Career options in Gastronomy

By Ranjan K Baruah

The recent pandemic and lock down has taught us many things. We have learned that we may live without luxury but cannot live without food. When it comes to a career related to food there are many options but we are going to discuss something which is new for many and one may think of making a career in this area with their creative skills apart from learning and training or qualification. Let us discuss gastronomy in today’s column.

Gastronomy is a compound word that derives from the ancient Greek words. It is the study of the relationship between food and culture, the art of preparing and serving rich or delicate and appetizing food, the cooking styles of particular regions, and the science of good eating. One who is well versed in gastronomy is called a gastronome, while a gastronomist is one who unites theory and practice in the study of gastronomy. Practical gastronomy is associated with the practice and study of the preparation, production, and service of the various foods and beverages, from countries around the world.

It involves discovering, tasting, experiencing, researching, understanding and writing about food preparation and the sensory qualities of human nutrition as a whole. It also studies how nutrition interfaces with the broader culture. The biological and chemical basis of cooking has become known as molecular gastronomy, while gastronomy covers a much broader, interdisciplinary ground. In simple terms it is the study of food and culture, with a particular focus on gourmet cuisine.

Though we do not use this term often, this can be an option for the entrepreneurs who want to be pioneers in our society. From the perspectives of courses in our country then we shall find that there is no direct specific subject but often run under a different course title, such as Food Studies or Food Science, Culinary Arts, Cookery, Food with Nutrition, etc. Aspirants may join courses like hotel management which are offered by different institutions in the country. They may also choose other subjects like nutrition to be leaders in the field of gastronomy. Aspirants studying cultural studies may also think of combining the knowledge of culture and food and be pioneers in this field for which many other skills are required. Traditional careers related to food which we are aware of includes chef, baker or pastry artist, restaurant manager, hospitality manager, etc. Other options include food entrepreneur, cookbook author, bed and breakfast owner, food scientist, etc. Foodies equipped with technological skills and interested in travelling are doing blogging and youtube channels too apart from working in established media like print, television or web portals.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN General Assembly work to facilitate the observance of Sustainable Gastronomy Day. The UN General Assembly adopted on 21 December 2016 its resolution A/RES/71/246 and designated 18th June as an international observance, Sustainable Gastronomy Day. The decision acknowledges gastronomy as a cultural expression related to the natural and cultural diversity of the world. As the COVID-19 pandemic is still recounting across the globe, sustainable gastronomy – celebrating regular ingredients and producers, preserving wildlife as well as our culinary traditions – is today more relevant than ever. This brings more opportunity for aspirants who are interested to be in this field.

Let there be no confusion about the term and its scopes. Prospects of a Gastronomist are very good in today’s health-conscious and tech-savvy world. There are lots of options to travel overseas and earn money in terms of foreign currency for which it is advisable to learn a foreign language like French or Spanish. The fact is that nothing is easy and hence this industry calls for lots of commitment and passion, besides a lot of creativity. To be successful in this field one must be creative. As there is diversity when it comes to food in our region means there are many opportunities for which we have to start thinking out of the box.

(Ranjan K Baruah is a career mentor and can be reached at 8473943734 or [email protected] for any career related queries)

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