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Culinary Schools are Now Teaching Future Chefs Instagram Skills

Say ‘cheese.’

Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash

Few industries are safe from the spread of social media—the culinary arts included. A recent New York Times piece explores the growing trend of social media as part of culinary school curriculums, pointing to the fact that the Culinary Institute of America will soon introduce two new elective courses to help students master the fine art of Instagram food photography.

The courses will begin in May 2018. The chefs of tomorrow will master photography basics like lighting and editing, but also “how to cook for the still camera,” Karen Stabiner writes for the New York Times, which may include some not-so-tasty techniques like undercooking chicken to “keep the skin from looking tired.”

Stabiner includes other schools that have adopted similarly social-media centric curriculums, like Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, and The Institute of Culinary Education in Lower Manhattan.

You don’t have to be an aspiring restaurateur or chef to see how social media has changed dining. We’ve written before about how some restaurants are designing spaces to be Instagram friendly, and how some spots are going so far as to equip diners with lighting kits so they can take better photos of their meals.

And while many groan at the thought of more food photography on Instagram, it might be an important part of getting a job for these aspiring chefs. Stabiner notes that competition for jobs and a slow restaurant market are making skills outside of the kitchen even more important. Not to mention the fact that meals that look good on Instagram are likely to draw in more customers.

Restaurants are keenly aware of that. Stabiner interviewed Nick Anderer, the executive chef of Martina, a pizzeria in the East Village with beautiful pictures of said pizza on their Instagram account. That’s thanks to the lighting system that lets staff adjust each bulb with a ‘warmer hue in the dining room than in the kitchen,’” Anderer told Stabiner, “so it doesn’t cast too much shade against the pizza.”

Because of course, a shaded pizza doesn’t draw in customers. A finely lit pizza, on the other hand, just might.

Read more on the New York Times. 

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