By Kim Shambrook, Kendall’s Interim President
Wherever there’s food, a culinary student has a job. Consider a few of the more traditional options: executive chef, pastry chef, private chef or caterer. But—and I want to emphasize this—there is so much more, including food stylists, food science (research and development), and restaurant and food consulting. Our students are also qualified to run away and join the circus or take a nonstop vacation on a cruise ship (to cook, of course).
What I love about the culinary industry is that the options are so vast and they keep expanding. Kendall purposefully employs forward-thinking chefs as instructors. They are in charge of fostering a creative environment where budding chefs learn to create their own ideas, their own dishes. Kendall’s kitchens are safe spaces for experimentation and radical ideas. Our faculty are continually honing their own skills through continuing education, community outreach, coaching and judging competitions. As lifelong learners, they share these relevant experiences with our students.
This hot bed of creativity extends far beyond our classrooms. It’s transforming the way we approach this industry. Consider one of the fastest growing demographics—our aging population. Baby Boomers aren’t interested in food that comes from a box. They are more knowledgeable about food and how it’s created, and increasingly seek out organic meals. An entire business sector should be created to cater to this demographic.
Overall, consumers have become more educated, which creates new job opportunities. They are willing to spend a little more for what they expect. There was a time when you went to the grocery store and the most educated person you may meet was the butcher—one employee. Today, many grocery stores have prep kitchens stocked with well-educated staff who make an abundance of delicious, gourmet meals.
Research and development is another major sector. One of our students examined how to help reduce hunger by developing a dried hummus that could be prepared inexpensively and distributed to third world countries as a major source of protein.
People are also gathering around the table to revise their approach to food. It’s not simply a place to eat a delicious meal, it’s a place to reconnect with friends and family—and create conversation that’s both topical and cerebral.
Our alumni, students and faculty have an opportunity to do so much by specializing in the culinary arts: It’s an essential life skill.
Tell me: What’s the most interesting career path you’ve seen in the culinary arts?