Monday, October 11, 2010

A Brief History of Culinary Arts in America

Food is something that has always been and will continue to be a big part of our daily life. We learn new cuisines and some of us even go to school or college to get a diploma or degree in culinary arts. The fact that we always needed food is easy to see but when and where did we start to care about the different types of taste, presentation and aspect of the food; let's explore the history of culinary arts.

The Early Days of Culinary Arts in America
The original 1896 cookbook by
Fannie Merrit Farmer

Fannie Merrit Farmer
The history of culinary arts dates back all the way to the 1800s when the very first cooking was teaching the art of American cooking as well as preparing their students to pass on their knowledge to others in turn. The first cookbook ever written was by Fannie Merrit Farmer in 1896 who also attended the Boston cooking school and whose book is still used as reference even today.

James Andrew Beard
The next step in the history of culinary arts was through the television where in 1946 James Beard held regular cooking classes on the art American cooking who is also known as the grandfather of cooking of the American Cuisine. The French cuisine was brought to life in the American society by Julia Child in around the 1960s through the radio. 

Julia Child

Later, the Culinary Institute of America or CIA was founded and the first of its kind in its country to hold career-based courses on the art of cooking. The location of the Institute was first in the campus of Yale University in Connecticut. which was moved in 1972 to New York.

Ever Wondered What The Word 'Chef' Means?

Chef is a French word which means 'chief of head' but generally used to refer to a person who cooks. In the cooking industry, a Chef is usually the head of the kitchen, he or she sets the menus and supervises how they are cooked. The ranks of the kitchen go as follows:

 Executive Chef - Is the one in charge of the kitchen, menus, overall food taste, appearance and presentation. All the signature dishes the restaurant produces will be created by this person.

Chef de cuisine - Usually the same level as the Executive Chef and will sometimes create the signature dishes for the restaurant as well. The Chef de cuisine also serve as the representative if the Executive Chef is not present.

Sous Chef - Usually the assistant to the Executive Chef and they usually do the jobs given directly by the Executive Chef  such as supervising and cooking of special dishes or helping with creating the signature dishes.

Chef de partie - When translated, it means 'station chef'; in large restaurants or hotels, there are buffets and different types of lines which produce and serve food at the same time. A qualified chef usually is designated for this purpose. 

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