October 3, 2019
Posted in: Culinary Arts

The History Of Culinary Education In The U.S.

Formal culinary arts schools weren't always an option for prospective chefs.

Formal culinary arts schools weren’t always an option for prospective chefs.

Although culinary apprenticeships have existed for several hundred years in Europe, the U.S. still has an interesting and rich history of culinary education. Anyone taking Austin culinary arts courses should try to understand how the school they’re taking classes from came to be. The U.S. culinary arts world has been deeply influenced by the rest of the world. Chef’s like Auguste Escoffier, Antonin Carême, Fernand Point and others had major effect on the types of food that gets eaten every day. These chefs laid the groundwork for culinary arts and their work is the basis for most of culinary arts education.

The first U.S. school in Boston
Founded in 1879, the Boston Cooking School was the very first school in the U.S. devoted specifically to the cooking of food. The school was a Women’s Educational Association of Boston creation with the purpose of giving women cooking skills that they could use both in and out of the home. This school helped standardize cooking practices and recipes, and laid the foundation for the culinary arts schools that would come after it.

The first American cookbook
A student, and later the principal, of the Boston Cooking School, Fannie Merritt Farmer, was the first person in the U.S to write a cookbook. Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook included over 1,000 recipes and plenty of tips and tricks of the trade. Farmer’s book was a major success has since been considered an essential reference for any in-home chef. The book brought many of the lessons that the Boston Cooking School was teaching to their students into the home of thousands of Americans.

The American Culinary Federation
In 1929, the American Culinary Federation was created. The federation was created by three different organizations that wanted to come together and build one strong organization for chefs and cooks. Since then, the ACF has always worked to support and promote the professional image of chefs and cooks.

Cooking classes via TV and radio
After WWII there was a demand for culinary arts and to help educate people, television and radio shows were broadcast. In the 1940s, James Beard hosted a cooking show that was extremely popular, and in the 1960’s Julia Child brought French cooking practices to America via radio and television. These shows and the many others that existed helped to educate people and popularize the education of culinary arts.

Culinary arts schools across the nation
Today, prospective culinary arts students have many options when it comes to gaining an education. There are numerous books and shows that people can learn from. While these options are great, many people still prefer to get a formal education.

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