Culinology® is a term first coined by Winston Riley, the first president and founder of the Research Chefs Association, United States. Combining culinary arts and food Science & technology, Culinology® focuses on food innovation and development to provide premium quality food or dining experience to everyone. It makes food tastes better, more nutritious and safer to be consumed. Bordering between chefs and food technologists, it partners traditional chef skills and science, a strong combination that contributes to food product development, presentation and quality.
To learn more about Culinology®, Parents’ Dojo speaks to Dr Chong Li Choo, the programme director of Bachelor of Science (Hons.) Culinology® and senior lecturer in Taylor’s University, Malaysia.
1) How did you get into this field?
I am a professionally food scientist. I have strong interest in research and development of functional and value-added food product development. Besides that, I love baking and I have strong curiosity towards food. Hence, this is the perfect field for me. Plus, I always believe research is the best way to bring more authentic, healthy, interesting and great-tasting food into our lives.
2) As the term ‘Culinology®’ is relatively new, could you explain how is Culinology®different from other culinary courses?
Culinology® covers a wider scope than culinary arts. Culinology® is not just about the arts of cooking but also the science of cooking and technology in creating food. We applyscience and technology skills to achieve culinary synergy.
3) What are the requirements for students who wish to enrol in Culinology®?
Students from both science & culinary arts background can apply into Culinology®programme. For science stream, students with Foundation in Science, STPM, A level, UEC, CPU,SAM or IB who have pass in their final grades (including chemistry subject) are eligible to enrol in the programme. For art stream students, they can enrol into the programme through diploma in Culinary Arts with pass in final grades
Dr Chong, who became a mother last year, also shares tips on healthy eating.
A) How has motherhood changed your eating habit and preference?
Motherhood has been absolutely amazing for me. It has brought changes that I may have not thought of. I have always practised ‘eating moderately’. It is ok to crave for snacks and dessert, but it is important that we consume them moderately. One most significant change is that I have increased my intake on fruits and vegetables. This is to ensure that I am consuming sufficient fiber and micronutrient content. Also, I have cut down on spicy food which was my preference before I had my first child.
B) Health experts claim that parents’ lifestyle has direct influence in children’s health. Do you agree? Why?
It is important that parents understand that their lifestyle sets the example to their children. While it could be a challenge for working parents to inculcate the good eating habit in their children. But, it should not be the excuse as it will be another challenge for parents to help their children to break away from the habit of eating fast food once they have got used to it. So, always start from young and be the example. Besides eating healthily, parents should also encourage children to stay active. Outdoor activities are also beneficial. The activities help them to stay healthy and have a healthy social life.
C) Do you agree that parents should be pickier with children’s diet? Why?
I encourage parents to introduce nutritious diet to children. Children may not understand the importance of nutrients. Hence, it is parents’ responsibility to introduce and encourage them. Children tend to choose their food based on the appearance and taste. Therefore, parents need to explain and guide them. This will help them to stay healthy as they get older.
D) What is the common mistake that parents make when it comes to forming children’s eating habit?
I have come across parents who force their children to finish a big portion of meal. Maybe they still have the misconception that ‘eat more grow faster’. Parents should teach children to have moderate portion and not to waste. They should stop eating when they are full and they should not take more than what they can consume.
E) What is your advice on the right diet for children?
Practise “Moderation, Balance, Variety and Adequacy. Find the balance in quantity and quality. Some children only have small appetite or some children have poor appetite at certain stage (changes in growth can cause an appetite slump in children). If parents are worried that their children are not consuming the sufficient amount of essential macronutrient like carbohydrate, protein and fat or micronutrient for growth, they should supplement them by incorporating milk in children’s daily diet. Most importantly, they should help children to enjoy and appreciate food.
Dr Chong Li Choo, graduated with a PhD in Food Science and Technology from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). She is currently the programme director of Bachelor of Science (Hons.) Culinology® and senior lecturer in Taylor’s University, Malaysia. Her research areas focusing on functional food product development, sustainable food processing & consumers’ behavior and attitude towards healthy eating.