Have you ever wondered how to prepare a memorable menu, or perhaps how to masterfully present a dish to optimally stimulate the senses? All of this, and much more, is part of culinary theory.
Culinary theory has been in the making since the end of the Renaissance, when chefs who used to cook for nobility began moving from their posts in castles to inns and hotels in towns. Of course, they needed to figure out how to make a living and how to ensure that customers chose their inn instead of another chef’s. It wasn’t just about preparing the food, it was also about all of the complex logistics behind it.
And so, a science was born. To find out more about what culinary theory involves and why it’s important for graduates of culinary management, keep on reading.
Culinary Theory Includes Knowing How to Prepare a Stellar Menu
One of the things culinary management students learn is that professional culinary success is backed by knowing how to prepare a menu that keeps patrons coming back for more. The task of menu planning typically falls under the chef as the head of a kitchen.
Menu preparation involves more than just creatively thinking about taste, it’s also a technical process where the potential for profit needs to be taken under careful consideration. A pro tip is to plan for the seasons. Your key ingredients will then always be cheaper and you won’t find yourself unnecessarily chasing any down.
There is an Entire Science Behind Food Presentation
When planning the perfect menu, aesthetics should always be taken into account. Not only does cohesion between the appearance of a meal and the ambiance of a restaurant send the positive message that you’re crafting a memorable dining experience, people also eat with their eyes.
The aesthetics of a meal involve the art of food presentation, or processing and arranging food in a certain visually appealing way. Food plating – using special techniques and instruments to showcase a meal – greatly enhances appeal and is a fantastic marketing tool. Of course, before you’re ready to handle and plate your dishes, you need a food safety certificate to ensure you can do it safely.
Food Handling Courses are a Key Part of Culinary Theory
It’s very important to know how to properly handle and store food to prevent it from spoiling, something that could lead to the proliferation of food-borne illnesses. Without the important knowledge you can gain from food handling courses, you might face certain culinary disaster!
Most often you can’t actually see, smell, or taste the agents that can cause illness, so it’s your expert food handling knowledge that backs you up. This can include things like the temperatures food should be held at, how long perishable foods can be left out for, sanitization procedures, and what can be done with leftovers.
Professional Culinary Endeavors Also Need to Be Profitable
As a culinary professional, you should be seeking to keep your leftovers down to a minimum to maintain a profit, and that’s not all when it comes to fiscal considerations. Knowing how to determine how much it costs you to serve a dish is important so that you don’t undercharge and effectively lose potential profit.
Figuring this out includes knowing your food cost – the cost of each and every bit of an ingredient on a plate – and your overhead costs. The latter comprise all of the costs of running your culinary operation not related to actual foodstuffs. Culinary management school can teach you how to figure all of this out, and have you well on your way to becoming a master of culinary theory!