Culinary Arts: an Art or a Science?

Table of Contents

An Introduction to Culinary, Culinary Art and Culinary Science

“Culinary’ – The word came from Latin Culinarius, from Culina ‘kitchen’ during the mid 17th century. As per the Oxford dictionary the literal meaning of something ‘connected with cooking or food’.

While the definition of cookery is defined as a chemical process, the mixing of ingredients; the application and withdrawal of heat; decision making, technical knowledge, and manipulative skills.

Before delving into deciding culinary is an art or science, firstly we need to understand ‘What is an art’ and ‘What is science’.”

What is a ‘Culinary Art’?

“As per Wikipedia ‘Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author’s imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.

Generally ‘Culinary Art’ deals with the innovative and creative skills of cooking. There are many artists who work as a Chef too and creates some decorative and attractive piece of art in theme banquets and exhibitions.”

What is ‘Culinary Science’?

“Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe’ – defines Wikipedia.

‘Culinary Science’ deals with the chemistry of food, taste development and application, and withdrawal of heat as well as freezing and chilling foods. ”

Culinary Art’ or ‘Culinary Science’

“Before beginning the process of cooking, we need to understand the different stages of cooking.

Firstly, ‘Mise en place’ means everything in its place, mostly dealing with the processing of raw ingredients. A simple piece of meat or vegetable can be shaped in many fanciful ways or maybe cut into different shapes as per the desirability of a particular dish. At this stage, the perspective of ‘Culinary Art’ comes in -there are many classical menus that require a definite shape for that purpose.

Any vegetables which need to be stuffed requires skill and patience to make them hollow or carve a cavity that can withstand the heat or cooking process to cook forcemeat. In the preparation of different salads, a vegetable or fruit is needed to cut very daintily which will be beheld by many during the selection of the same. At theme parties, many statues or sculptures are being created by great Chefs for attraction, which is completely art while creating those sculptures.

Secondly, Culinary science deals with the actual cooking of ingredients as per the standardized recipes. At this stage, shape, color, texture, aroma, and taste gets changed and most of the time this is irreversible. At the same time, a chef must be having a thorough knowledge of food science and nutrition and these are an integral part of Culinary Science. ”


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