You love food. I love food. We all love food. Now that we’ve established this critical point, we need to discuss just how far you’re willing to go to study food. Yes, that’s right. You want to be a professional chef, or develop some sort of culinary expertise. But are you willing to travel to another country to really cultivate a love of food from some of the sources? Are you willing to stay home and truly understand your own culture?
Finding a Food Study Program
Start with the culinary school or college of your choice. When you are searching programs, ask if they offer study abroad or exchange programs. You may find there are several options out there. You may get to study in another country for a semester, earning college credits, or you may find programs you can attend after you are finished with your initial training. You are going to find that not all food study programs are about cooking. Many include lessons in history, sociology, business, politics, agriculture, and several other related topics. Some are simply to teach you more about ethnic cuisines. The type of program you choose will depend on your interests, your needs, and your budget.
Examples of Food Study Programs
While this list is not all-inclusive, and was chosen at random, it does give you an idea of the different programs available to you.
The Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy offers the Food Studies Program at Umbra. This is a thematic course that is made up of a series of classes that include the history and culture of food in Italy, sustainability and food production in Italy, the business of wine, and Italian language (which in most cases is optional). There is also an opportunity for a summer winery internship.
At NYU Steinhardt, or the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, you’ll actually find a master’s degree program devoted to food. Considered the first in the US, the program has two main areas of concentration – food culture (social, economic, and cultural concerns) or food systems (commodities, agriculture, etc).
If you’re serious about studying abroad, sites like StudyAbroad.com can help you to locate programs in all sorts of localities. Look under the food science and nutrition section of the site and you’ll currently see options in Spain, London, Argentina, Korea, Sydney, India, and Rome (and that’s just a handful).
Learning about food needs to be about more than cooking. It needs to be about understanding the culture and the way food is produced. Only then can you truly understand what people are really looking for when they want authentic cuisine. So start searching, grab yourself a new chef works coat, pack your bags, and prepare to enter some of the finest classrooms and kitchens in the world!