Today, when consumers enter the grocery store they not only expect foods to be inexpensive and safe but also to have a wide variety of flavors and textures that are often inspired by ethnic food traditions and unique innovations. In addition, books such as “On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen” by Harold McGee and televisions shows like “Good Eats” starring Alton Brown have been instrumental in expanding cooking beyond the traditional Culinary Arts into the world of Food Science. These developments have made Culinary Science one of the hottest areas of the Food and Food Service Industries. The Department of Food Science has developed a unique concentration in Culinology® that has been recognized by the Research Chef’s Association. This program combines Culinary Arts and Food Science by accepting students with a 2 year culinary arts degree and providing them with a science-oriented frame work that enables them to obtain a B.S. in Food Science from the University of Massachusetts in 3 years. Recent students with a degree in Food Science and Culinary Arts have been aggressively sought after by food companies such as Kraft, Unilever and Pepsi at extremely competitive salaries of more than $48,000/year.
The pace of our society has shifted eating habits from traditional home cooked meals to a demand on convenience food. With the explosion of culinary awareness consumers have set much higher standards on the quality and convenience of the foods they select. The demand for home cooked/restaurant quality foods made quick, delicious and convenient is now the standard sought by consumers. This demand on the food industry results directly in a demand to employ chefs for their cooking expertise and scientist for their technical expertise.
The great benefit of Culinary Science training is that it outweighs all the competition because it’s the best of both worlds. As a culinologist one not only has the scientific understanding of food processing but also the much-valued understanding of culinary arts. Combined together this opens a spectacular opportunity to work in the food industry. The passion of food shared by culinarins allows one through their research and development to impact the food culture, a great example is Chef Boyardee who started his carrier as a chef and with the help of technology brought canned pasta and sauce to where it is today.
The food science world is a unique industry offering a great working experience in its many kitchen-laboratories. Included in this environment are all the benefits of corporate America with endless opportunity for individual carrier advancement, and most of all the satisfaction of a food lover’s passion of working in the kitchen.