Updated on Friday 1 March 2013
Culinary arts is a prominent part of American history and culture – not to mention an important and exciting career around the world. If you’ve been asking yourself what is culinary arts, then you are in the right place. In the following article, we will explain what is involved in culinary arts and why it may be the perfect degree for you!
You may have asked yourself at one time or another, exactly what is culinary arts? The word culinary is defined by theFreeDictionary.com as “of or relating to a kitchen or to cookery” while art is described as "human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature." Put these two words together and you start to see that the culinary arts really involves creating something unique and beautiful – and something that is completely edible! It is called culinary arts for a reason, not just anyone can create delicious and inventive masterpieces. The culinary arts have been continuously growing in popularity and as a result, more and more international students are beginning to realize the value of pursuing this career path.
When you think about what is culinary arts, you should think of the things you love to eat. If you are a culinarian (or chef) then you can decide what your ingredients will be! There are specific cooking methods and techniques to learn, but it’s up to a chef to decide which methods to use and the overall appearance and taste of the dish. They can create fusions between different types of cuisines, or something that is completely unique. When someone is earning a culinary arts degree they will have the chance to learn about all these different possibilities.
International students who choose to study the culinary arts will have a chance to learn about contemporary and classic culinary techniques and cooking methods. Usually the learning style associated with a culinary arts degree involves a combination of theoretical classroom instruction and hands-on laboratory work. So not only will you learn about and discuss the preparation of dishes, but you'll learn how to make them yourself. For those students who want to pursue managerial positions within the field, learning how to be a leader and use effective communication skills can be very helpful, because most people in the culinary arts work in a team-oriented kitchen environment.
If you really want to earn a culinary arts degree in the USA, perhaps it’s best to know the origin and history first. One of the first American cooking schools was founded in Boston, in the late 1800's. In 1929 the American Culinary Federation (ACF) was founded and became the biggest group of the U.S.'s most prominent chefs. The mission of the ACF is to help professional chefs through development resources, and make a positive difference for culinarians through education, apprenticeship, and certification. After World War II culinary education was in high-demand. Soon televised cooking shows became very popular. Famous chefs such as James Beard, Julia Child, and Madeleine Kamman became household names and culinary icons. James Beard, known as the grandfather of American gastronomy, had a cooking show and founded a cooking school, teaching American cuisine preparation for more than 30 years. Later on people became interested in learning about international dishes, and at the time French cuisine was the very best. Julia Child hosted a show called, The French Chef, wherein she taught viewers how to cook French cuisine. Her show and cookbooks were considered groundbreaking and ended up generating a lot of public interest in the culinary arts as a career. Madeleine Kamman opened a French cooking school called, Modern Gourmet, in Massachusetts. Kamman was from France and blended French cooking standards with American ingredients, the result was an entirely new culinary world to be explored and exploited. People began realizing the possibilities and opportunities the culinary arts presented and began taking advantage of them. After the Culinary Institute of American was founded more and more career-oriented cooking schools were opened in the United States. Nowadays we have the FoodNetwork, and celebrity chefs like Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Legasse to look to for new culinary ideas and inspiration, but it’s safe to say that the humble beginnings of culinary arts education has definitely developed into a huge exciting industry full of many career opportunities.
Now that you understand what is culinary arts, you can see why the USA is the perfect place to study it: the culinary arts is a prominent part of American culture and history – and international students can use the blend of international cuisines to make flavors all their own. Since the first cooking school was founded in the USA the culinary arts has been growing in popularity and demand. There are many different learning possibilities for international students all over the USA, with so many culinary schools in existence you won't run out of options!