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Culinary Arts

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Topics: Chef
Food is something that has always been and will continue to be a big part of our daily life due to which we carry family recipes with great care from one generation to the other, we learn new cuisines and some of us even go to school and get a 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 us explore the history of culinary arts together.
The Beginning
The history of culinary arts goes all the way back to 1800s when the very first cooking school in Boston was teaching the art of American cooking as well as preparing the 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.
The next step in the history of culinary arts was taken through the television where in 1946 James Beard held regular cooking classes on the art of American cooking who is also known as the grandfather of the American cuisine. The French cuisine was brought to life in the American society by Julia Child in 1960s when through the power of the radio she entered all the kitchens nation wide.
Later the Culinary Institute of America or CIA was founded and was 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.
What Does ‘Chef’ Mean
Chef is a French word, which means ‘chief of head’ but is used generally to refer to a person who cooks. However, in the cooking industry a Chef is usually the head of the kitchen, he/she sets the menus and supervises how they are cooked. The ranks in the kitchen go as follows:
Executive Chef – Is the one in charge of the kitchen, menus, provisions and overall food taste, appearance and presentation. It is his name that will be carried on all the signature dishes the restaurant will produce.
Chef de cuisine – Is usually on the same level as the Executive Chef and will sometimes create signature dishes as well.
Sous Chef – This is usually the assistant to the Executive Chef and they usually do the jobs delegated directly by the Executive Chef such as supervising and cooking of special dishes or helping with creating signature dishes.
Chef de partie – The translation to that would be ‘station chef’; in large restaurants there are buffets and different types of lines which produce and serve food at the same time and a qualified chef usually is designated for this purpose.
Through the history of culinary arts there have been many positions created from Executive chefs to helpers who had to work their way up by working with the masters in the domain. Today, there are culinary institutes available from where you can be employed directly as chef de partie and work your way up from there. All through the history of culinary arts we have learn that cooking is not something that can be taught if you don’t absolutely love the job.

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