As CIA students 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. Those pursuing a bachelor’s degree also learn to bring health and wellness to future customers through courses such as the Science of Nutrition, Flavor Science and Perception, Consumer Behavior, and Foodservice Management in Health Care.
“Health in food has never been sexy. But now it’s about foods with great flavor being naturally better,” says Culinary Dean Brendan Walsh. “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 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.”