Institute News Main Headline

Know your food product: the foundation for success in culinary arts management

IFTM Lecturer Mr. David Wiley
中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

A Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts Management from IFTM opens doors to a variety of careers in various food-related fields. These range from culinary chef to restaurant manager roles, and to sommelier positions or jobs in food production. All such work requires a strong foundation in all things food and drink. The Food Product Knowledge course provides it.

Food Product Knowledge was previously 2 courses. Starting from academic year 2022/2023, it will become a 1-semester course, featured in the curriculum for Year 1 of the Culinary Arts Management programme.

The course provides students with “an overview of food, about different kinds of food of different categories,” says course leader IFTM Lecturer Mr. David Wiley. “For example, for different kinds of vegetables and mushrooms, we look into the difference between roots and tubers, etcetera.”

The introductory course includes lectures on the basics of sanitation, purchasing specifications, and about receiving, storing, and handling ingredients. It also covers the various preparation techniques that can be found in a professional food-production kitchen. Examples of the specialised vocabulary used in such work and how to read a recipe are also discussed.

While Food Product Knowledge is mainly a theoretical course, it provides undergraduates with essential information for use in practical courses that form part of the Culinary Arts Management programme.

Food Product Knowledge covers “everything from fruits and vegetables to meat, fish, and seafood,” Mr. Wiley notes. Students learn about food and about skills to deal with food, such as types of knife cut as well as some of the varieties of ingredient combination.

The course also involves “changing students’ viewpoints about certain foods, to give them accurate concepts. For example, a tomato is a type of fruit, but we always use it as vegetable,” states the IFTM scholar.

Mr. Wiley joined IFTM in 2017 after stints teaching on the Mainland and in his native United States. Before becoming a scholar, he worked for a decade in the hospitality industry.

He stresses that the Food Product Knowledge course offers students a broad perspective on food. That is because the Culinary Arts Management programme is not focused on training professional cooks, but instead emphasises management skills and knowledge related to operations in a professional kitchen setting. The goal is that graduates can be ready eventually to move into managerial positions, explains Mr. Wiley.

The IFTM scholar points out that Food Product Knowledge also provides undergraduates with an essential skill for anyone wanting to work in food and beverage: a sense of taste.

“Some students have never been exposed to eating different cuisines,” says Mr. Wiley. “But in the culinary world, we need to know how to ‘seize’ the food: for example, tell the difference between several types of salt or types of herb.”

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