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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU establishing new culinology degree option

New Mexico State University plans to offer students in New Mexico and western Texas the opportunity to participate in a new culinology program blending the culinary arts with food science.

Made possible by a $240,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, the new degree option will be offered by the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM) starting in the fall of 2008. It will combine the culinary arts with the applied science of food research and development.

Students with a degree option in culinology would be able to receive jobs in the food-processing or food-service industry, for companies like Tyson and Bueno Foods. Students also would be qualified for jobs in research and development kitchens for hotel and restaurant chains.

"Companies are looking for students who have expertise in both the culinary arts and food science. NMSU is responding to what the industry wants," said Priscilla Bloomquist, professor of HRTM and co-director of the culinology project.

NMSU will partner with the El Paso Community College (EPCC) and Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) as part of the program. The two community colleges already offer culinary arts programs. NMSU will focus more on research and development in food science. NMSU also will recruit students from the two colleges.

Students enrolled in the new program will take courses in food production, nutrition, science and management. They also will be required to complete internships in the culinary arts and food science areas.

"The culinology option fills an important niche not only in the industry, but in the College of Agriculture and Home Economics as well. It is an important career option for students that the university has not offered before," Bloomquist said.