Food for thought: Algonquin to launch four-year culinary arts degree program

Food preparation

Algonquin College is serving up a new program aimed at feeding growing demand for healthier food.

The school said Monday it is launching a new Bachelor of Culinary Arts and Food Science four-year honours degree. The college says the program, which will be offered through Algonquin’s School of Hospitality and Tourism, is the first of its kind in Ontario.

“The food and beverage industry is very large, and there is a lot of research and development and amazing opportunities for our students when they graduate in a number of different areas,” Cory Haskins, the academic chair of Algonquin’s culinary arts and pastry arts programs, said in a statement. 

“This is an exciting time for the college as we embark on a new style of culinary programming which blends food science and culinary arts. We are excited with all the possibilities that come with this ​– research, industry partners and connections, and the ability to help with sustainability.”

The college says the program will “combine skills for those who want to wear a lab coat and a chef’s coat, and is well suited for those with a passion for food and a love of science.” The college will start accepting applications for the program this October, and the first classes are slated to begin in the fall of 2022.

Food chemistry

Course topics will include food chemistry, food microbiology, sensory evaluation and food processing, as well as culinary science and food service management. The program will also focus on developing food products and enhancing the nutritional value of food and will include two paid summer co-op placements. 

Algonquin said it expects graduates of the program to be in high demand as major food producers and small, private-label companies alike look to come up with products that are healthier and more affordable for consumers.

According to Food Process Skills Canada, a non-profit workforce development organization, food and beverage processors will need to hire 56,000 more workers by 2025 if the industry wants to hit its growth targets. 

In a report released last week, the organization called on governments to develop more post-secondary programs to train skilled food sector workers and invest more money in R&D and commercialization of new technologies.