Slow Food University

University of Gastronomic Sciences


Nary a pot or pan in sight.

300 college students from around the world have come to Italy’s University of Gastronomic Sciences to learn about food. They are not training to become chefs or hospitality workers, food chemists or farmers. They will graduate with the title of gastronome.

The school was dreamed up six years ago by Carlo Petrini, the patriarch of Slow Food— the international movement that works to preserve biodiversity in our food supply, fight globalization, and guarantee ‘good, clean, and fair food’ for the future. As the movement matured and went global, Petrini saw a need to train future leaders of the movement itself, of the food and tourism industries, and of the government agencies capable of putting into practice many of the changes that Slow Food advocates. According to the school’s prospectus, “Gastronomes are the next generation of educators and innovators, editors and multimedia broadcasters, marketers of fine products, and managers of consortia, businesses, and tourism companies.”

The main campus is housed in a 200 year old Piedmontese castle and its surrounding royal compound. Like any school there are classrooms, laboratories, a dining hall, and a library; albeit a wine library with 100,000 bottles. Here, gastronomy is on par with other liberal arts. It is treated to scholarly, interdisciplinary exploration involving physical sciences, environmental studies, history, anthropology, economics, and social justice.

Every student participates in 5 work-study trips each year. They fan out into the countryside for a week or two at a time visiting artisanal and industrial producers who cure ham and sausage, roast coffee, make pasta or cheese, or press olive oil. Longer trips might examine an entire region’s products in greater depth, and for undergraduates these territorial stages progress from Italy to other European countries and other continents.

The school grants 3-year undergraduate and 1- or 2-year graduate degrees, with classes taught in Italian and English. Tuition for American students (currently $16,000 per year for undergraduates, variable by graduate program) qualifies for financial aid through the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid program. It includes the annual work-study trips.

No football team, no frat houses. I don’t think anybody misses them.

Visit the University of Gastronomic Sciences website to learn more.

In The New Gastronomes, current students blog about their experiences at the University.


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5 Responses to Slow Food University

  1. Great post, as always…This school sounds fantastic, I am so pleased to see these types of programs available to young food enthusiasts 🙂

  2. Janice says:

    Thank you, Marsha, for your very generous words. I only wish I had half the visual flair that you show in Lover’s Kitchen.

  3. It’s the writing that makes this blog worth the visit. You’re a writer (a real one) with a blog. I’m not surprised you’d crack the 100,000 mark, or whatever it is. I’m surprised there are so many people keyboarding about food who can’t write.

    Found you on FoodBuzz, by the way, but had to dig deep to find a single blog worth commenting on. Out of 4,000 (or so they say) maybe a dozen.

    This could be a book.

    Good job all around.

    Viva La Vida!

    Marsha Coupe

  4. Janice says:

    You did see that the school has a 100,000 bottle wine cellar, didn’t you?

  5. without frats, who’ll consume all the low quality european beer??

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