Welcome to Brazil!
I am honored to have been selected by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to participate in a trade delegation trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil on behalf of Kendall College.
Arriving in Sao Paulo on Sunday, I was immediately intrigued by the atmosphere of the city and country. Having never been to Brazil, I made a trip to the local market and was greeted by hundreds of street and food vendors offering delicious, authentic cuisine. I had my first taste of Brazilian food and instantly fell in love, especially with the coffee – much needed after a long flight!
On my second day, I was also able to meet with US Commercial Services to learn more about the culinary and hospitality industries, as well as the local economy. What they had to share was astonishing. According to them, Brazil is now the sixth largest economy with a significantly low unemployment rate (5.7 percent) and has brought about 40 million people out of poverty into the middle class within the past 10 years. Much of this is attributed to their flourishing culinary and hospitality fields, with Sao Paulo now ranking as the second city in the world with the most number of restaurants and ranking No. 1 in production of sugar, frozen concentrated orange juice and coffee. The gastronomy market alone is responsible for employing six million people in the country and eight percent of jobs!
This first exposure to Brazil has been enlightening, to say the least. It’s amazing to look at their economy and compare it to the City of Chicago, which similarly relies on food and hospitality as an economic driver. As two cities proud of the diversity and sophistication of their cuisines, it will be a tremendous opportunity for Kendall to work with the students and faculty of Universidade Anhembi Morumbi (more on that later), which shares a similar goal of preparing students to succeed in the dynamic, growing industries of culinary arts and hospitality.
In short, I’ve been having a wonderful time so far and quickly falling in love with the people, culture, food and incredible energy of Brazil! Click here to see photos from my trip on Kendall’s Facebook page and read about the rest of my trip!