Institute of America Expands Health and Wellness Focus in Curriculum
Hyde Park, NY – As students at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) prepare
to become the leaders shaping America's future dining habits, they are finding more
plant-based foods and whole grains in the teaching kitchens than ever before. CIA
students pursuing a bachelor's degree also learn to bring health and wellness
to their future customers through courses such as the Science of Nutrition,
Flavor Science and Perception, Consumer Behavior, and Foodservice Management in
"Health in food has never been sexy. But now it's about
foods with great flavor being naturally better," says Chef Brendan Walsh, the
CIA's culinary dean. "Maybe our students have never tried red quinoa, farro, wheat berries, or amaranth. Tasting these foods
gives them a chance to be creative and see the possibilities of including more
plant-based foods in their cooking."
These additions to the curriculum at the world's premier
culinary college come out of the CIA's thought leadership conferences, such as
"Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives," "Menus of Change,"
and "Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids." At
these summits, industry leaders discuss wellness issues facing American
families and how chefs can be part of the solution. The CIA works with the
Harvard School of Public Health on several of these initiatives.
"The relationship between what we eat and our well-being is
now talked about in the mainstream medical community," Walsh says. "Eating can
be a preventative practice, and we in the food world can make a huge difference."
Not every recipe or regional cuisine lends itself to
healthier ingredients, though. In those cases, such as barbecue, the CIA teaches
that portion size and side dishes can help balance a meal. Examples of making
recipes better for you include replacing the cheese and butter in a classic
risotto with a white bean purée and vegetables, and introducing brown rice to cuisines
where white rice is a staple. Students learn the value of these changes, and
realize they can be done without sacrificing flavor.
As quality ingredients become more "center-plate," Walsh
notes that chefs will become less reliant on fattening sauces and will simply
use herbs or lemon juice to accent already delicious natural flavors. He says
employers are more aware of health and wellness, and want graduates who know
both how to cook healthier and why it's important.
Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image
Students at The Culinary Institute of America are working
with more plant-based foods and whole grains in the college's teaching
kitchens. As the next generation of leaders in the food world, these students will
be shaping America's future dining habits. (Photo
credit: CIA/Keith Ferris)
View hi-res image >
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 45,000
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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