The International School of Pastry Arts has now been operational for more than a year and the results could not be more positive. The school, led by Paco and Jacob Torreblanca, focuses on a quality, highly practical training and is offered to professionals from all parts of the world. Its two top offerings are the three and sixth month courses. After the first edition of these two courses, they began a second edition, almost fully booked and which maintains the spirit of love for the work and the passion for producing a product of the highest quality. Paco tells us more in the following interview.
Where did the idea come from to create a school like ISPA?
I have always had this dream, to have a school, but not for a lot of people…a school for professionals, for those who are beginning and for those who want to keep learning, for example, through our master class course. I wanted a place where you can learn in the best way with the best tools.
How would you rate the success of the first year?
We are very happy with the experience of this first year, in which we have had students from all over the world: Germany, U.S.A., Japan and Thaliand. The feedback has been extraordinarily positive.
What are the main characteristics of your teaching model?
You have to bear in mind that the teaching we deliver is highly specialised and that it is Jacob and me who deliver it in person. Our objective is that the students who attend our courses leave with a full portfolio and extensive knowledge. Of course, we are a private centre and we must also earn money, but above all we want to become a global example for others and it is in this spirit that we commit all our efforts to our goals.
Have you achieved your objectives during this first year of operation?
We are very happy with the results. A good example of this is what we saw in the last semester of this year, and which we are seeing in the beginning of this next season, which is that we are practically fully booked. And also for the sixth month course coming later. In limiting the number of students to 15 we can offer a training of the highest quality. It is for all these reasons that we consider we have achieved our objectives.
This year we are going to support our training offering with external professionals from all over the world through our master classes. This will help us to make our school even more universal
Do you optimise the practical side of the training with student participation?
The classes are designed in such a way that in the first session it is me, personally, who elaborates each recipe and group of recipes. Then, the students have the whole week to reproduce the same recipes and we help them throughout the process. The materials and the products they use are the same as I use, they are of the highest quality and are available to them thanks to our sponsors (Valrhona, Irinox, Rational…). In the sixth month course we dedicate one week to each family of products in pastry cooking: pastries, cakes, pralines, chocolates…and each week they have to create a Showroom of these product families as if it were their own business.
We ensure that each student is able to execute every practical technique. For example, to make a cake from scratch. This is why our students came to the conclusion that the cost of the course is affordable. Our objective is to combine theory with practice. For those students who do not manage to achieve a good result at their first attempt, we help them repeat and repeat the process until they improve.
What new ideas are you thinking of introducing in this second season?
This year we are going to support our training offering with external professionals from all over the world through our master classes. This will help us to make our school even more universal, in which not only do we share our own ideas, but also those of great professionals, such as Jean-François Castagné or Alain Chartier, among others. The defining spirit is to have a universal centre, specialised, and to provide the highest quality teaching. It is the path that several schools like us have to follow if we want to be successful.
We want to teach our students to love the product, to not put in any unnecessary additives and to commit to quality
What are your values and your commitments to the students?
Our values are centred in the respect for the role and for a product of the highest quality, which means natural, and without colourings (with the exception of those parts dedicated to artistic sugar pieces), etc. We want to teach our students to love the product, to not put in any unnecessary additives and to commit to quality. Of course, the objective is that they leave here with the capacity to open their own business. We care a lot for them. Today, for example, I am dealing with the doubts of one of our Colombian ex-students. It is not easy, but fortunately, we are achieving our objectives and we trust we will continue to progress.