51 Interesting Culinary Facts That Cooking Experts Should Know | Kidadl

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51 Interesting Culinary Facts That Cooking Experts Should Know

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The practice of cooking foods has been an important and indispensable part of human civilization for ensuring sustenance, but its development with time has rendered shape to a more refined culinary form.

Do you have the urge to try out new food recipes at the sight of a delectable meal served at a feast or restaurant? Then you should seriously consider donning an apron for a course in culinary arts!

In the modern world, a career in culinary arts is in vogue, and innumerable aspiring chefs take up the profession for the charm of it. With gradual research and studies on gastronomy and foods, a variety of new cuisines have developed throughout the world. The role of cooks and chefs has become more challenging. Chefs have different designations based on their field of specialization and culinary expertise. Some of them include the chef garde manger, sous-chef, commis chef, chefs de partie, and chef de cuisine.

Expertise in cooking doesn't necessarily mean just producing a tasty dish; it involves the depiction of professional skills while preparing menus, chopping and dicing vegetables, and maintaining proper sanitation throughout the process. Apart from teaching innovative recipes, a course in cooking equips cooks with the knowledge and experience of mise en place while it also teaches them proper food preservation methods. According to a survey, it has been disclosed that American consumers shell out more money in buying food from restaurants rather than cooking at home. Are you aware that vomit and saliva are used to prepare certain dishes? The Bird's Nest Soup is a very expensive recipe that cooks prepare by using the swiftlet's nest. The nest constructed out of moss, bird saliva, and feathers is cleaned and then used up to prepare the broth. On the other hand, honey is a bee's vomit because the nectar extracted from flowers is discharged from the stomach once the bee feels overloaded.

History Of Culinary Art

Did you know that the origin of culinary arts dates back to some two million years? It all started with observations and experiments of our ancient ancestors. So, without any further delay, let's jump into some fascinating historical facts about culinary arts.

  • The term 'culinary' has its roots in Latin, from the word 'culina' meaning 'cookstove' or 'kitchen.' 'Culina' itself has been taken from the Latin word 'coquere' implying 'to cook.'
  • St. Martha is regarded as the patron saint of cooks and servants.
  • Although early humans were not culinary experts as modern-day chefs, they were the first to introduce cooking with the aid of fire.
  • In a brilliantly written book, Richard Walter Wrangham, an English primatologist and anthropologist, has asserted that early humans tossed chunks of raw flesh into the fire and cooked it before consumption.
  • Others believe that humans first enjoyed the taste of roasted meat due to an accidental forest fire. They figured out that the roasted meat was more succulent and easy on the stomach than uncooked meat.
  • Gradually, factors like the invention of stoneware and earthenware, along with agriculture and the rearing of livestock, enhanced the various techniques of cooking.
  • Moreover, a class of professional and non-professional chefs evolved, where each contributed to the advent of new cuisines.
  • On the one hand were the first professional chefs who were hired by kings, priests, and aristocrats, while on the other were peasants and other working-class who cooked for families.
  • Do you know that world's oldest cookbook is from 1700 B.C.? It's the 'Yale Culinary Tablets.' These tablets recorded in cuneiform bear evidence of ingredient lists that were commonly used for preparing appetizing dishes.
  • Some experts opine that recipes of foods like sweet bread, vegetable stew, and meat were reserved for nobility. Although these ancient tablets don't have prescribed cooking methods, they offer crucial information about the food preferences of ancient times.
  • Initially, chefs were employed by the noble class, and they had to cook for kings and royal families. However, with the gradual decline of monarchical rule, they began to shift to inns and hotels, where they introduced their craft to the public.
  • The culinary arts field, in the west, evolved during the close of the Renaissance.
  • As legends would have it, in 1765, the term 'restaurant' was popularized by a soup vendor named Monsieur Boulanger, who had been catering to the healthy food requirements of customers with a variety of broths and soups.
  • This idea soon became popular, and the term 'restaurant' was widely used by eating establishments instead of 'hotel' or 'inn.' In 1806, this term was introduced in English, before which 'eating house' was popular.
  • In 1782, Paris opened the first fine-dining restaurant popularly called La Grande Taverne de Londres.
  • Antoine Beauvilliers, the owner of La Grande Taverne de Londres, is credited for being the first to introduce top-notch cooking with a well-decorated dining room, wine cellar, and smartly dressed waiters.
  • The first cooking school in the United States was established in Boston in 1879. In fact, the oldest U.S. restaurant also opened up in Boston.
  • 'Original Boston Cooking School Cookbook' by Fannie Merritt Farmer was the first recipe book that was published in 1896.
  • A Harvard University study has stated that daily intake of a cup of hot chocolate drink inhibited a decline in memory.
  • Do you love to eat cheese? Then you would be stumped to know that it ranks as the most stolen food!
  • Every year, more than 22 billion tons of cheese is produced, out of which about 90 million tons get stolen.

Tools And Techniques Of Culinary Art

Cooking is definitely an art! It's the art that involves the use of several implements and techniques to achieve precision in the craft. Ignorance about the various tools and techniques of cooking can prove to be a great disadvantage for any chef. Moreover, a chef's job can be extremely stressful at times, particularly when there's a surge in demand. Nevertheless, if you want to hone your cooking skills, then these tools and techniques are going to come to your rescue!

