Food Science vs Culinary Art - My Food Job Rocks! (2022)

Back in high school, I thought I was going to become a chef. I started to watch cooking shows, I starterd to cook for my friends at school every Wednesday, and I started taking cooking classes at community college. At one point, I took an afternoon class at my community college, where I got to wear a chef’s suit and create dishes every week.

The Food Network convinced me that the chef’s life is glamorous and I could be famous or something, but I’d have to work hard. How hard? Perhaps 50+ hours a week, on your feet, and low pay for 10 years.

I recall being dead set on being a chef, which I could have done if I went to community college. Perhaps it was my bad experience with the culinary class I took that made me think of a different option. Either way, after a few hours of googling, I read up on food science, didn’t understand what it meant, and started to just put that as my default major, because all other majors seemed boring to me. For the schools that didn’t have food science, I chose business like most people who have no idea what they’re doing with their life.

I’m not sure what convinced me to go to college, I remember not being too excited on choosing a place, and only applied to like, 5 schools in California. I think it was because I had the grades so it was worth a shot.

Either way, I got into food science and have been in the food industry creating products for a few years. It’s been a wild ride.

After talking to many chefs with an extensive work history, I’ve gathered enough information to share with you on the difference between being a food scientist and being a chef. The pros and cons of each, and the potential future of each profession.

Food Science

A food scientist can get their degree in 4 years and go off and running. The 5-figure degree is considered a good investment if you didn’t waste your life in college.

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Within food science, the factors that are most important to drill through your head are Food Safety, Food Processing, and Food Statistics. These are the intermingled factors that make you a specialized expert in Food Science.

The food industry’s main goal is to provide safe and affordable food for everyone. In the past, one can argue this is the only thing that matters. When you learn what water activity is, or the reason why retort is so efficient, or the purpose of a difference test versus a description test, these are tools the average person doesn’t know, therefore you become an expert with the knowledge that is uncommon to the general public.

Food Science vs Culinary Art - My Food Job Rocks! (2)

I pick out 5 pieces of content from the latest food industry news to the greatest new products and leave my snarky comments every week.

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Product Development is considered a capstone of all of these lessons as you have to consider making a good product with cost, equipment, and safety constraints, with an amazing amount of confidence that your 10 tons of products won’t be ruined after 3 months in storage.

This is something a chef does not have to deal with.

The pros of having a degree in Food Science is that it’s a pretty niche degree and you can get a job with less competition than your peers. However, product development is kind of put on a pedestal when it comes to really comfy jobs so you might need to work a bit on that. However, there are plenty of other jobs in the food industry where you can go to and be happy.

Culinary Arts

If you’ve ever talked to a successful chef, perhaps you notice an aura of confidence that they know what they’re doing. Of course, they do, they’ve spent most likely a decade working on their craft, working insane hours creating and perfecting the same set of dishes over and over again.

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A huge debate I dealt with when deciding to potentially pursue the culinary path was to choose culinary school versus staging, or apprentice. I almost had an in with a chef at Lafayette, but it fell through.

There are many articles that doubt the validity of going to culinary school, and most schools are either bankrupt or are under financial stress. The return of investment of being a chef in culinary school is tough.

Yet one can argue that even a college education is a bad investment. Colleges don’t go bankrupt because, well, college is expensive and that money goes somewhere.

As we’ve discussed time and time again on My Food Job Rocks, education is what you make of it.

Whether or not you decide to get educated, that is not even half the effort it takes to be moderately successful. You have to work hard to even achieve significance in this field.

Why? Well, to quote a great Pixar film, “anyone can cook”.

Because there is a low skill gap to becoming a chef and also holistically, less impact, it is a job that can be exploited to being “stuck”. Making it as a chef is hard, and can be categorized as being as difficult as having someone buy your music, or auditioning for a role on TV.

Musicians and actors are exploited in the same way as chefs. They have to work really hard at their craft to get noticed, and the small funnel of people who are noticed will fight to the death to get to stardom. Some even make shows out of it.

Yet you can still fall in love with music as an audio engineer and you can still enjoy being in the movie industry by working on sets, or even costumes.

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When it comes to career paths, becoming a chef is hard to get to a livable wage. But there’s another way.

How They Are Both Slowly Merging Together

Similar to the most popular article on My Food Job Rocks, culinary is merging with food science.

The main reason is that food as a cultural icon is much more important than it was in the past. In the past 50 years, average citizens can now be exposed to is not only safe and affordable, but also can be shipped from Japan, make you lose weight, and taste things you’ve never tasted before.

Therefore the food industry is looking into the culinary arts to unlock potential flavors.

