Interview with a Gastronomist, Part 2

We are back once again, here with the continued interview of my culinary school professor of gastronomy, Beth Forrest. She has been kind enough to answer a few of my questions about her life, and her love of food and cuisine. Let us continue…

Still on that topic from before, do you have a favorite cuisine?

I’ve enjoyed food wherever I’ve gone, but I probably tend to like cuisines that use butter and cream! Perhaps I’m some long, lost relative of Fernand Point who said, “butter butter, give me butter, always butter.” I remember the food in Turkey being exceptional, as well.

What do you think is the moment that defines your career?

I don’t think there is/has been a moment that defines my career. I think it has been a delightful and slowly unfolding journey.

What brought you to the Culinary Institute of America?

The chance to teach full time and teach about food. It is a rare opportunity. There is also an undeniable energy at the school that is unmatched.

Since you’ve been here, how do you feel that you keep your lessons fresh, and intuitive?

Well, I’m still new here, so I’m figuring out what works with students. Each class is particular, so the dynamics of the students will change a class. In my first year here, I’m teaching three different classes — Intro. to Gastronomy, Food and Culture, and History and Culture of Europe, so preparation for any of those classes will also inform how I teach my other classes. Finally, interacting with students, other faculty or doing research for my dissertation will also change how I approach questions/topics in Intro. to Gastronomy.

Where do you think cooking will go from here into the future?

I’m not sure, but excited to see! We are at a fascinating crossroad. Farm-to-table, Avant-Garde and the culturally-dominant agro-industrial foods/cooking are competing with each other. What values will be deemed most important to our culture — environment or price or the rejection of (neither or) both through avant-garde is something that is being contested in haute cuisine. How it is both disseminated and embraced by the main stream is yet to be decided.

Ah, unfortunately, our time with Professor Forrest is up, but look towards next week for the conclusion to our interview, where she delves into her favorite restaurants and her advice for future chefs of tomorrow. Also, look for my follow-up article to Picky Eaters, where we take our conversation about aversion and taboo to another level.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            • First opened its doors in 1980 as the Academy of Medical Art and Business.
            • Students can choose from a variety of diploma or degree programs, as well as continuing education courses.
            • Provides programs in massage therapy, dental assisting, criminal justice, cake decorating, and more.
            • 7.5 acre campus is located in the foothills of Blue Mountain, north of Harrisburg, PA.
            • Involved with many community service organizations, including the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank (CPBB), March of Dimes, and Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
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            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

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            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
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            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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