As Biscayne Boulevard from the MiMo district on up through North Miami continues to thrive with plenty of new dining options, it’s not just restaurants that will help create this area’s new culinary scene. Later this summer, we can expect the first-ever outpost of IGA, the Instituto Gastronómico de las Americas, to open their doors at Biscayne at 108th Street. An international culinary school with a classical approach, the school will give aspiring culinarians, from childhood to continuing education, the chance to learn a new set of skills that will be applicable for the rest of their lives.
IGA is owned by Alejandro Milberg and Brenda Zicarelli, an Argentine husband and wife team who have built a franchise of over 100 schools throughout Latin America. Originally systems engineers with training facilities for programmers, the impetus to create culinary schools came after the economic crash hit Argentina hard in 2001.
“In 2001 in Argentina, things were bad, worse than now. So we thought about doing something else, in education, training. We moved from systems to culinary,” said Milberg, smiling as he recalled falling into the culinary world. “We started with small schools in Rafaela and San Francisco. We started, and there were a lot of people who wanted to study. They would study, and immediately after finishing they would have a job.”
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Although they run a solid business that has expanded as far north as Panama, the couple’s goal is to give people a chance to work. “[IGA] for a real person who wants to work in a kitchen. It’s a culinary training school. We offer Associate’s in culinary and pastry,” said Zicarelli.
Even with their first franchise outside of Latin America located in Miami, the new location of IGA will be English-focused. “There won’t be notebooks, just iPads,” said Daniela Canabal, who is working directly with Milberg and Zicarelli to open the school. With instructors teaching in both English and Spanish, materials will be available on the iPads in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Chefs from IGA schools in Brazil and Argentina are also expected to come up and train the new instructors prior to opening.
No prices have been set yet for the tuition, but Milberg and Zicarelli are confident that programs will run about $20,000 per student, a far cry from some other local schools in the area that can charge more than double. There’s also no word on whether IGA will expand throughout Miami or the United States at large. For now, the new location remains under construction.