For the chef, this means you can get a stable, corporate job doing what you love. If a degree is required, then a food science degree only takes 4 years for a BS (2 for associates) and as long as you connect the dots and apply the complex science with your culinary skills, you will do well. And if you do get a degree in a food science related field, you have a high possibility to become a Research Chef and join the RCA.

For the food scientist, there are still people out there who think we are these weirdoes with white lab coats. But now the food industry cares about taste. And because taste is an art, you can work to get better with taste. You have a chance to become an artist. Read cooking books, watch youtube channels on techniques, or even stage at a restaurant or go to culinary school. The creative lessons alone will improve how you think of product development tremendously and will make you irreplaceable.

What’s probably the best incentive for both the chef and the food scientist is that your art becomes scalable. You have the potential to impact more than any restaurant can ever impact. The joy you should receive for someone trying your product should be enough to wake you up in the morning.

The most famous mantra in the industry is that “taste is king”.

You are needed.

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FAQs

What is the difference between food science and culinary science? ›

While food science and culinary science both have 'science' in the name, the two fields are quite different. Food science concentrates solely on the biochemistry, biology and chemical engineering of food while culinary science integrates both culinary arts and food science.

What is the highest paying job in culinary arts? ›

13 high-paying culinary jobs
  • Restaurant bar manager. ...
  • Sous chef. ...
  • Nutritionist. ...
  • Restaurant manager. ...
  • Food safety specialist. ...
  • Food and beverage manager. National average salary: $70,745 per year. ...
  • Food technologist. National average salary: $72,381 per year. ...
  • Private chef. National average salary: $81,686 per year.

What is the difference between foods and culinary arts? ›

Both food science and culinary arts deal with food, but they have different purposes. Culinary arts focuses on food preparation for individuals, whereas food science focuses on bringing food to the masses. One is not better than the other, rather, they compliment each other.

Is cooking more of an art or science? ›

Cooking is both an art and a science, we can better understand as a science, but there is no way to remove the creativity from it. The art of cooking is not only pleasing our eyes but also the palate. The visual representation of cooking lends itself to art.

Is food science high paying? ›

The starting salary of an individual with a masters' or PhD degree in Food Science in India may range between INR 300000 to INR 400000 per annum.

Which is best job in food industry? ›

8 jobs in the food industry with above-average pay
  • Restaurant owner.
  • Food service manager.
  • Director of catering.
  • Executive chef.
  • Culinary manager.
  • Food safety specialist.
  • Regional restaurant manager.
  • Private chef.
25 Nov 2021

Is culinary arts a good career choice? ›

Is Culinary Management A Good Career Choice? Yes, as the hospitality & tourism industry re-emerges in 2022, the demand for certified culinary professionals is at its peak. The culinary management and culinary arts jobs will skyrocket even more in the upcoming years for sure.

Is a degree in culinary arts worth it? ›

Culinary School Can Open Up More Career Opportunities

By bringing an established skillset from culinary school – and indicating that you have the wherewithal to work hard and earn a degree – you can be a big draw for hiring chefs. Culinary school can also help prove your dedication to food as a career, not just a job.

Can a food scientist be a chef? ›

Some chefs start out cooking in restaurants and then return to school to pursue advanced degrees in food science. This rare breed of professional is able to offer the creativity of a chef with the methodical and analytical mind of a scientist.

Do you cook in food science? ›

“In a food science lab, you're not cooking or baking as you would in culinary science,” says Ted Russin, acting dean of the School of Culinary Science and Nutrition at The Culinary Institute of America.

Is food a science or an art? ›

Food absolutely qualifies as art on numerous levels. Growing, cooking, and the presentation of food all qualify as art in my eyes, although, not all food should be included.

What is cooking with science called? ›

Molecular gastronomy, or progressive cuisine, is a movement that incorporates science and new techniques in the preparation, transformation and artistic presentation of food. It is the study of molecules as they relate to the chemical and physical processes of cooking.

What is it called when you cook with science? ›

molecular gastronomy, the scientific discipline concerned with the physical and chemical transformations that occur during cooking. The name is sometimes mistakenly given to the application of scientific knowledge to the creation of new dishes and culinary techniques.

Is food science difficult? ›

If we talk about the syllabus, no one can tell you if it is easy or difficult. If you are interested in the course it will seem easy otherwise any course will be difficult.

Where can a food science work? ›

Food scientists mostly secure employment from food production companies. However, some work with government agencies that manage and monitor food/agricultural products. Others are seen in food outlets, animal care units, agricultural research organization, and hospitals as nutritional therapists.

Are food scientists happy? ›

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, food science technologists rate their career happiness 3.1 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 36% of careers.

Is food science stressful? ›

Depending on the profession, food science can be hard. If you're in the factory, it can be very challenging. What I've noticed to be the most important is company culture. Because in the food industry, you have to work with so many groups, you are dependent entirely on external factors.

