By Karina Sesso
During my past gastronomic journey spent in Barcelona, I have the honor to meet Pastry Chef and actual Director of the well-known Escola Pastisseria Gremi de Barcelona (EGPB), Olivier Fernández.
With no previous appointment made to visit the school, honestly, my hope of having the opportunity to introduce myself, tour the school and meeting the board of Directors, was insignificant. Being determinate to visit the school I have heard so many praises about it, there I was anyway. As soon I got through the school doors I got the feeling I was going to be taken care of. In matter of minutes, the school receptionist made a quick phone call and there I was, being introduced to the Director of the school, Pastry Chef Olivier Fernandez. With a wide smile and welcoming spirit, very common in every Catalan citizen, Chef Olivier Fernandez offered to show me the school facilities himself. Passionate, charismatic and totally dedicated to shape the new generation of pastry chefs of Catalunya, and approximately 27 countries represented by students from all around the world (Japan, United States, Mexico, Argentina, Korea, etc). -“I am very fortunate to have the best job in life”- stated Chef Olivier, whom since the early age of three, he knew already he wanted to become a pastry chef or pastelero. Being mentored and trained by talented professionals like Tomas Ortega, Bonastre father and son, and Serafín Bueno, he built a strong curriculum that displays his passionate heart for the Pastry Arts and a solid character that is able to sustain it. Living testimony that has became his most important professional legacy to be imparted to each student that is fortunate enough to be part of EGPB.
From his early beginnings as Director of the school, Chef Olivier Fernandez, was very clear on working toward the realization of his short and long term goals of becoming a cosmopolitan school. EGPB is the only school in Europe that has its focus only in Pastry Arts with a four years academic program and operates as a non-profit organization. Due to the considerable amount of student applications received every year from all around the world, and the school determination to be in constant evolution and progress, EGPB has strengthened its professional relationships between countries like Mexico and United States. That being said, in 2012, the EGPB has signed professional agreements with The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY and Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Puebla, México. Both agreements have been designed to foster the educational and cultural exchanges and advance a greater understanding of the baking and pastry heritage between The United States of America and Barcelona, Spain and Puebla, México, and Barcelona respectively.
For that purpose, The CIA, UPAEP and EGPB will collaborate and design a faculty exchange program that explores the shared profession of “The Art of Baking and Pastry”.
Every student enrolled in the program will be provided with on campus housing, faculty for the professional development and extra learning opportunities like visiting faculty to explore their diverse regions, Industry related visitations, tasting and much more.
In few words, these professional agreements individually have the main purpose to reach the primary goal of the EGPB, that is “to make the way for each student to find their career destiny in an environment of passion, creativity, evolution and respect for their cultural and professional tradition and heritage”
For more information about these programs, please visit: