Published: 07th April 2020
These three sisters from Italy started their own academy to groom students for hospitality industry. Here's why
At the AIMS Hospitality Week, we caught up with Marta Cotarella from Intrecci Academy to talk about how they started their own academy and programmes they are offering for students in India
When Marta Cotarella, along with her two sisters and Dominga Cotarella and Enrica Cotarella, announced that they will start an academy to train students in food and beverage service as well as front desk, people were sceptical. Marta, Planning and Control Manager, Intrecci Academy, says, "In Europe, there are only a few women who are into the food and beverage industry. But we have been into the wine business for a long time. People laughed at us when we were working to start this academy. They said that this will not work out. Today, when they see students graduating from our academy, they appreciate us and talk about us in the industry. We have completed two years successfully and plan to contribute more." Excerpts from the interview:
1) What led you to start your own academy?
I started this academy two years ago along with my two sisters. Our family has been in the wine business in Italy. And in Italy, wine is always linked with food. Five years ago, when we were working to set up this academy, we found out that there was a big gap between the kitchen and front desk in Europe's hospitality industry. My elder sister, Dominga, who frequented restaurants, noticed this gap and informed me that we need to come up with our own academy. Therefore, we worked along with industry experts from France, England, Italy and other places and created a programme for students. We started our first batch in 2018, with 15 students.
This programme is conducted on a residential campus and all the students will be with us for eight months. The programme includes subjects like Food Science, Hospitality, Agronomy, Enology, Wine and Vine Anthropology and so on. They also have to take up an internship for six months either in Italy or elsewhere.
2) What were the challenges you faced when you started this academy?
I am a graduate in Economics from the University of Florence and the hospitality industry, especially the food and beverage industry, are different streams for me. Hence, convincing youngsters to take up this programme or why they must invest their time and study in our academy was challenging for us. Since families invest money for their children, we spoke to them personally about career opportunities in the hospitality industry.
Marta at the AIMS Hospitality Week
3) Do you want to implement this programme in India as a part of the curriculum for hospitality students?
Yes, we have already tied up with AIMS School Of Hospitality And Tourism with regards to which, a few selected students will visit Italy for two weeks to go around different wineries, food companies and restaurants in Italy and understand what goes in our food and so on. They get exposed to our culture and understand which wine has to be paired with the food, how to taste wine and so on. Then, students can decide if they want to join the year-long programme at Intrecci Academy.
4) What are the future plans for Intrecci Academy?
In September 2020, we will start a new programme with AIMS where students from India will apply and study here for six months and for the next six months, they will opt for an internship. We will be introducing a new course in New York, but here, students will take up an internship in New York's hospitality industry and then come to Italy for further studies.