Is there demand for food science? ›

Demand is High for Food Science And Technology. Salary levels are Medium for Food Science And Technology. For fresher average salary is 3 to 4 Lacs. Level of preparation for Food Science And Technology is Medium.

Is food science employable? ›

As a food and nutrition scientist, you could forge a highly rewarding career in the food, health or human nutrition fields with government bodies, private industries, not-for-profit organisations and charities.

What should I study if I love food? ›

If you love science and the health care field as much as you love food, you might be interested in working as a nutritionist or dietician in a hospital, school, research, or other setting. You can earn a bachelor's or master's degree in nutrition or a related field to get started in this fast-growing career.

What are 10 careers in food? ›

Common careers in food
  • Baker.
  • Prep cook.
  • Cake decorator.
  • Line cook.
  • Butcher.
  • Pastry cook.
  • Banquet cook.
  • Sushi chef.

What job should I do if I love food? ›

1. Personal Chef. If you love to cook for others but don't want to deal with the stress of a hectic restaurant environment, a career as a personal chef could be ideal for you. Personal chefs create custom menus for their clients, either by going to their homes to cook for them or by delivering pre-prepared meals.

What are some disadvantages to careers in culinary arts? ›

Potential Downsides to Becoming a Chef
  • It's a Physically Demanding Job. ...
  • Your Social Life Will Suffer. ...
  • Working in a Kitchen is Stressful. ...
  • If You Want to Succeed as a Chef, a Culinary School Education is Very Helpful. ...
  • The Pay Isn't Great, At Least Starting Out. ...
  • Your Experience Will Change Depending on Where You Work.

Which culinary degree is best? ›

9 Top Culinary Schools
  • #1: Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park. ...
  • #2: Institute of Culinary Education. ...
  • #3: Johnson and Wales University. ...
  • #4: Metropolitan Community College: Omaha, Nebraska. ...
  • #5: Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. ...
  • #7: Culinary Institute LeNotre. ...
  • #8: Kendall College of Culinary Arts.
1 Nov 2021

Is culinary a stable career? ›

The Culinary Industry Has Big Potential

The outlook for cooks and chefs looks bright. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for cooks is expected to grow 26% between 2020 and 2030. That represents nearly 600,000 new jobs in the industry.

Are culinary artist in high demand? ›

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that careers like this one are going to grow 9% between 2014 and 2024. This is considered faster than average.

Can you make money in Culinary Arts? ›

How much does a Culinary School make in California? As of Sep 17, 2022, the average annual pay for the Culinary School jobs category in California is $39,499 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $18.99 an hour. This is the equivalent of $759/week or $3,291/month.

Does Culinary Arts need math? ›

Though some people choose some fields to avoid STEM classes, almost every field has some mathematics in it. Culinary arts, though they are “arts,” are no exception. Culinary math is a broad descriptor for the fractions, multiplication, addition, subtraction, and conversions needed to be fluent and fast in a kitchen.

Can a food scientist work in a restaurant? ›

A food scientist can play many roles in foodservice, including menu R&D.

Which is better food science or food technology? ›

Both programs offer good job opportunities. You can choose any field depending on your interest. If you are interested in managing the process related to food processing then you can go for food technology and if you are interested in learning about nutrition then you can go for food & nutrition.

Who is a famous food scientist? ›

Louis Pasteur was a French microbiologist and chemist in the 1800s who made many huge advances in the world of medicine as well as food. After created the first vaccines for anthrax and rabies, he went on to develop a process for killing bacteria in food that we have been using ever since: pasteurization.

What are three benefits of studying food science? ›

You could find yourself working in marketing, teaching, safety, quality management, nutrition, sales, teaching and many other areas.

How many years does it take to be a food scientist? ›

Food Scientist Training

To get an entry-level food scientist job, you need a bachelor's degree in agricultural science with a concentration in food science. Earning your degree typically takes about four years. Basic courses include biology, botany, chemistry and principles of statistical analysis.

How many hours does a food scientist work a week? ›

Hours/Travel

Usually work 40 hours a week or more. Travel to visit food processing plants when enforcing government regulations.

What does food science do? ›

Food scientists and technologists use chemistry, biology, and other sciences to study the basic elements of food. They analyze the nutritional content of food, discover new food sources, and research ways to make processed foods safe and healthy.

What subjects do you need for food science? ›

Food Science and technology is an extraordinarily multidisciplinary field and involves the application of the basic sciences including physics, chemistry, the biological sciences, such as microbiology and also biochemistry, nutrition and engineering.

What subjects do I need to study food science? ›

Compulsory school subjects:

Mathematics, Physical Science and Biology or Agricultural Science (all in Higher Grade) in Matric.

