New York recently banned the use of trans fats in restaurants. If you're considering culinary school, you could be just in time for the food revolution.
By Kate Robb
Jan 16, 2007
When the New York Board of Health decided to ban the use of trans fats, chefs everywhere wrung their aprons in frustration. While most experts agree that the ban will improve public health and should not change the way food tastes, chefs undoubtedly know that they're going to have to use all of their culinary skills to make sure their menu items have the same texture and taste.
What Are Trans Fats?
Trans fats are made through hydrogenation, a chemical process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil. According to the FDA, "hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods containing these fats." For chefs, it means that they can use ingredients such as shortening to make their cookies and pie crusts especially firm, crisp, or chewy.
And trans fats are in almost anything you find in a typical restaurant. According to the FDA, the top four sources for trans fats for American adults are:
The Industry Considers Appeals
Dan Flesher, a National Restaurant Association spokesman, told the New York Times that ''this is a misguided attempt at social engineering by a group of physicians who don't understand the restaurant industry." Restaurant chefs are upset about this ban, not only because it's likely to change their menus, but also because it also might increase the cost of their food. O'Neil Whyte, a baker at Sweet Chef Southern Styles Bakery in Harlem, said, ''Things without trans fat are harder to get and more expensive."
Why Learn to Cook in the Big Apple?
Even though chefs in the other 49 states might be breathing a momentary sigh of relief, now is the time for you to get ahead in your culinary career. As trans fats go the way of cigarettes, the place to learn the newest culinary arts is New York City. The face of the restaurant industry is changing right under our noses, and if you want to learn how to cook without trans fats, a New York culinary school is the place to go.
About the Author
Kate Robb is a freelance writer and a university professor.