culinary arts
Food science
what next
January 22, 2014

What Next? Food Science


Scott: In our What Next segments, we take a look at what comes next after high school.

Now, scientists get to do some pretty cool things, like studying the depths of space, discovering new species, and baking a perfect cake. Yeah,…cake. Well, Maggie Rulli shows us how the science of food is opening up a whole new world of career possibilities.

Maggie: Part laboratory, part kitchen. Notebooks next to knives. This class at the Culinary Institute of America is taught by a scientist…

Dr. Mark Krasner: So this is the class where we take chefs and we teach them to think like scientists.

Maggie: …and a chef.

Chef: Dr. Krasner is learning a little bit more about the lingo of food. I’m learning a little bit more of using the lingo of science.

Maggie: These students will be some of the first in the nation to graduate with a college degree in culinary science, a degree that teaches the science behind cooking and recipe development. Students take classes like Flavor Science and Perception…

Student: See how you get it in the back of your mouth.

Maggie: …and Culinary Chemistry, where they measure, mix and have to literally eat their homework.

This is my favorite part so far of culinary school. They take sampling so seriously, they even have a sample station with clean spoons and dirty spoons, so you can taste all of your homework.

Do you have to remind people, ‘Right now, I’m tasting soufflé but I’m actually a scientist’?

Shannon Haggarty: Yeah. Well, my friends say, you know, ‘Oh, well, you get to play with chocolate all day’. And they don’t really understand it’s a lot of work that goes behind it and a lot of studying and a lot of hours.

Maggie: Shannon Haggarty carefully tests and records deviations to the recipe.

Shannon: The differences in the control…

Maggie: Things like the amount of sugar used or how the batter is mixed.

Shannon: I mean, when you understand the science and the math behind what you’re doing, that’s when you’re able to take it to the next level, and that’s when you’re able to create things that people haven’t created before in the industry.

Maggie: Things like using science to create the perfect BLT.

So, you are using science to perfect sandwich construction?

Justin: Yeah.

Maggie: I don’t think there has ever been a better use of science.

Justin: I don’t think so.

Maggie: To complete their ultimate sandwich assignment, Justin begins in the lab.

Justin: It’s kind of emulsified.

Maggie: In the sonicator, sound waves are used to mix ingredients at such a high intensity that it forces things like oil and water – two things that normally never go together – to actually mix. Today, Justin turns his project into a bacon-flavored, egg-free mayonnaise sandwich spread.

In science, it is all about testing. And round one went…not so well.

Oh no!

So, it is back to the cutting board. And after a few more attempts…

I know it took us a couple tries, but we have a winner.

I can come help you with your homework any time you need assistance.

From sandwich construction to ice cream frozen tableside with liquid nitrogen, culinary science majors normally get a lot of job offers after graduation. But not only to become chefs.

So, what comes next for these students?

Well, they could get jobs developing new food products, like crunchier potato chips or jobs regulating food guidelines with the government. They could also use their knowledge to help mass-produce meals for companies, like fast food restaurants across the country.

On average, these jobs bring in between $50,000 and $100,000 a year.

To jump-start culinary science success in high school, you can take classes in math, like algebra and statistics; science, like chemistry and biology; and if your school offers it, cooking. Because one of the best ways to start learning is to just start cooking.

So in every single kitchen, science is happening.

Dr. Krasner: Every single kitchen, science is happening. You know, just working in the kitchen cooking something, turning something from raw to cooked is a scientific process.

Maggie: Proving that lessons in chemistry and algebra can add up to some pretty delicious homework.

This sandwich is, like, the size of my face!

Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.

Scott: If you want to know more about the food science class at the Culinary Institute of America, well, we have got the link for you over at


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