Best University in Malaysia for Culinology at Taylor’s University
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The blending of culinary arts and food science brings a new hybrid of specialists, writes Zuliantie Dzul THE kitchen at the Taylor’s University’s School of Hospitality, Tourism & Culinary Arts looks like any other kitchen, complete with mixers and ovens. That said, it’s also fully equipped with instruments for the students of Bachelor of Science (Hons) Culinology® programme to conduct research and development.
Students after SPM or O-Levels with at least 5 credits including the relevant subjects may enter Taylor’s University Foundation in Science for 1 year before continuing on to the Bachelor Of Science (Hons) (Culinology®)
The top rated 3-year Bachelor Of Science (Hons) (Culinology®) programme at Taylor’s University equips students with knowledge and skills in food product development, grooming them to be a part of the ready-made and processed foods industry. In collaboration with the Halal Industry Development Corporation Malaysia (HDC), students are also given the opportunity to learn about Halal food industry.
Seeking to break the boundaries between culinary arts and food science, Taylor’s University developed the first culinology degree outside the United States. In collaboration with the Research Chefs Association of America (RCA), the programme requires graduates to have a grasp on both culinary practices and food science principles. The Bachelor Of Science (Hons) (Culinology®) programme at Taylor’s University will mould students to become holistic food development specialists who are in high demand in today’s society.
Taylor’s University students were the 2016 Champions in the Research Chefs Association (RCA) Student Culinology® Competition clearly proving that they are the best university in Malaysia to study Culinology.
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Top Rated Culinology Programme at Taylor’s University
Try glass cylinders that you see in any science lab. They also have an instrumentation room with equipment such as a colorimeter (device used for measuring colours) and texture analyser (device to measure firmness and crispiness). Culinology® is a rather alien concept to me.
It’s a term trademarked by the Research Chefs Association in the United States. Taylor’s University, the only university outside of the US to offer this programme, is prepping its students to become culinologists.
“They’re not aliens,” says Dr Chong Li Choo, the school’s programme director. “They’re just a hybrid of
food scientists and chefs. They not only learn the theory but also incorporate a lot of applications in the cooking.” Through this three-year programme, students get to learn both culinary arts and food science.
The strength of the graduates will be in food product development. “Last time we have food scientists and chefs to come up with this, two different people, but now we only need one,” explains Chong.
The students need to put their product through five stages before they can market it, namely ideation, formulation, sensory evaluation, testing and packaging. THOROUGH STUDIES The students will come up with an idea after thorough research. They are up to date on the latest healthy eating trend. They choose to make butter cookies on a special media showcase.
To these future culinologists, it’s not just about mixing, rolling and baking. The idea here is to make low-
fat cookies without compromising on the taste and texture. This is where knowledge of food science is most useful. The ingredients must be precisely measured. Not “a pinch of” or “agak-agak” ingredients. Also, they need to replace the fat from the butter that they’re planning to reduce with something else. The knowledge they’ve gained in chemistry and microbiology certainly comes in handy for this.
They know that fat makes the cookies creamy, so they need something which can act as fat yet still keep the richness of the cookies. “That’s why we use xanthan gum and emulsifier,” says final year student, Mohd Ludwig Mohd Nazri. “We reduce the fat to 45 per cent. But will the cookies taste the same? You’ll find out for yourself.” Mohd Ludwig and his classmate Nicholas Chan Li Wing subsequently proceed to bake three batches of cookies — control (full fat), with xanthan gum and another with emulsifier. “Don’t worry, xanthan gum and emulsifier are plant-based, so it’s safe to consume,” assures Nicholas.
It’s a fun session as we are also invited to try our hands at baking cookies. We prepare the batter and let it
set in the fridge before rolling and cutting out several pieces for each batch. After the cookies are baked, they undergo a sensory test. This is where the three cookies are evaluated based on appearance, flavour, taste, aroma and crunchiness. They need to find the best cookies out of the three.
We all take the test and score the cookies accordingly using our sense of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Surprisingly, all three cookies look and taste similar. But one thing’s for sure, two are lower in calories as they contain less fat. SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS Before they decide on which of the cookies will be marketed, the students also conduct a scientific analysis in the instrumentation room.
They use different equipment for different product. “All food products have their respective criteria,
especially when it comes to texture, such as hardness and stickiness. So we need to know the exact properties (based on the data collected) instead of just by sensory test which can be quite subjective,” explains Dr Chong. Since the students are developing low-fat cookies, they need to make sure the texture is similar or is as close to the full-fat variety.
To test the firmness of the cookies, a student shows us how data is collected using the texture analyser. Nowadays, analyses are easier to make thanks to the use of a computerised system that produces objective results. Suffice to say, the students need to know or have the knowledge of handling the equipment and calibrating the computers when conducting analysis work.
The recipe which scores the highest during the sensory test will then be finalised. The students will run nutrient analyses in the lab and generate labels using professional software such as Nutri Pro. When ready, they will source for suitable packaging materials and design a concept for it. This is where they will use their own creativity and come up with a prototype. “Since they know their product well, they get to decide which packaging can best present their product,” says Dr Chong.
OPPORTUNITIES GALORE Now, imagine what they can do with other food such as meat. Soon we won’t have to fret about our calorie intake as we happily tuck into a big fat burger or a packet of butter cookies. And for these students, they have wider job opportunities. “I’m enjoying the best of both worlds — arts and science,” says Nicholas.
“This course has taught me some very important lessons and I don’t make as much errors as before. For example, when making bread, I know when to stop mixing. I also know how to make healthier food. I made burger for my family recently, replacing the meat fillers with tofu, which mimics fat but is way juicier and healthier.”
