Does CSU Need a Culinary Program?

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Written by David Bost

 

With gourmet restaurants such as 7th Street Provisions, Mabella’s Italian Steakhouse, and Epic Restaurant located near the RiverPark campus, could CSU start a successful culinary arts program? If given a place for their studies we could, but should we? Absolutely not.

Only one college and one university in Georgia offer culinary programs—College of Coastal Georgia, which offers an associates of applied science in culinary arts degree, and Kennesaw State University, which offers a Bachelor of Science in culinary custainability & hospitality. The KSU degree isn’t so much about learning the art of preparing food and instead “emphasizing areas such as resource conservation, food, nutrition, and essential business skills/abilities,” according to the KSU degree catalog. Coastal, on the other hand, is a true Culinary Arts Program. It is the only culinary program in the University System of Georgia with an American Culinary Federation accreditation.

Out of the 28 universities and colleges across the state, why does only one have a thriving Culinary Arts program? Here, the answer is Columbus Technical College, which offers a degree in culinary arts. If CSU were to start a culinary program, we would have to compete with CTC for students—which we already do for nursing—and CTC holds several advantages. Technical colleges are based more on learning a skill or trade. This requires less core and general education classes, which results in faster graduation for students. Another edge is that CTC has more affordable tuition. If you take twelve credit hours at CTC, you will pay roughly $1400; however, the same number of credit hours at CSU amounts to about $3,100, not including meal plans and housing. This is all assuming a chef has even attended a secondary education institution.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor, most chefs only hold a high school diploma—and that’s okay. Writing a paper or using college algebra are skills that would rarely, if ever, be used by a chef. The fact that most culinary programs are offered by technical colleges makes sense; after all, it is the learning of a skill, versus the long and arduous task of getting a liberal arts education.

However, that doesn’t mean that CSU is incapable of bringing a culinary-centered program to campus. CSU offers two year degrees and certifications, but with our higher cost per credit hour, and CTC offering a two year program just minutes away, a two year degree just does not make any sense. There may not be enough material to fill up a fouryear degree track with just core classes and cooking.

So, why not add everybody’s favorite subject—science? Classes offered could teach the psychology of eating or the most artistic way to present food along with business classes to help these new chefs start their own businesses. Perhaps work study positions could be made to staff the Cougar Café and Rankin Den, since the food on campus can use all the help it can get.