitivity to the great diversity of human cultures and species with which we share environments.
Joe Askren is an instructor at the College of Hospitality and Tourism Leadership (CHTL) at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus. He is also the director of the Culinary Innovation Lab, which is the hands-on teaching facility in the CHTL. Professor Joe was a former Chef Instructor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts from 2007-2012. While teaching at Le Cordon Bleu, he was voted Teacher of the Year twice in 2008 & 2011 by the school’s graduates. Chef Askren received his BSBA from the University of Florida in 1992 and an MBA in Hospitality Management from Colorado Technical University in 2011. He is also a culinary graduate of Florida State College. Joe is currently a doctoral candidate in the College of Education at USF. He plans to finish his dissertation focusing on experiential learning methods in March of 2017.
Professor Askren was part of the USF Global Study Abroad summer program in 2015 to Florence, where he assisted with a group of 200 students from the University of Florida and the University of South Florida. His course titled International Food & Culture included trips to Modena, Parma, Siena, and Montepulciano. Joe also traveled with students to Bologna, Lucca, and Cinque Terra.
His previous culinary and management experience took him to some of the finest hotels and restaurants in the United States. Professor Askren held chef de cuisine roles for both Hyatt and Westin hotel groups in Scottsdale, and was an executive chef at Radisson Woodland Hotel in Flagstaff Arizona. Joe is an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef.
In 2011, Chef Askren was the culinary creator of the Good Life Cuisine brand that has been instituted in BlueStar Resort & Golf properties in Washington, California, and Arizona. Good Life Cuisine concentrates on healthy, sustainable, and responsibly sourced ingredients. Joe is also a recent contributor to Dr. John Walker’s upcoming text: The Restaurant: from Concept to Operation 6th Ed, John Wiley & Sons. (2013).
Mr. James Pulos, Associate Director
USF Education Abroad Office
Phone: (813) 974-4043
Professor Ken Caswell
Professor Joe Askren
Director, Global Engagement Office