Friday, 13 April 2012

Cooking as an Art - Education - College and University

The ability to improve upon an old recipe or create an exciting new recipe is a talent a very special few can accomplish with little or no training, but almost anybody with the proper training and a genuine interest in excellent food and its preparation can become an exceptionally imaginative chef.

There is a lot more to becoming a chef than simply following a recipe, although that is a critical first step in the creation of a gourmet chef. Good cooking can and should be an art. This art-form came into existence over a period of thousands of years since civilizations began to evolve. Due to diverse ecosystems and climates early people had to use the resources and technologies that were available locally. The Chinese, as an example, developed wok cooking as an answer to the scarcity of firewood. By cooking over a small hot flame and stirring constantly to prevent burning the food, the use of fuel was maximized.

All these ethnic groups developed diverse regional cuisines over the millennia by drawing on their local resources which to this day, define a nation's food taste preferences. With the opening of global trade, particularly with the New World, these regional differences became less and less obvious. Tomatoes which we associate with Italian cooking came from the Americas as did potatoes, peppers and corn (maize). Rice, wheat, barley and many other varieties of produce and grains not native to the New World are now found under cultivation worldwide and are used in food preparation worldwide.

This abundance of different foods has created an explosion of creativity among the worlds' cooks. Many examples abound. Tex-Mex. Creole, Cajun, Caribbean and South American are styles of New World tastes, while French, German, Italian, Middle European, Indian, Thai, Japanese and Chinese are more traditional styles, yet are always in a constant state of change and experimentation.

Nouvelle cuisine and haute cuisine are two terms that come to mind when we think of cooking as an art. These French terms are indicative of cutting edge methods involves the blending of these ethnic or regional food styles into sensational new dishes that will please even the most sophisticated connoisseur.Another facet of cooking as an art form is the visual aspect of presenting the dishes in an artistic and pleasing fashion. It has been said that we eat with our eyes and our nose as well as our taste, if this is true; a beautifully presented entre will keep the diner coming back again and again.Today there is also a call for healthful natural organic foods as well as a growing backlash against non-natural ingredients in the food we serve and consume. These factors present a creative challenge for all cooks and chefs to not only use fresh local products, but to prepare these products in tasty healthful recipes as well.

Employment opportunities will abound for those creative chefs who can utilize their own special touch and develop their talents for creating new and exciting eating experiences. They will find their future unlimited.

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