Algonquin College’s School of Hospitality and Tourism is gearing up for an exciting fall 2022 semester as the faculty prepares to launch an innovative new degree program designed for those with “a passion for food and a love of science.”
The Bachelor of Culinary Arts and Food Science program is the first of its kind in Ontario, and will offer a unique balance of courses that introduce students to cooking, culinary techniques and menu planning, while also bringing together the science end of food fundamentals and research methodology.
Students will focus on chemistry, micro-biology, critical thinking, and physics on top of the cooking, baking and prep skills they need to become chefs.
The individuals who take this program will be at an advantage because they will understand both sides of the culinary conversation, says Cory Haskins, the academic chair of Algonquin’s culinary and pastry arts programs.
“Typically, larger businesses will hire someone for food development, then will bring in someone new for the food science side,” says Haskins, who has worked as an executive chef at several prestigious locations, including Ottawa’s Rideau Club. “Our graduates will be able to speak to both teams, which could lead to a career in manufacturing, quality assurance, agriculture and more.”
An industry in recovery
The program, which will welcome its first class in September 2022, is already seeing applications flow in.
“We’ve had a really good start,” says Haskins. “A lot of students are requesting admittance from the high school level, which is encouraging to see.”
The program will turn students interested in food processing, restaurants and the agri-food sector into “culinary mad scientists” by exposing them to innovative course material.
Students will receive a balanced education of business skills – such as communication, food service management and statistics – and culinary skills with a scientific twist – such as food chemistry, sensory evaluation and nutrition.
By the end of the four years, students will have had the opportunity to create real products and will have knowledge of how to scale to market.
Connections with local and country-wide organizations such as Ottawa Public Health and Farm Boy, along with paid summer co-op placement opportunities will provide students with industry connections and real-world experience.
“A small restaurant may have an interesting sauce and a graduate from our program could come in and help them take it to market to be sold at restaurants and grocery stores,” he says. “As graduates are exiting the program, they’re in a situation to help businesses add value to what they’re currently serving.”
The unveiling of the program is also timely as much of Ottawa’s tourism and hospitality sector continue to progress down the road to recovery.
As Haskins says, now is the best time for this innovative program to begin training students for a booming post-pandemic tourism and hospitality sector.
“During the pandemic, the hospitality industry suffered greatly due to the loss of jobs and business, but it will rebound,” he says. “Graduates from this program will definitely have amazing prospects in the future and businesses coming out of the pandemic will have fresh new talent to tap into.”
For more information on the new Bachelor of Culinary Arts and Food Science program visit Algonquin College’s website today.