December 3, 2015

A Guide to Cornell Food Courses

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Cornell is renowned for its “any person, any study” motto, and applies it through a variety of majors and course offerings, including food and culinary courses. Today, I will explore some of the food classes offered here that are worth sparing your space in your schedule for.

FDSC 2300: Chef’s Chemistry

Offered in the spring, this one-credit weekly food-science based cooking class is offered to only 30 sophomores and freshmen in the departments of Food Science and Nutrition and in the School of Hotel Administration. Those who are qualified must also obtain a registration code from the professor to reserve a spot. In this night cooking lab class, students learn the scientific principles behind existing and emerging food trends, and apply techniques learned into making things like liquid nitrogen ice cream, fermented vegetables and toffee. Each class includes a presentation-style lecture from culinary professionals like professors in the food science department, graduates from the Culinary Institute of America and chefs from Cornell Dining. Interested students should expect a nice meal at the end of every class and prepare for a grand feast of a final. For the final lab, groups are assigned different courses to enter into a cooking contest. This class challenges students’ knowledge on food pairing, cooking techniques and creativity.

NS 2470: Food for Contemporary Living

Whether you’re interested in learning about healthier alternatives to heavy desserts, or just want to enhance your cooking techniques, then this two-credit lab class is for you. As one of the few Nutrition courses offered to all majors (though dietetics students preferred) with no pre-requisites, this intensive nutrition lab class emphasizes on understanding the food ingredients and techniques involved in different food groups and applying the learned knowledge to real-life nutritional practices. Food science and nutrition principles, food safety, cultural variations on differing food groups and sensory evaluation are integral components of this course. The other parts consists of a major meal planning project where students plan a three-course menu that fulfills the Dietary Guidelines for calorie and nutrient requirements and a comprehensive lab practical exam.

Though the class has no prerequisites, it is highly recommended that students take NS 1150: Nutrition, Health, and Society as a foundation course.

HADM 2360: Food Service Management, Theory and Practice

It would be nearly impossible to neglect the School of Hotel Administration when it comes to food and beverage classes. HADM 2360, or what Hotelies call “Hotelie Culinary,” is one of the required courses all Hotelies take, usually during their sophomore year. After taking HADM 1360: Introduction to Foodservice Management, usually freshman year, students attend this combined lab and lecture class in which students are introduced to the practical side of food and beverage operations. Students gain experiences in recipe and menu development, production schedules, dining event planning and a five-hour practicum in the Statler Hotel kitchen. Compared to NS 2470, this class is more technique- and business-based and well-prepares students who aspire to enter the restaurant industry.

HADM 3350: Restaurant Management

Commonly known as The Establishment, this renowned student-run restaurant is a junior-level restaurant management course in the School of Hotel Administration. According to Chris Gaulke, the lecturer of the class, students “take ownership of a night in which they design an aesthetically-themed menu,” as well as coordinate costs, sources, purchases, marketing and “staff” (who are all students). In order to experience the comprehensive aspects of restaurant management, students are divided into two groups and rotate between front-of-house and back-of-house throughout the semester. The themed menu recipes usually originate from students’ family recipes or hometowns. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly and classy dinner for a night, Establishment might just serve you right.

NS 4880: Applied Dietetics in Food Service Systems

After taking NS 2470, HADM 1360: Introduction to Foodservice Management, and BIOMI 2900: General Microbiology, dietetics students can take this senior-level class as the epitome of their “foodie adventures” within the Division of Nutritional Sciences. For the past eight years, NS 4880 has conducted experiential learning labs on West Campus that culminate in themed dinners in West Campus dining rooms.  Through planning and executing these dinners, students develop skills required to operate and manage a foodservice program.  According to DNS lecturer Emily Gier, RD, “the collaboration with Cornell Dining and West Campus allows students to interact with chefs, administration and customers in a meaningful way. In the past semester, student groups have developed themes such as “Farmer’s Market” and “Dining with Dr. Seuss” with themed foods that are both delicious and nutritious. Everyone is welcome to sample and evaluate these themed dinners, and social media promotion is encouraged!”

From fun cooking basics and healthy cooking classes to upscale restaurant management classes, Cornell truly offers a medley of culinary adventures for all types of foodies out there.

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