  • In French, professional cooks refer to the cooking utensils as 'batterie de cuisine.' These tools are made up of different materials like wood, silicone, glass, plastic, and others and each has its distinct purpose of serving.
  • The chef's hat is regarded as a 'toque.' It's an Arabic word meaning hat.
  • Just like a soldier needs to know how to wield his sword, a cook needs to master the art of wielding the chef's knife. This tool is utilized for slicing, mincing, chopping, and dicing vegetables and fruits. Moreover, handling this knife is not a cup of tea as it involves risks of cuts and injuries if not used with care.
  • Are you acquainted with the technique of deglazing? Generally, after searing, browning, or sautéing foods in the frying pan, the technique of deglazing is implemented.
  • Liquid-like wine or the remaining stock is added to the pan so that the sticking food particles start to loosen and finally dissolve. This delicious liquid can be preserved as a sauce for later use.
  • While dealing with eggs, cooking techniques such as boiling, frying, poaching, and scrambling come in handy as they're easy to prepare and are real timesavers.
  • Did you know that chopsticks that are common in Japanese and Chinese cuisine were originally crafted to cook food and not as a tool used to eat?
  • Pastry chefs need to be adept at the flute. If you're wondering, the technique of fluting implies embellishments and designs that border a cake or pie crust.
  • The chopping board is one of the chief devices in the kitchen.
  • Both wooden and plastic chopping boards are used by cooks, and it is important to clean up the equipment immediately after use as it can potentially become the breeding grounds for bacteria.
Culinary course teaches amazing cooking techniques and interesting food facts.

Famous Culinary Art College

Today, culinary arts is one of the fascinating career options to pursue in recent times. Currently, there are approximately 941,600 chefs across the globe. A course in culinary can extend for a few months to a few years. For instance, professional training in culinary arts generally takes up two to four years, but with a degree, you can serve as a specialty chef or baker, food blogger, food entrepreneur, photographer, chef manager, or pastry professional. If you're pumped up to get enrolled in one of the best culinary art colleges in the world, then don't forget to check out this list of top six culinary schools from across the globe!

  • The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts qualifies among the most prestigious institutions in the whole world. It is located in Boulder, Colorado, in the U.S. The main motto followed by this culinary school is the philosophy of 'farm to table.'
  • The Culinary Institute of America is, from time to time, considered to be one of the top culinary arts schools in the world.
  • More than 50,000 competent chefs, as well as professionals of the food industry, form a part of the school's alumni.
  • The main campus is situated in Hyde Park in New York, while its branches can be found in Napa and St. Helena in California, St. Antonio in Texas, and also in Singapore.
  • With its campuses spread across Paris, Australia, Bangkok, Canada, and the United Kingdom, Le Cordon Bleu is perhaps the world's most iconic institution where every aspiring chef wants to secure candidature.
  • Perfection and excellence in cooking are all that this culinary school vouches for. The school holds a special place in history for publishing recipes in its food magazine.
  • The Culinary Arts Academy situated in Switzerland is one of the most eminent culinary schools that, along with its variety of culinary courses, inculcates skills of entrepreneurship among its students.
  • It's also one of the most competitive institutions in the culinary arts field as it offers an annual intake of just 300 candidates.
  • The Institute of Culinary Education qualifies as one of the best choices among culinary schools. The school offers a wide range of culinary programs and courses to choose from, including baking arts, cake decorating, hotel management, and others. Also, students gain practical experience by working at local restaurants.
  • Another leading culinary school is the Westminster Kingsway College in London. The school has been operational since 1999, and with time, it has made notable developments in the culinary arts field.
  • This institution has provisions for youngsters (between ages 13 and 16) with little or no knowledge about cooking. Moreover, this five-day program costs about $141. Can you imagine your little chef in an apron presenting a dessert dish with a glittering smile?

Popular Culinary Art Books

Now, it's not feasible for everyone to learn the nuances of cooking at a famous culinary art college. So, how do you become a chef without enrolling in a culinary school? Even if you don't have a degree in culinary arts from one of the prestigious institutions, you can still take up a chef's job if you have the required training and knowledge. For training and practical experience, certification courses, online training, or an apprenticeship can help. However, the knowledge can be gathered from professional cookbooks, blogs, and books on culinary arts. Here's a catalog of some of the popular books that will offer you a wholesome experience each time you pick up the ladle or put your baking gloves on.

  • 'On Food And Cooking' authored by Harold McGee.
  • Jeffrey Hamelman's award-winning book 'Bread.'
  • Authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have co-authored a book titled 'Flavor Bible.'
  • Julia Child has written a book named 'Mastering The Art Of French Cooking.'
  • Michael Ruhlman's 'The Soul Of A Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection.'
  • 'How Baking Works' authored by Paula Figoni.
  • Anthony Bourdain's 'Kitchen Confidential' is a top-draw culinary book.
  • 'Culinary Artistry' authored by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg.
  • Michael Pollan's 'The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History Of Four Meals.'
Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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