Nicholas adds that he aspires to work in the food industry someday. It is Mohd Ludwig’s dream to help his father in his food business. The 22-year-old’s father, Mohd Nazrin @ Ludwig Gaisbauer owns German Delicatessen Sdn Bhd, a company that manufactures and distributes premium German sausages. “My dad is a chef so my life has always revolved around food. Hopefully I can contribute something to make his business better,” confides Mohd Ludwig. Whatever the future may bring, these students are ready to bring the hospitality industry to a new level — complete with lab equipment and chef hats.
The Best Bachelor of Science (Hons) Culinology® Programme at Taylor’s University in Malaysia
The Bachelor Of Science (Hons) (Culinology®) programme at Taylor’s University equips students with knowledge and skills in food product development, grooming them to be a part of the ready-made and processed foods industry. In collaboration with the Halal Industry Development Corporation Malaysia (HDC), students are also given the opportunity to learn about Halal food industry.
The culinology curriculum at Taylor’s University focuses on four core areas: culinary arts, food science, food technology, and research and development. Culinology® students are equipped with the latest technology and training in culinary and food science, allowing them to work on innovative and creative approaches in food product development.
Professionally Recognised Bachelor Of Science (Hons) (Culinology®) programme at Taylor’s University
- Accreditation by the Research Chefs Association (RCA), USA entitles graduates to membership benefits and access to a professional network.
Comprehensive Course Structure
- Hands-on programme that covers kitchen practical, laboratory practical and R&D.
Equipped to develop ideas and concepts to fit existing and new markets; elaborate on recipes and protocols encompassing mass production concerns; and the ability to measure, monitor and control food quality and product acceptance.
Opportunity to learn about Halal food via elective modules such as Halal Food Product Development, which have been developed in collaboration with the Halal Industry Development Corporation Malaysia (HDC).
Strong Emphasis on R&D
- Explore the generation of new ideas, preparation of various prototypes, evaluation of customer acceptance and elaboration of a final formulation (recipe).
The opportunity to fully design a food product from its inception to marketing of the product.
Opportunity to attend a Culinology® conference in USA as part of the R&D Professional Development Project offered as a Year 3 elective subject.
- 12-week internship in Year 2, to develop supervisory skills in the various areas of a centralised or mass production kitchen (planning production, quality control and hygiene standard and elaboration of new menu).
15-week internship in Year 3, to participate in the research and development aspect (market study conceptualisation of new product, testing of recipes in production line).
World-Class Facilities at Taylor’s University
In preparing students for the increasingly challenging and complex hospitality, tourism and culinary industry, the School has put in place world-class facilities designed and built to stimulate the actual working environment of leading establishments.
- 84-room hotel (Ruemz Hotel)
- 3 Front Office Reception Rooms
- Hotel Suites
- Wine Laboratory
- 9 Restaurants (including 3 fine dining restaurants, 3 specialised training restaurants, 1 Asian restaurant, 1 lifestyle restaurant and 1 multiservice restaurant)
- 14 Culinary Suites (encompassing 9 kitchens, 1 garde manger kitchen, 1 artist kitchen, 1 chocolate room and 1 artist kitchen)
- Manifestation Culinary Bar Theatre
- Tourism Practical Rooms
- Events Projects Room
- CRiT (Centre for Research and Innovation in Tourism, Hospitality and Food Studies)
- Chemistry Lab and Food Science Lab
Programme Structure for the Bachelor of Science (Hons) Culinology® Programme at Taylor’s University
YEAR 1 Subjects for the Bachelor Of Science (Hons) (Culinology®) programme at Taylor’s University
- Cell Biology
- Basic Chemistry
- Hygiene & Sanitation
- Culinary Practice I
- Introduction to Food Science & Nutrition
- Organic Chemistry
- Culinary Practice II
- Business of Food Product Development
- Patisserie & Baking I
- Elective I
- MPU (U1) – Module 1*
YEAR 2 Subjects for the Bachelor Of Science (Hons) (Culinology®) programme at Taylor’s University
- Principles of Biochemistry
- Food Microbiology
- Asian Cuisine
- Patisserie & Baking II
- MPU (U1) – Module 2*
- MPU (U2)*
- Food Chemistry
- Introduction to Human Nutrition
- Advanced Cuisine
- Research Methodology
- Experimental Food Products & Practices
- Internship I
- March intake is after Semester 4
- August intake is after Semester 3
YEAR 3 Subjects for the Bachelor Of Science (Hons) (Culinology®) programme at Taylor’s University
- Food Product Development I
- Sensorial Analysis
- Food Processing
- Psycho-Sociology of Food & Eating Habits
- MPU (U3)*
- MPU (U4)*
- Food Product Development II
- Food Preservation
- Food Safety & Quality Management
- Manufacturing & Packaging
- Elective II
- Internship II
* The Ministry of Education (MOE) requires all students to take Mata Pelajaran Umum (MPU) (i.e. General Studies) which is categorised under U1, U2, U3 and U4 within the duration of their studies. U1 modules are prescribed by MOE whereas U2, U3 and U4 modules are from a list of University Core Modules (UCM) prescribed as per the Programme Guide.
- Introduction to Halal Food Product Development
- Principles of Marketing
- Introduction to Accounting
- Introduction to Management
- Halal Food Product Development
- Food Supply Chain Management
- Introduction to Management
- R&D Professional Development Project
Career Options for Culinology Graduates from Taylor’s University
- Chef Consultant
- Corporate Executive Chef
- Culinary Research Technologist
- Food Quality Manager
- Formulation Chef
- Hygiene Consultant
- Product Assurance/Development Manager
- Research & Development Chef
- Research & Development Manager
- Sensorial Analysis Manager
- Test Kitchen Chef