Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Robert H. Bosselman


Culinology® is the blending of culinary arts and food technology (RCA, 2012). As of 2012, there are 13 RCA-approved Culinology® degree programs, but there has been no research conducted on the effectiveness of the Culinology® competencies in preparing graduates for employment in the food product development industry. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the RCA's Bachelor of Science in Culinology® core competencies prepared graduates for successful employment in the food product development industry.

A sequential explanatory design was used for this research. In the first stage, a survey was used to measure the graduates' and employers' perceptions of the importance and frequency of use for each competency. In the second stage, interviews with purposefully selected graduates and employers were conducted to gain more insight on the results of the first stage. The results indicated that a gap existed between what the employers and graduates perceived as the most important competency, and graduates are not fully prepared for employment in the food product development industry.

Employers rated the Culinary Arts competency much higher than the graduates. The primary reason is that graduates are hired for their culinary arts competence, but are often placed in positions that did not utilize those culinary skills due to the hierarchy of the company's product development team, the graduate's educational and prior work experience, and the perceptions of the graduates regarding the Culinology® degree. There is also ambiguity regarding the Culinology® graduate's skillset by the industry; the existence of two seemingly separate set of competencies required by the industry (practicing culinologist versus Culinology® graduate); and the absence of an assessment process for Culinology® degree programs.

The researcher recommended initiating a paradigm shift in Culinology® education, and focusing on a learner-centered paradigm. This included implementing a new competency model for Culinology® graduates with a differential emphasis on each competency as well as more practical application of theory. The RCA will also need to implement several measures to increase the visibility of the Culinology® degree programs and graduates, and clearly define the role of the Culinology® graduate in the food product development industry.


Copyright Owner

Michael S. Cheng



File Format


File Size

318 pages