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Culinary Schools Adapt To Culinary Trends

by
CulinaryEd Columnist
May 19, 2011

American cooking trends of 2006 reflect the changing tastes of the nation's diners. The proliferation of the Food Network's shows, cooking schools, and celebrity chef cookbooks has opened America's eyes to a vast gourmet palette.

Diners want to try new tastes, explore unusual ingredients, and enjoy more ethnic dining experiences. Chefs have responded, building on traditional culinary education to create dining experiences using new cooking techniques, smaller portions, and ways for diners to sample a variety of menu items. These trends are changing the direction of many culinary careers as cooking schools teach their students to offer new and unusual menus.

Chef's Tables

Traditionally, few culinary careers involved much interaction with the general public. Only regular (or wealthy) patrons could talk to the chef about his or her culinary education, cooking philosophies, and that night's menu. This gap is no longer as omnipresent as it once was. With chef's tables available by reservation rather than invitation, diners are able to enjoy the chance to connect with a chef.

Thematic Menus

Culinary schools often teach students to specialize in one style of cooking, such as French or American. Many chefs have built culinary careers on fusing cooking styles and experimenting with new ingredients. Some chefs are taking their style a step further and focusing menus around one ingredient.

Thematic menus have long been standard in Japan and Italy, where cooks are more in tune with seasonal ingredients. American cooking schools now emphasize being creative and flexible with menus. A chef in New Orleans recently prepared an entire tasting menu--including dessert--around asparagus.

 

Small Plates

The "all-appetizers" concept that was once exclusive to Spanish tapas and Chinese dim sum has reached American shores as well. While a traditional culinary education may teach that more is better, chefs are finding that customers prefer to order mini-meals so that they can taste each other's food and sample multiple items.

Cooking schools have had to change some of their courses to accommodate this new culinary trend. Now, in addition to learning how to handle large batches of dishes for catering, culinary students learn the art of making small portions for sampling. Modern culinary education requires learning to make everything from tiny desserts that diners mix and match to "sampler flights" that test the range of a chef.

The Rise of Vacuum Sealing

Many chefs are discovering something they may have previously thought impossible: vacuum-packing food and cooking the sealed meal in simmering water can actually enhance its taste. Cooking school students might be surprised to find themselves working with a heavy-duty FoodSaver, but the results can be pleasing to patrons.

In Conclusion

The culinary industry changes in response to globally-inspired trends and customer demand. Take advantage of a contemporary dining experience and reserve a chef's table or try a themed meal. The variety and creativity of these experiences can create a memorable gourmet experience for both the culinary student and restaurant patron.

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            Culinary Arts
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Professional Culinary Arts
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            Culinary Arts
            Virginia College , Greensboro
            Good for Working Adults

            The goal of Virginia College lies in its responsibility to its students, the technical and business communities, and the general citizenry. We have a long history of offering new direction to students.

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            Culinary Arts (D)
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            Associate of Science in Culinary Arts

            Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience. 

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            Culinary Arts
            Get the experience you need to succeed in the exciting and fast growing culinary field at Keiser University - Center for Culinary Arts. We offer the flexibility of day or evening classes, experienced faculty, and small class sizes for plenty of personalized attention. Internship opportunities and financial aid are available for students who qualify.
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            • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
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