NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Any food network junkie knows cooking is a science. For years, home economics has been replaced with human sciences.
And hospitality degree programs are as varied as all the available cookbooks.
The newest focus in Stephen F. Austin State University's hospitality administration program is culinary arts. With it comes a new culinary facility.
SFA's new culinary arts focus, hot out of the oven this semester, has an essential ingredient, a new commercial grade kitchen. Chef Todd Barrios says the upgrade allows him to be more aggressive in his expectations for students.
"The equipment is commercial grade equipment, so they're getting experience with the high temperatures, control of heat with the higher flames, so this is the heavy duty aspect of what they would be getting in the real world," Barrios said.
This space used to be two lecture rooms where students would sit at a desk, listen to a professor, and take notes. This way is definitely a more fun way of learning.
Despite the enjoyment, students learn quickly culinary arts is not a piece of cake. No easy A in this course.
"Our students cost out every recipe. They come up with the recipe," said Dr. Mary Olle, an assistant professor with the SFA School of Human Sciences. "They go to the store. They have to price it out. They have to pay attention to food costs, food wastes. It's the whole gamut."
Yet there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen as culinary arts has become a popular class for majors and non-majors alike.
They don't know of many university classes that end with what's called a "walk around" where you taste what's cooked. This week it was cake. Next week, it will be cookies.
Food presentation is a big deal with chefs, but come next Thursday it won't be the major emphasis. The visual impairment program is teaming up with hospitality for a "dining in the dark" event. Diners will be blindfolded. Experienced guides will take them thru a five-course menu to illustrate how other senses are heightened when sight is restricted. Tickets are going fast.