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15 Fun Facts about the Culinary Arts

Some history or trivia might surprise you about this field

Are you studying to be a culinary arts professional? Then you probably already know a fair amount about this field. Maybe you already have experience working in a restaurant. Regardless, check out this list of fun facts and look for items that you didn’t already know. Test some of your friends and fellow students about their knowledge as well!

1. Cooking was once considered the woman’s job. Today there are more men in the culinary profession than women.

2. Americans spend a combined $8 billion eating out on Valentine’s Day.

3. There are lots of culinary occupations besides being a cook or chef. A restaurant manager oversees a restaurant, hotel dining area, or cafeteria. A culinary design specialist develops the design of menus and the décor of dining rooms. There are also food writers, food critics, food photographers, and food stylists (who prepare the food to be photographed). Others become instructors or work in research and development kitchens, testing recipes, products, or equipment.

4. Chefs who want to be certified by the American Culinary Foundation must work at least 3 years as an executive sous chef, a chef de cuisine, or a pastry chef.

5. Fine dining was created in France. After the French Revolution, chefs that had worked for nobility were out of a job, so they opened up their own restaurants where people could come for a fine meal. Eventually this style of dining spread to England and then to the U.S.

6. Le Cordon Blue, one of the world’s most renowned cooking schools, opened in Paris in 1895. The school also had a long history of publishing a food magazine filled with recipes.

7. In 1879, the first U.S. cooking school (Boston Cooking School) opened in Boston.

8. Boston is also home to the oldest restaurant in the U.S: The Union Oyster House, which opened in 1826.

9. The first cookbook was published in 1896: Fannie Merritt Farmer’s Original Boston Cooking School Cookbook. You can still buy it today!

10. Other illustrious cooking schools abroad include Italy’s Apicius International School of Hospitality and the Culinary Institute of Bologna, as well as London’s Westminster Kingsway College.

11. In terms of early cooking shows, before there was Julie Child, there was James Beard! In 1946, James Beard (“the father of American Cuisine”) first broadcast his classes on the art of American cooking on television. Then in 1963, Julia Child introduced French cuisine to American society with her show, The French Chef.

12. The word “restaurant” is French for “restoring.” It refers to a rich, fortifying broth that French taverns would serve to their patrons.  The word “restaurant” was first used in English in 1806. Before that the term “eating-house” was used.

13. The first culinary school to conduct career-oriented courses on culinary arts was the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), founded in the late 1960s at Yale University. (CIA has since moved to New York.)

14. There are some food holidays you might not be aware of: September 9, National “I Love Food” Day, and July 25, National Culinarian’s Day, which specifically honors chefs and cooks.

15. The patron saint of cooks is St. Martha.

We hope that some of this trivia has inspired and maybe even surprised you about your chosen career field. We wish you the best of luck with your studies and in your culinary career!

This post is part of the Branford Hall weekly blog. We offer a range of career training programs at eleven campuses located in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. Reach out to us for more information, or to schedule a tour!