HOUSTON—For 12 lucky students studying hospitality or beverage management at the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, spring break includes a road trip to the Texas Hill Country for the Texas Food & Wine Experience.
Sponsored by a grant from the Fred Parks Foundation and supported by the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, class begins in Lexington at the famous home of Snow’s BBQ. There, students will not only sample the ribs, sausage, pork and chicken, they’ll also learn the mechanics of running a successful restaurant and how Snow’s has transcended that accolade to become a travel destination for locals and tourists. Then it’s off to Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor for comparison and contrast lessons, and an audience with the pit master.
“This is a great way to celebrate Texas, wine and food, as these are all part of what supports the hospitality industry in our state,” said Assistant Professor Chris Taylor, director of the college’s Beverage Management program and the Fred Parks Wine Cellar. “From sales and marketing, to lodging and restaurants, this is just a really cool opportunity that brings it all together.”
Students are required to keep a journal and submit papers that illustrate their understanding of how the elements of food and wine contribute to the state’s successful hospitality industry. For their textbook, they’ll be using “Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto.”
“Barbecue is not that simple,” said Associate Professor Jay Neal. “It’s business strategy, engineering and art. It’s also important for students to realize that this is a fiscally viable career opportunity.”
Students will stay in Fredericksburg near the Urban Wine Trail and visit with proprietors of wineries for discussions on the Texas wine industry, which is in the Top Ten of wine producers in the country, employing thousands of jobs with more than a million visitors each year.
“Besides eating great Texas BBQ and drinking great Texas wine, our students will experience one of the great Texas tourism destinations, Fredericksburg, making it an all-encompassing hospitality learning experience,” said Taylor.
Other stops include the Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye; Smitty’s Market and Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart; Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall; 4.0 Cellars in Fredericksburg, and Fall Creek Vineyards in Tow.