In 2002, an acorn began to grow in the land of opportunity, when PreGel established its North American headquarters within the southeastern state of North Carolina, USA. Shortly after, PreGel AMERICA’s Professional Training Center (TC), which epitomizes its credo “Your Passion. Our Education.,” began churning out thousands of highly informed budding entrepreneurs and established business owners, each embarking on a career in specialty desserts.
“Education is essentially a key for success in today’s economy. Knowledge is intrinsic of how we should do business,” explains Marco Casol, President & CEO of PreGel AMERICA, Inc. Casol began PreGel’s teaching curriculum with educational seminars and country-wide presentations about specialty desserts when he first arrived in the U.S. market. His strong foundation and ardor for teaching is the source from which PreGel’s educational offerings began to evolve.
PreGel’s journey to educate the world about authentic Italian gelato, sorbetto, semifreddo, frozen yogurt, and pastries and confections led the company to launch its Professional Training Center at the company’s first facility in South Charlotte in 2002. When the opportunity to build a new facility and center came under way in 2008, PreGel designed a custom training center featuring two classrooms complete with a full audio and visual experience for lecturing, two demonstration centers, 8 technical training stations, a full spectrum of batch freezers, hot and cold process machines, soft serve equipment, pastry ovens and multiple gelato and pastry display cases, all of which represent a diverse collection of high quality equipment suited specifically for this industry.
Fundamental gelato and frozen yogurt curriculums were the first to be implemented. Soon thereafter, PreGel’s thorough learning program expanded to include hands-on classes advanced gelato & sorbetto production, soft serve, dessert basics and various pastry and specialty frozen dessert classes. Additionally, PreGel offers prospective students the opportunity to create their own customized class using a personalized combination of our standard offerings.
“We started with basic classes. As the experience and knowledge grows in the market, we feel that we should grow parallel with it and consistently offer more in-depth topics, but also give innovative and revolutionary concepts and techniques in order to ensure the success of our customer base,” Casol clarified regarding the evolution of PreGel’s impressive class curriculums and the motivation which fuels the passion that goes into planning the program.
Although PreGel developed a Professional Training Center that would meet the essential needs of each prospective student in any culinary category they required, the leader of the specialty dessert ingredient industry understands that learning is a lifelong experience, even for the highest level professional. For this reason, PreGel AMERICA initiated the 5-Star Pastry Series, which caters to established culinary professionals looking to sharpen and increase their skills in the arts of Chocolate, Pastries & Desserts, Frozen Desserts, Pastry Decoration and Dessert Showpieces (Sugar & Chocolate).
“When we decided to launch this series, it was important to me to make sure that the chefs we brought in were world-class and at championship level, with years of experience,” says Frederic Monti, PreGel AMERICA’s corporate pastry chef and head of the Professional Training Center.
Despite the superior evolution of PreGel’s educational program, the international company continually finds ways to make each student’s visit to the Professional Training Center like eating a cup of gelato in Italy—not just an outing, but an experience. Keeping that in mind, PreGel AMERICA refined its unparalleled educational format to oblige not only the mental, but the physical well-being of our students with offers of chef-prepared lunches and discounted lodging accommodations, as well as convenient shuttle options to hotel destinations and PreGel headquarters.
Because the training classes were created to be both knowledgeable and fun, students are encouraged to taste various products created throughout the standard seven-hour class and take additional treats home at the end of the day. PreGel also recognizes that some our visiting students are also students outside of our facility, therefore, all of the Professional Training Center’s classes are approved for Continuing Education Hours (CEH) by the American Culinary Federation (ACF), which is the largest professional chefs’ organization in North America, and students can earn credit towards ACF initial and renewal certification.
Furthermore, as part of its expanding curriculum, PreGel also offers Certificates of Completion at the end of every class as affirmation that a specific standard of knowledge has been obtained. Additionally, “Learn & Save” coupon offers are presented to students, which offer a discount on superior PreGel products at the end of every class, along with a student satisfaction survey that encourages feedback and suggestions on how we can better help them.
With over ten years of intense planning and teaching experience, PreGel has formatted an educational system so profound that aspects of it are accessible twenty-four hours per day via www.ThePreGelChannel.com, and on our YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/PreGelAMERICA. Here PreGel has posted instructional videos of all kinds that can be utilized at any time the inquisitive user sees fit.
Moreover, in PreGel’s quest to continue assisting students well after their educational experience with us, the Professional Training Center and 5-Star Chef Series send out bi-monthly e-newsletters that include industry update information, new innovative recipes and more.
PreGel is an endless resource of products and information to be utilized by our students throughout every stage of their careers. And because our students leave PreGel’s Professional Training Center feeling reenergized, confident and focused on their endeavors, a feeling of true fulfillment is mutual, as Casol eloquently conveys:
“My fulfillment is the fact that they come to us and rely on our experience and passion because of the trust they place on us. More importantly though it is knowing that through these classes customers grow their business, and ultimately their success reflects upon us and our efforts.”
Part III of this four-part anniversary series will explore how the company has developed, like the education program it offers, as we strive to fulfill PreGel’s legacy of providing the highest quality ingredients.