Combining experience and study

By Matthew White, chair of the University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) and director of catering, hotel and conferencing at the University of Reading

“You can read books and watch videos about Vietnamese and Cambodian food but only going there helps you truly understand. The inspiration and knowledge from the tour is priceless,” said one delegate who attended our Vietnam and Cambodia study tour in 2018.

Learning first-hand about where cuisines come from and experiencing real life cooking demonstrations are key to the success of our award-winning TUCO Academy. Our inspirational study tours and development days aim to focus on food and drink trends, most of which have been identified in our Global Food and Beverage Trends Reports.

One of our latest study tours, to Lisbon, saw a group of university and college catering professionals sample authentic Portuguese lifestyle and cuisine. During their visit delegates dined in Lisbon’s downtown, an art deco mansion in busy Bairro Alto, and traditional pubs and cafes.

Upon arrival, delegates experienced the first of authentic cuisines at Bistro 100 Maneiro. The white-walled restaurant served painterly plates with Portuguese, Yugoslavian, Italian and French influences. Since it opened in 2010, the restaurant has attracted a growing audience, which favours taste, discovery and experience. Born from the original 100 Maneiras, which was the first in the capital to serve a tasting menu at a democratic price, its history and success story are a motive to experience the award-winning menu.

During the study tour, delegates also had the opportunity to visit and dine at Lisbon’s largest market, Mercado da Ribeira. With stalls trading in fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and flowers since 1892, this domed market hall contains 20 to 30 restaurants, which are home to a variety of meals provided by top Lisbon chefs.

Through our TUCO banner – Learn – we want to support you and help your teams achieve success. From catering and hospitality professionals to directors of accommodation and commercial service and heads of campus services, the TUCO Academy offers courses to suit various levels of learning and development.

As I pen this, I am currently on our Residence Life at California’s Top Universities study tour. So far, we have visited universities such as the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Los Angeles. I highly recommend you book on to one of our inspirational study tours or development days. Our next study tour in London, On Trend – Vegan and Vegetarian, sold out very quickly.

Don’t miss the chance to book on to the Bologna Barista Tour in Italy, taking place on 10th June 2019.

For more information about joining TUCO, visit

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