New option on the menu: Culinary science major awaits approval

Sarah Haas

A tasty concoction is in the works that will add to the menu of options for students interested in food science and the culinary arts.

The proposed culinary science major was conceptualized more than a year ago, said Pamela White, university professor of food science and human nutrition and member of the new major’s planning committee.

“We are trying to design graduates who have enough understanding of food science and enough artistic interest in food and food preparation to be able to work in food industries to create inventive, interesting and desirable food products that also have good nutritional properties,” White said.

The major combines aspects of food science and hotel and restaurant management to better prepare students for careers in the food industry.

“We saw a real need from the food industry to have students who were educated in this area of culinary science,” White said.

If Iowa State does create a program, it will be one of only a dozen around the country. The committee argues that Iowa State is the perfect place for the program because of its well-established food science program, White said.

After receiving approval from the food science department and the college of human sciences, the major must next be approved by the faculty senate.

If approved, one of the final steps is for the proposed major to go before the Iowa Board of Regents.

White hopes the major will be voted on by the Board of Regents in its upcoming April meeting, and then become available for students beginning in the fall of 2008.

To receive approval, the committee spent time creating and developing aspects of the major.

“We actually started a committee a year ago, but then we needed to find funding,” White said. “We wrote a grant proposal, and it just so happens that we were picked and then we were able to move forward.”

Thanks to the funding, the committee was able to hire a coordinator who has been working exclusively on the development of the major.

Along the path of approval, the major has received positive feedback.

“We don’t see a reason why it shouldn’t be approved because we have gotten a really good, positive response,” White said. “We already have students waiting who have actually just started out in the food science department anyway, with the intent of declaring once it has gotten through the approval process.”