The Art Institute of Portland

The Art Institute of Portland offers programs in Advertising, Design Management, Design Studies, Design Visualization, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Apparel Accessory Design, Apparel Design, Fashion Marketing, Digital Film & Video, Game Art & Design, Media Arts & Animation, Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, Visual & Game Programming, Web Design & Interactive Media, Culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry, and Culinary Management.
Learn more about The Art Institute of Portland

R&D Chefs Mix Culinary Art and Food Science

As food and cuisines evolve, so does the role of the research and development (R&D) chef.

The R&D phase of food development includes everything from concept and testing to commercialization. Research chefs work for manufacturers, flavor/ingredient suppliers, retailers, and restaurants.

In the old world of R&D, a chef would prepare a recipe and then hand over the new product to the food scientist who ran the testing lab, according to Laird Livingston, academic director for Culinary Arts at The Art Institute of Ohio – Cincinnati. The food scientist would then figure out how to make the product safe and shelf-stable. There was little interaction between chef and scientist.

But, things have changed. Now, food manufacturers and restaurants are not just looking for food scientists to experiment with different formulas until one wins. Test kitchens are becoming more business savvy and strategic, and chefs and food scientists are collaborating to work on quality products.

“All major food manufacturers have corporate chefs now,” Livingston says. “[Food companies] want culinary grads because of the creativity, and they actually work with food. They don’t want just food scientists.”

The dynamics of the culinary R&D field have changed in line with more sophisticated preparation methods. Manufacturers and restaurants have expanded their offerings to meet demands for diverse flavors and healthier ingredients. As always, they also have to consider factors such as shelf life, production, and distribution.

“We are seeing larger companies hire chefs to drive the quality of product; for example, Frito-Lay has worked on new flavors and has a whole line of potato chefs,” tells Anneliese Doyle, director of marketing and public relations for the Research Chefs Association, an organization of food professionals who provide culinary and technical information for the food industry. “So chefs really work with how to pin down the right flavor and take it to a new level.”

Research chefs don’t just come up with new concepts, but also use their creativity to reformulate existing products.

“Whether it is a ban on an ingredient like trans fat or if a company just doesn’t want to use a certain ingredient anymore, the chefs have to reformulate that product,” Doyle explains. “This is why someone with culinary arts knowledge is needed. They know how to add and substitute ingredients without changing much of the flavor.”

Livingston, who also works as a corporate chef for Campbell’s Soup Company, says the creative energy that comes from the interaction between chef and food scientist can produce delicious results.

“Chefs are trained to understand food flavors and textures. Food scientists are educated in chemistry, biology, and nutrition,” he says. “The combination of these skills is what produces the innovative products and meals on the market.”

Collaboration between chef and food scientist is something promoted by the Research Chefs Association, which has pioneered the discipline of Culinology ® – the blending of culinary arts and the science of food.

Culinology, Doyle says, is a way to enhance the overall quality of food. It allows chefs and scientists to bring together the latest ideas, ingredients, and appliances to design new food experiences.

“Traditionally, people were trained either as chefs or food scientists,” Doyle says. “We promote a multidisciplinary approach in which chefs learn food science and food scientists learn culinary skills.”

The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes offers courses designed to keep pace with the ever-changing food industry and produce well-rounded chefs, Livingston says.

“The R&D course is set up as a lab where students have a panel and analyze recipes,” he says. “In our courses, we teach students how to modify recipes and formulate for special dietary needs. This is a skill they would need should they enter a research and development career.”

Read the entire article HERE

Bookmark and Share


Leave a Reply




Roy Tanck's Flickr Widget requires Flash Player 9 or better.

AIPD Flickrstream

AIPD 2010 - 2011 CALENDAR


9.3.10 September Holiday

9.6.10 Labor Day

11.25 & 11.26.10 Thanksgiving

12.23 & 12.24.10 Winter Holiday

12.31.10 New Years Eve


Summer 2010
7.12.2010 - 9.25.2010

Fall 2010
10.4.2010 - 12.18.2010

Winter 2011
1.10.2011 - 3.26.2011

Spring 2011
4.4.2011 - 6.18.2011

Summer 2011
7.11.2011 - 9.18.2011


Runway shots may be seen HERE

Backstage and pre-show shots may be seen HERE

Paparazzi and red carpet shots may be seen HERE