Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

First CIA Culinary Science Graduates Enter the Food World

Kristin McGinn '14.

Media Contact:

Jeff Levine
Communications Manager

Hyde Park, NY – Ushering in a new era of advanced techniques and innovation for chefs, the first group of students to graduate with bachelor's degrees in culinary science from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) received their diplomas this May. The students entered the program in February 2013 after earning their associate degrees in culinary arts or baking and pastry arts at the college.

"The CIA culinary science major offers a unique perspective into the world of food," says new graduate Kristin McGin, who accepted an internship with McCormick spices. "The program uses a dual teaching style with both a scientist and chef in each class. Because of this, we learned the in-depth science behind food while getting lessons on how to create and balance flavors at the same time."

In the 15 months since McGinn and eight classmates began the program, interest has been growing rapidly. There are now 50 students majoring in culinary science at the college.

While a connection between cooking and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education may not seem obvious at first glance, it is a natural fit, according to Professor Jonathan Zearfoss, chair of the CIA's culinary science curriculum development team.

"Culinary science is truly interdisciplinary. Students use scientific methodology, math skills, and state-of-the-art technology to enhance their understanding of the culinary medium and subsequently the innovative foods they prepare," says Chef Zearfoss. The program is built on the CIA's foundation of core culinary techniques and traditions and consists of junior- and senior-year studies.

The culinary science major prepares graduates to ultimately achieve successful careers in the world's most advanced restaurants and in the research kitchens of leading foodservice companies. Members of the first graduating class have taken positions at Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, recently named the world's best restaurant; Firmenich, the world's largest privately owned flavor and fragrance developer; and doing consumer research at Campbell's Soup and food technology at Sweet Street.

"It already has been so rewarding to see real-world applications of all the principles I was taught throughout the culinary science program," says McGinn, just weeks after earning her degree.

Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images

Photo 1 (top photo): Professor Jonathan Zearfoss observing students conducting an experiment in The Culinary Institute of America's Culinary Science Lab. (Photo credits: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Photo 2: CIA Culinary Science grad Kristin McGinn '14. (Photo credits: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and culinary science, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. As the world's premier culinary college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines & cultures through research and conferences. The CIA has a network of 46,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.

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