What type of art is food art? ›

Food art is a type of art that depicts food, drink or edible objects as the medium or subject matter of an artistic work to create an attractive visual display or provide social critique. It can be presented in two-dimensional or three-dimensional format, like painting or sculpture.

Why is culinary arts part of science? ›

Science is an important and constant element in the culinary process. Foods are scaled proportionately, and combined in a certain order, to achieve desired outcomes. Chemical reactions occur in cooking through manipulation or emulsification. The control of heat and cold maximizes food quality and safety.

Is food science a real science? ›

Introduction to Food Science

Food Science is a multi-disciplinary field involving chemistry, biochemistry, nutrition, microbiology and engineering to give one the scientific knowledge to solve real problems associated with the many facets of the food system.

How do chefs use science in their job? ›

Chefs are using science not only to better understand their cooking, but also to create new ways of cooking. Elsewhere, chefs have played with lasers and liquid nitrogen. Restaurant kitchens are sometimes outfitted with equipment adapted from scientific laboratories.

What is cooking art called? ›

Culinary arts is a broad term that refers to the preparation, cooking, plating, presentation, and service of food. It applies to meals and their components – like appetizers, side dishes, and main courses – rather than desserts or breads.

What does a Gastronomist do? ›

Gastronomist is a professional who is specialized in the art of preparing, sampling and cooking various items and recopies of food. These rare professionals are highly skilled and innovative.

Is gastronomy a science? ›

Similar to 'molecular biology', molecular gastronomy is a scientific discipline that looks for the mechanisms of phenomena occurring during dish preparation and consumption. As with any other scientific discipline, it can have many applications.

What are the 14 examples of gastronomy? ›

14 Examples of Gastronomy
  • Cultivation. Gastronomy isn't farming but involves knowledge around how food is cultivated including terroir, appellation and what processes and chemicals are involved.
  • Selection. ...
  • Nutrition & Diet. ...
  • Sustainability. ...
  • Preparation. ...
  • Molecular Gastronomy. ...
  • Technical Gastronomy. ...
  • Presentation.
11 May 2018

What is a cooking person called? ›

A cook is sometimes referred to as a chef, although in the culinary world, the terms are not interchangeable. Cooks' responsibilities include preparing food, managing food stations, cleaning the kitchen, and helping the chefs.

What is meant by culinary science? ›

Definition: A program that focuses on the blending of food science and the culinary arts and that prepares individuals to work as research chefs and related research and development positions in the food industry.

Can a food scientist be a chef? ›

Some chefs start out cooking in restaurants and then return to school to pursue advanced degrees in food science. This rare breed of professional is able to offer the creativity of a chef with the methodical and analytical mind of a scientist.

Which job is best in food science? ›

What Can You Do With a Food Science Degree?
  • Food scientist/technologist. ...
  • Nutritional therapist. ...
  • Quality assurance manager. ...
  • Chef. ...
  • Marketing manager. ...
  • Procurement/purchasing manager. ...
  • Toxicologist.

What are the 4 main topics of food science? ›

Food safety and microbiology. Food engineering. Food processing technologies. Product development.

Is food science easy? ›

Depending on the profession, food science can be hard. If you're in the factory, it can be very challenging. What I've noticed to be the most important is company culture. Because in the food industry, you have to work with so many groups, you are dependent entirely on external factors.

Is a degree in food science worth it? ›

Graduates of food science degree programs will find the most lucrative opportunities in food manufacturing, research and development, and government agencies.

Can a food scientist work in a restaurant? ›

A food scientist can play many roles in foodservice, including menu R&D.

Is food science difficult? ›

If we talk about the syllabus, no one can tell you if it is easy or difficult. If you are interested in the course it will seem easy otherwise any course will be difficult.

Which country is best for food science jobs? ›

Five countries claim 50% of the world top 300 Food Science & Technology universities:
  • China, 52 or 17.3%.
  • United States, 31 or 10.3%.
  • Spain, 27 or 9%.
  • Italy, 22 or 7.3%.
  • Brazil, 17 or 5.7%.
30 Aug 2019

Are food scientists happy? ›

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, food science technologists rate their career happiness 3.1 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 36% of careers.

What are 10 careers in food? ›

Common careers in food
  • Baker.
  • Prep cook.
  • Cake decorator.
  • Line cook.
  • Butcher.
  • Pastry cook.
  • Banquet cook.
  • Sushi chef.

What job should I do if I love food? ›

5 careers for people who love food
  • Chef or head cook. This may seem like an obvious dream career choice for a food lover, and it's not unattainable. ...
  • Food scientist. Ever heard of a food scientist or technologist? ...
  • Dietician or nutritionist. ...
  • Food journalist or restaurant critic. ...
  • Food marketing strategist.
27 Dec 2018

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