Building the MIT of the Culinary World

photo credit: Wall Street Journal

With the nature of fine cuisine constantly and quickly evolving, a question arises as to how best to prepare future chefs. And one institute in the United States is determined to turn its institution into the “MIT” of the culinary world. The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) located in Hyde Park, New York, recently added a food studies undergraduate degree, based on the concept and belief that a more comprehensive focus is necessary for chefs of tomorrow. These chefs must be businesspeople, scientists, and may even someday shape food policy.

Unlike other food studies programs, CIA straddles both the traditional university setting and the kitchen setting.

While the movement sounds exciting, doubt has been expressed on both sides.

“The reaction has been “raised eyebrows on both sides,” said Marion Nestle, who founded the food-studies program at New York University in 1996. “Chefs who don’t have fancy bachelor’s degrees can’t see any reason why anybody else needs one.”

Read more about the CIA’s new food studies program here. What do you think? Is a bachelor’s degree necessary to become a top-notch chef?
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