Students who want to expand their culinary talents and pursue higher salaries in the growing culinary arts and food industries should check out the state's first Culinology® program in culinary science and food service management this fall at Texas Woman's University (TWU).

Texas Woman's University culinology student Michelle Tribble placed third during the Spring 2015 season of the popular television chef competition Hell's Kitchen, which airs on the Fox network. Photo by Michael Modecki.

The Research Chefs Association (RCA) has announced the designation of TWU as the first approved Culinology® program in Texas to offer students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Applied Sciences degree in Culinary Science and Food Service Management. Community college students with an Associate of Applied Sciences degree in Culinary Arts are automatically accepted into this TWU program.

In 2002, the RCA introduced this novel concept to the food product development community: a unified academic experience combining both culinary arts and food science training, giving students the opportunity to combine their knowledge and skill set to apply the Culinology® discipline — a blending of both fields.

Through RCA-approved undergraduate degree programs in the United States and Asia, students learn how closely the two components interconnect. These programs offer a well-rounded, interdisciplinary curriculum that focuses on culinary arts and food science, and also incorporates other elements of food product development, such as business management, nutrition, processing technology, and government regulations, to name a few.

"The addition of TWU's new Culinology® degree program is a huge win for the food research and development industry, who tell us that having a trained Culinology® professional on staff improves team efficiency and enhances product quality and increases new product speed to market," said Allison Rittman, CRC®, RCA Education Committee co-chair and corporate chef/owner of Culinary Culture.

Shane Broughton, chair of TWU's Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences Department, added, "We are thrilled to be accepted by the RCA for this special program that enables students to pursue two certifications: Certified Research Chef® and Certified Culinary Scientist®. These certifications provide the food industry with product development employees who are Culinology® practitioners — food professionals with a deep understanding of food science and culinary arts." TWU is one of only 14 universities in the U.S. with a Culinology ® program — the nearest similar program is in Louisiana. TWU has six agreements in place with Texas community colleges and is rapidly expanding the new pathway with others across the state.

Broughton said the new pathway has opened up a growing number of business partnerships that offer internships and job possibilities for TWU graduates with nearby (North Texas) food companies, including PepsiCo, Yum Brands, Pizza Hut, Valdez Spice, Tyson Foods and School Nutrition, as well as those across the state and beyond that are part of a multibillion-dollar global industry.