The latest trends in culinary arts involve health, small plates, unique ingredients, and new culinary technologies. Your education program should include studies in new trends and traditional methods to help you take advantage of these hot spots in the food world.
Culinary Careers–Future Outlook
According to the National Restaurant Association, the United States’ 945,000 restaurants brought in $580 billion of sales in 2010, the highest amount seen over the past few years. Industry magazine QSR identifies some of the trends driving the industry, which you should keep in mind as you pursue culinary studies:
local and organic foods, sustainable seafood, healthful kids’ meals, tapas menus, new cuts of meat, artisan liquor
Culinary Trends, Technology, and Studies
Culinary trends point to three main features: health, small plates, and fine/unique ingredients. Another industry news source, FoodProcessing.com, identifies a different trend in the career: culinary technology. Of course, as long as there have been recipes, kitchen appliances and tools, culinary technology has existed. But culinary technology has transformed to fully embrace how science and technology affects the “taste, texture and economies of food preparation.” Focused on using the scientific method in the kitchen, culinary technology education programs might include:
sous vide (cooking in vacuum-packed bags), low-temperature cooking, transglutaminase (“meat glue”), hydrocolloids (which innovatively thickens, gels, and stabilizes)
A Glance at Culinary Careers
Food-service establishments come in all shapes and sizes. Chefs, cooks, and foodservice managers work for:
Full-service and limited-service restaurants, hotels/resorts, catering services, cafeterias, health facilities
Consultants are also present in the field. The Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) has grown to include 43 countries, and anticipates further growth, such as in schools and hospitals. New state and federal health mandates have pushed school cafeterias to offer better culinary options; many hire foodservice consultants to lead them. Food service consultants are also found in restaurants, resorts, and throughout the culinary industry.
For those who stay in their own kitchens, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects good job prospects. According to the BLS, chefs/head cooks’ job openings should be good, even with little job growth, because of high turnover. For careers in fine dining, competition will be keen, but those with the most education and experience should stand out. For supervisors/managers, the BLS predicts approximately 55,000 new jobs.
The BLS lists states with the highest concentrations of chefs/cooks; some might surprise you:
Nevada, Idaho, Alaska, New Hampshire, Hawaii
Even so, large cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, should continue to provide plenty of opportunties for culinary talent. Are you ready to tackle the art and science of culinary studies? Read about culinary education options here.