To celebrate their spanking new kitchens, the University of Pretoria's department of consumer science invited celebrated Mosaic chef Chantel Dartnall to guide the students through a fine dining lunch for the media while introducing their latest BSc Culinary Science degree, which keeps them ahead of the curve.
All of us at some stage of our lives, man or woman, has to take stock of our kitchen. Think how much more challenging this becomes in a teaching environment. The university's consumer science department this year unveiled newly renovated food laboratories that will accommodate more students with better equipment -- some of the latest, in fact -- and benefit their latest degree.
More students will be able to participate in the cooking experience, which means more trainees.
The labs previously had 26 stations, this has now been expanded to 60. Gas stoves have been fitted in keeping with current commercial trends. The new labs offer induction cooking and blast freezing, as well as a range of food science equipment for modern-day research and training.
After much research, these kitchens have been designed to be on trend, ergonomic and user friendly, with industrial equipment and surfaces.
This wouldn't ordinarily mean much to outsiders, but the many cookery programmes now on television have allowed us to become more comfortable and informed about technologies and advancements in the culinary space.
"Culinary research is a growing area, which can be expanded with new facilities and modern, up-to-date equipment. This puts [the University of Pretoria] at the forefront of culinary art and science training and enables future graduates to contribute to consumer food product and services development", says Dr Gerrie du Rand, head of food and nutrition in the department.
The university's latest BSc Culinary Science degree, which focuses on the art and science of food, is the only degree of its kind in Southern Africa. And the upgraded kitchens are good news for these students, who have to be at the forefront of what is happening in the culinary world.
The degree taps into the latest buzz in education in the United States, where strong links between creativity and science are being touted and applied with great success. That, according to the hottest research, is what should be driving prospective workers when choosing their study direction.
All you have to do to check the evidence is type the words science/creativity/students into a search engine and you'll find a host of articles about the latest findings and studies pointing to the rewards in your future, should pay attention to this advice.
Take, for example, Nicholas Cary and Erik Voorhees, the pioneers of the world's most powerful cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. They put part of their success down to having been in the business leadership programme at the University of Puget Sound, a liberal arts college in Washington. They called it "a hive of intellectual curiosity".
What they do there is enforce interdisciplinary programmes, so students of international political economics and business leadership are pushed to expand their thinking beyond their own narrow fields, and cross-train in the history department. Others studied the warrior poets of Asia.
Like a growing number of others in the US, this campus prizes broad-mindedness and intellectual discussion.
Think of the legal profession, one where creativity perhaps doesn't immediately spring to mind. Yet someone explained the other day that the best part of her job was the solving of legal problems. That's when she is at her most creative. It's the same way a scientist solves a particular problem. That's what the arts do, they teach us to think creatively.
Now, if only someone had explained this to me when I was studying maths and science at school... We weren't even told how a particular maths problem would be used in the real world. So you learnt by rote.
If food is your particular fancy, check out the trendy culinary science degrees available out there.