Food is about more than fulfilling the body's most basic requirements. While minimalists might argue that the only reason to cook is to keep oneself from starving, there are many who think of food as a beautiful opportunity for enjoyment. A culinary arts institute can help you maintain that balance between the body's needs and the body's desires, by teaching you how to prepare exquisite dishes while keeping the principles of basic nutrition in mind. A culinary arts institute helps you become a better cook by giving you a well-rounded education. Clearly, a solid understanding of the basics is important in any profession. Just as an artist needs to know the different brush strokes and a lawyer needs to understand previous rulings, a chef needs to know the basics of food preparation.
To this end, a culinary arts education will start with instruction in basic food preparation, laying the groundwork for more specialized instruction. The fundamentals of nutrition are also very important, as they allow a chef to put together meals that not only taste good, but also are good for the body. The human body needs certain quantities of vitamins and minerals every day in order to maintain good health; these nutrients are present in food, but in varying amounts.
In other words, different foods can be good sources for different nutrients, requiring that a person eat a wide variety of foods in order to satisfy his or her body's needs. The instruction in basic nutrition that you will receive at a school of the culinary arts will help you better plan meals that are both nutritious and delicious. These basic principles are the building blocks of the culinary arts.
Once you understand nutrition and the basic techniques of food preparation, you will be ready for the next level, where cooking becomes an art rather than a skill. This is the point at which a culinary arts institute will begin teaching more advanced skills, such as preparing cultural and international cuisine, and advanced confectionery. As you become a better cook, your education will teach you not only how to make specific dishes, but the principles of cooking and taste combinations, to be used in altering or creating your own recipes. Although basic instruction, such as simple cooking skills and the principles of nutrition, are an important foundation to achieving mastery of the culinary arts, there is a point at which cooking ceases to become a skill and is instead transformed into an art.
The job of a culinary arts institute is to bridge that gap, turning you from a mediocre cook into a culinary artist.
Andy West is a freelance writer for The Culinary Arts Institute of Virginia College. Culinard offers two outstanding culinary programs. For more information on one of the most prestigious culinary arts institutes in the U.S., please visit http://www.culinard.com .