What is Culinary Nutrition?

by Angela Puma
If you are interested in the art of cooking and the science of nutrition, then pursuing a degree in culinary nutrition may interest you. A culinary nutrition degree program combines classes evaluating food on a scientific level with classes on food preparation. After graduation, students have a range of career opportunities including becoming a personal chef, a nutrition consultant, or a research chef.

The Science

Nutritional science is the study of how food interacts with the human body on a biological level. This includes detailing the body’s metabolic process, or how food is broken down and used by the body. Classes in nutritional science will cover this process in detail. They will also discuss how different types of nutrients, such as carbs, fats, and proteins, are used. Nutritional science also goes into how food can affect the long run health and performance of the body.

The Art

Culinary arts is an applied study that includes cooking techniques, styles and recipes. Culinary classes help students refine their skills and become knowledgeable in their areas of interest. Students will learn classic and modern techniques as well as develop a knowledge and appreciation for the history of culinary arts. In addition, students are taught the basics of kitchen and food management.

Personal Chef Career Profile

After obtaining a degree in culinary nutrition, your skill set will be in demand by those seeking a personal chef. Many potential clients will seek a chef with a background in culinary nutrition because they have special dietary needs such as food allergies or other health issues. Personal chefs develop and prepare customized menus for their clients.

Nutrition Consultant Career Profile

Nutrition consultants give advice towards the creation of nutritious menus based on their education and current research in the field. In most cases, a license is required to practice. Nutritional consultants can work privately, developing meal plans for individual clients. They can also find jobs in the fitness industry. Nutrition consultants can also work for government institutions, or school systems, developing balanced menus for employees and students.

Research Chef Career Profile

Research chefs work in product research and development for food manufacturers and restaurant chains. It is important that they are knowledgeable about both nutrition and culinary skills in order to create dishes that meet with the requirements of their employers. Research chefs are often employed by large corporations to develop product and menu items. They’re projects may include cutting calories from a classic recipe, integrating preservatives into packaged food, or creating a dish for a restaurant that is both delicious and visually pleasing. Research chefs must also be able to develop recipes within time and budget constraints.

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