Foodservice Companies Can Benefit from Culinology®
According to J. Hugh McEvoy a.k.a. “Chef J”, “Culinology® . . . is the most important advance in food product development in the second half of the 20th century.” Culinology, the blending of culinary arts and food science, was a term first coined by the former president and founder of the Research Chefs Association (RCA), Winston Riley, in 1996. The birth of this discipline coincided with a growing demand for efficient production of convenience foods that resemble restaurant foods in taste and appearance. Culinology has application in many sectors of the foodservice industry, from large scale manufacturers to flavoring companies to independent fine dining establishments.
In addition to offering Culinology certification programs (one for Certified Culinary Scientist and another for Certified Research Chef), RCA has worked with numerous colleges and universities across the country to develop approved Culinology programs. In fact, many food companies now look to hire candidates of these degree programs. According to Stephen Kalil, Corporate Executive Research Chef at PepsiCo, “. . . [An understanding of Culinology] is a tremendous competitive advantage for the food service professional as well as the company they work for.”
Culinology can be very useful to foodservice given the demand for easy-to-prepare foods that also look and taste like something served at a restaurant. Cathleen Miller of Danisco, North America explains, “The food industry is changing rapidly to meet consumer demands, and these demands can only be met by the blending of food science and culinary. . . . The consumer that cooks at home wants to spend less and less time in the kitchen. So they want tasty, healthy food choices that can be rapidly prepared, or simply reheated. The foodservice industry also requires tasty, healthy food choices that can be easily prepared in a kitchen.” In other words, the combined understanding that training in Culinology provides of the art and science behind product development greatly aids creation of the convenience foods consumers demand.
More specifically, Culinology can be used to translate complicated food ideas in fine dining and ethnic cuisines to menu items for retail and chain restaurants. It can also improve the safety of food handling as chefs with training in this discipline have learned how to avoid contamination. Additionally, pulling together these two traditionally separate disciplines of food science and culinary arts, can improve the speed and creative flow of product development. As Kalil explains, “[Culinology] inspires collaboration between professionals in culinary arts with professional[s] in food science and technology.” An innovative new discipline, Culinology has wide application in food product development, particularly for foodservice.
Culinology® is a registered trademark of the Research Chefs Association (RCA).
Luff, S. (2004). Culinology comes to Clemson. Culinology, 20–23.