A new study by Culinary Visions Panel surveyed culinary educators and students about topics, techniques, and trends that are being taught in culinary schools around the country. 

Culinary instructors felt that local and sustainable are the menu development imperatives for today’s chef to understand. Classic preparation methods are important, yet modern cooking techniques are also on the curriculum. Today’s culinary students are learning about traditional and unconventional foodservice venues and working with ingredients from around the world to gain an understanding of authentic ethnic and ethnic inspired foods. Students are also being challenged to create delicious menus that hit important health and wellness goals.

Following are trends industry professionals believed were important to culinary students:

  • Practicing local and sustainable menu development
  • Understanding classic European cuisine and modern cooking techniques
  • Creating delicious menus that hit health and wellness goals
  • Understanding unconventional venues like food trucks and pop-ups
  • Working with a global pantry of ingredients to prepare a wide range of ethnic offerings

Culinary instructors and students were asked to identify the ingredients they cannot live without. They agreed on the top four items: salt, garlic, olive oil, and butter. Completing the list of the top five, instructors noted fresh herbs and students chose pepper.

“Culinary educators are in a unique position to have a significant impact on the menus of tomorrow through the knowledge and passion they share with their students. Understanding their perspectives give us a glimpse of trends to come,” says Sharon Olson, executive director of Culinary Visions Panel.

When culinary students were asked about their favorite meals to prepare, tried and true comfort foods and holiday meals were mentioned by almost everyone. Thanksgiving dinner, lasagna, braised short ribs with mashed potatoes, and soup were the most widely noted favorite meals.