The study of culinary arts has made great strides in not only teaching students how to cook amazing dishes using classic techniques but today, food technology is also playing a major role in commercial kitchens throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Everything from Sous Vide, cooking in a sealed plastic bag immersed in hot water, to molecular gastronomy which has to do with how different foods react at various temperatures, can be found in many modern restaurant kitchens.
In addition to various cooking techniques, food hygiene is an especially important factor for both the culinary arts student as well as in commercial production kitchens and factories. Foods can easily become contaminated if they are not handled properly. Meat needs to be refrigerated at the correct temperature, produce needs to be free from e-coli and other bacteria that can spread disease and illness, and cross-contamination in the kitchen can be devastating the health of its customers.
Food companies have strict guidelines that must be met to ensure that foods are handled properly as well as in their processing and packaging components; however, it is still common to hear of food recalls due to various food-borne illnesses and bacteria. Food production is a major part of the food supply not only in the U.S. but in many industrialized nations. Ensuring that the production of food, from its earliest harvest or slaughter on through processing and packaging follows strict regulations for safety, and quality products are essential.
Whether one is studying restaurant management, culinary arts, or some form of hospitality management, understanding the various forms of safe food handling, production and preparation can help produce an end product that will be delicious as well as safe. It is important to realize that food that is contaminated with some types of bacteria can go far beyond making people ill, it can be deadly.
Preparing delicious meals is often the impetus for studying food science and culinary arts, but it is essential to keep a strong focus on food safety. This can be especially true when looking at some of the latest food technologies that could potentially cause the spread of bacteria.