Gluten Free Culinary Student-We’ll See

A few of you may have noticed my recent posts about possibly going back to school but not just any school, my dream school from when I was in high school, Johnson and Wales University.  I have been looking at schools for a little while now for a nutrition program but there really isn’t much around us in that field.  One day when searching I noticed that Johnson and Wales has started a Culinary Nutrition program. This program blends my two goals. Below is a little blurb about the program and JWU.

Developed in response to industry and consumer concerns about food allergies, food intolerance and food-intake related diseases, the Culinary Nutrition bachelor’s degree is designed to produce chefs who know how to make nutritious food, and nutritionists who know how to cook. It is the first of its kind to receive accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE) of the American Dietetic Association.

As a student in the program, you’ll learn to develop sensory evaluation techniques, nutritional diagnostic skills and innovative food products. Through the completion of an internship in your senior year, you’ll apply your practical knowledge in a professional setting of your choice. Qualified students may have the opportunity to replace their internship with a summer term abroad.

As a graduate, you will be positioned to work in major test kitchens, health care facilities, cruise ships, spas, resorts and the personal chef industry, where an emphasis on nutrition is fundamental.

I called a few weeks ago to see how realistic it would be for me, having Celiac Disease to do a culinary arts program there.  To my delight they said it is extremely possible to do and they have several students with Celiac Disease and a few other food allergies, such as nut and citrus not only complete the culinary arts degree but they have also successfully completed the baking and pastry arts degree. So today Bryan and I went to Providence to check out the campus, facilities and program.  The facilities are incredible! To read more about them, click here.

When we arrived, I checked in at the table to register and was asked if I was a high school senior, no lie – some of you will laugh at this but I am 28 years old and will be turning 29 in a few weeks, and still to this day I will get offered the kids menu and crayons at some restaurants.  It took everything in side of myself and Bryan not to laugh out loud and not look at each other. I really don’t mind people thinking I’m very young, it works in my favor, or at least I hope it will in about twenty years.  When the first information session ended and we are about to go on our tour, I look around and started to realized that I am probably the oldest or one of the oldest people there that is actually looking at the school for myself and no my child!

While on the tour today we (well Bryan) got to test out some tasty foods. We learned out some really fascinating courses that they offer-Skills of Meat-cutting, International Cuisine, How Baking Works (the professor of this course is releasing a Gluten-Free cookbook next year), Mixology and so much more.  I asked as many questions as I could think of and was informed that gluten-free cooking is well received and encouraged.  For example in the “healthy desserts” course I was told that the students are broken up into groups and they decided on a recipe such as, chocolate chip cookies and one group will make a recipe that is for diabetics, one group will make one for those with celiac disease and another group will pick another food intolerance, allergy or medical condition that needs an alternative diet.

At the end of the tour we got to walk through the Culinary Arts Museum which had an exhibit of some of their more famous graduates, which include Sarah Moulton, Thomas Keller, Martin Yan and Emeril Lagasse!

I know that this program is going to be extremely difficult, tiring, exciting, humbling and everything in between. However, I think I could do this if I actually get admitted…seeing as there are no guarantees my fingers are crossed.  My ultimate goal is to get my A.S. in Culinary Arts, my B.S. in Culinary Nutrition, get an internship and then sit for the Registered Dietitian exam.  Once all that is done, have the ability to work in either a hospital and/or work with families that are newly diagnosed and do cooking lessons with them, to show them that just because you have an allergy you don’t have to miss out on healthy and delicious food. Overall it was a great day and a great school.

Below are a few photos that I took with my phone today, so I apologize for the bad quality.

Steak crostini with horseradish cream, roasted red pepper and micro greens

French Onion Soup

Students getting ready for NY Food week

Students preparing cafe diablo

Bananas Foster

One of the two things I could taste today – really good!

Student sugar sculpture projects

Close up of the sugar sculpture

Close up of Hansel and Gretel bread sculpture

Hansel and Gretel student bread sculpture

Yummy smelling bread that I couldn’t eat

Brioche with cream filling – Bryan really enjoyed this.

Our last demo, Culinary Nutrition.  Some fantastic Squash soup was made for us.

Culinary Nutrition food lab

Culinary Nutrition food lab (2) – 8 mixers and 8 ovens

Culinary Arts Museum

Culinary Arts Museum – Sarah Moulton

Culinary Arts Museum – Thomas Keller

Also don’t forget there is a great giveaway going on at Creative Cooking Gluten Free – click HERE to read more about it.


7 thoughts on “Gluten Free Culinary Student-We’ll See

  1. Congrats on going back to school! Don’t worry about being the oldest – I started an MBA program this fall at age 36. I’m definitely one of the older ones but I can’t imagine going back to school without having life and work experience. With the degree and the experience you will be able to make an important different in so many people’s lives. I’ve had several friends who have children who’ve been diagnosed with various food allergies say “I look at my child and all I can see is that they’ll never be able to have birthday cake, have candy on Halloween, have ice cream from the local dairy, etc.” To which I say “You CAN!!”. Families need the support and information that you will get from Johnson & Wales or whichever program you choose. Good luck and I look forward to reading about your experiences in the classroom 🙂

  2. I too considered going to culinary school, but my gluten intolerance led me to believe it was impossible. Thanks for sharing this great program. Although I’ve since decided not to go down the culinary school route this is fantastic for those of us with food intolerances that love to cook and would like to do so professionally.

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