When all is said and done, what we do here at PMCA is all about people. Those we meet and those we travel with. The ingredients that become familiar and the recipes we learn bloom into larger stories, even after we have returned home.  

During this 20th Anniversary year, we are making it a priority to collect and share stories from our alumni, about the moments that stand out and the ways that a trip with PMCA has impacted your lives upon returning home.

We invite you! to send them as emails, to record them as videos or audio, to include photos and/or to post them on our facebook page.


Here, we would like to share a story from Kate Fortney, who has attended our Tuscany and Morocco programs with her husband, Heschel – and will soon join us in Spain!
Kate and Heschel in the kitchen on our Fall 2010 program in Morocco.


In 2000, we took our first trip with Peggy. It was Heschel’s 50th year and for his birthday celebration we decided a cooking school in Florence would be a great way to commemorate the milestone. It was a perfect trip: accomodations were comfortable, our classmates all seem to be kindred spirits, the excursions were a perfect accompaniment for the classes – informative, but more importantly a wonderful way to meet Tuscans and experience the culture. And of course the food was fantastic. And although even 11 years later we have detailed memories of each day, our story really happened after we came home.
I guess Piero’s class just made all the cooking seem so easy. Once we arrived home, swelled with confidence, we invited several friends over for an Italian dinner using the recipes we’d learned. Heschel was making a chicken dish that required the chicken to be deboned. After pretty much shredding his first attempt, he opted to use boneless chicken breasts from the store. I took on making the ravolli. While the ragu and stuffing came out well, for some reason it took three attempts to get the pasta dough right and then I struggled to get it rolled thin enough. Luckily we had some frozen ravolli that we mixed in.  
While I was having my ravolli crisis, Hesch was whipping up tiramisu. Since I had my back to him, I’m not sure exactly what went wrong. All I know, is that all of sudden I heard him cry out, “Oh no, they are floating!” When I turned around, his ladyfinger cakes were popping up to the surface. He went back to the store for ready-made.
By the time our guests arrived, we had regained our sense of humor and were able to greet them at the door with, “Welcome to our Italian dinner, where every course has a story.” And ultimately that’s what Peggy’s wonderful culinary trip in Florence gave us-besides some new cooking skills, an appreciation that it isn’t about the perfection of the food, it is about sharing that food with friends and creating memories.