On September 30, the largest incoming class yet began its studies toward a bachelor’s degree in culinary science at the CIA. With 17 students in the class, interest continues to grow in the new major. The program has expanded from nine students in the first group that began in February and 13 students who entered in May. The program consists of junior- and senior-year studies after students earn associate degrees in culinary arts or baking and pastry arts.
The new Culinary Science Lab includes a professional kitchen with precision temperature cooking equipment and other cutting-edge cooking tools; analytical lab with centrifuge, rotary evaporator, vacuum dessicator, incubator, and more used to conduct scientific experiments; sensory evaluation room; and lecture hall.
“We get into the dynamics of heat transfer, ingredient functionality, flavor science,” says culinary science major Kristin McGinn.
According to Ronald Hayes, CIA associate director of career services, a culinary science degree opens many career doors. “Graduates with culinary science backgrounds are prepared for positions in some of the top innovative restaurants in the world like Noma and The Fat Duck and for research and development opportunities with PepsiCo, Nestlé, and Campbell’s. In fact our students have already been recruited by these big names,” says Hayes, author of Creating Your Culinary Career (Wiley & Sons, 2014). “Their options are as unlimited as their imagination.”
“I might get into flavor science, doing some consumer behavior testing; or I might look into the research and development side of things, working in test kitchens,” says McGinn, who began her senior year on September 30.
Culinary research and development can be a lucrative career. A 2011 survey by the American Culinary Federation found R&D chefs earn some of the highest pay in the industry—even more than restaurant executive chefs. They are highly sought after, both for the innovations they provide and the money they save for businesses.