CULINARY SCIENTIST: COMBINING FOOD WITH SCIENCE

Have you ever tasted raw-chocolate flavored kale chips? How about birch tree juice or olive-oil infused water? And you can’t forget about the donut bacon sandwich.

Culinary scientists are responsible for creating these products along with a plethora of diverse (and some uniquely strange) foods that are placed on the menus of restaurants and lining the shelves of supermarkets. Some are hits and some are misses, but culinary scientists take their passion for culinary arts and their knowledge of food science and blend the two together.  They love cooking, and they use science to do it better.

Working in the field of culinary science has broad applications in the food industry and positions hold a variety of functions. This field requires professional experience, culinary training, and a science education.  Experienced culinary scientists are often known to serve in the role of research and development, needed in the test kitchens of large food companies. In these kitchen labs they research and create new products or work to improve existing ones by adding additional ingredients or changing production methods.

In the role as a recipe developer, culinary scientists must keep their creations in line with the company’s targeted market – such as weight loss, organic or gluten-free. It’s imperative they make the recipe enticing enough to encourage consumers to purchase their product, and cost efficient enough for the food company to produce it economically. Culinary scientists have even been known to set food trends with their creations.

Various magazines will also use culinary scientists to perfect new recipes in the company’s test kitchen. Whether food or lifestyle, magazines are always on the hunt for new recipes that will appeal to their specific readership.  Culinary scientists in this role will need to understand the magazine’s base audience so they can effectively tailor the recipe to readers’ tastes and preferences. Accessibility to certain ingredients, dietary restrictions, and the desire for easily prepared meals are some of the factors that need to be considered.

After recipes are tested and critically evaluated, culinary scientists will be called to work out any changes or improvements made to the original. Because of their familiarity with the product, they may also be asked to help discover the best methods to promote and sell it through booklets, pamphlets, cookbooks and even packaging.

Although culinary scientists need familiarity in food science, it’s imperative they are also educated in the culinary arts. Cooking school equips them with the skills and tools needed to experiment with the right blend of ingredients in the precise measurements to create specific recipes and new ideas for food products. A degree in culinary education will give them the required experience for the cooking side of research and development needed by our food industry.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Boston. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Boston offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Boston for more information. 

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures.  Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.