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Where Chefs Get Schooled

Wannabe Plascencias are drawn to Tijuana's Culinary Art School



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Photo by Cesar Armando Rodriguez

The world has its eyes and noses pointed at the simmering Baja food scene, thanks in part to local poster-boy chefs like Javier Plascencia and Miguel Angel Guerrero. That, and the state’s lavish tourism campaign bent on breaking back into foreign visitors’ hearts via their stomachs. So it’s fitting that aspiring chefs flock to Tijuana to study at its prestigious Culinary Art School, which opened in 2003. Fashioned in Tijuana native architect Jorge Gracia’s trademark modern, utilitarian design, the school’s current roster totals nearly 300 working toward bachelor degrees or sommelier diplomas, hailing from Latin America, South Africa, Australia, Poland, Portugal, and—surprise—San Diego. Most graduates go on to open their own eateries, bakeries, and breweries. But even if you’re not out to become the next Plascencia, the school offers short courses open to the public, covering topics from the fundamentals of gastronomic criticism to American pastries.

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