A-B Tech’s Therapeutic Culinary certificate can be earned in three semesters and is designed to offer students an in-depth overview and training in specialized dietary needs through therapeutic cuisine. Students will also learn basic culinary skills, an understanding of food safety and sanitation, nutrition and food science.
"One very attractive aspect of food service in a healthcare setting is its constancy,” said A-B Tech Culinary graduate Jonathan Eller, an Executive Sous Chef for Novant Healthcare. “In the COVID-19 outbreak, when many kitchens were being shut down, cooks working in healthcare were essential employees. No matter what, people in hospitals and assisted living facilities have to eat."
Eller also said working conditions in healthcare food service are often much better than in traditional restaurants. “Benefits are the norm rather than the exception. Pay is often higher than average, and growth opportunities abound for talented, hard-working individuals," he said.
"We are all extremely excited about this new culinary certificate,” said Cathy Horton, Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts Chair. “Not only will it provide current students with an opportunity to widen their depth of culinary knowledge, it will open doors to new students who are interested in the culinary healthcare industry.”
According to Horton, jobs in healthcare are plentiful with opportunities for culinarians in hospitals, assisted living facilities, schools, and contract food service operations. These companies are hiring at strong wages, and most offer benefits. “Early feedback from students has been very strong, and we believe this certificate will provide those with an interest in specialized dietary needs a way to move into this field," she said.
The certificate will provide a range of skillsets that employers value in healthcare fields as well as traditional restaurant venues. The course work can be of particular value to individuals already employed in the fields of healthcare foodservice. The classes can increase understanding of specialized and restrictive diets.
"When being considered for a position in healthcare food service, someone with the credentials and training would have a distinct advantage over candidates merely coming from a restaurant background,” Eller said. “The combination of basic culinary training, food science, food safety, and diet education is appealing to employers."
The certificate will be available beginning in the upcoming Summer Semester. Registration opens April 26 and classes begin May 21. For more information, visit abtech.edu/therapeutic-culinary.