Upstart Business Journal | Posted: 02/26/2015
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Photo Credit: The Culinary Institute of America
Posted: 02/26/2015The Culinary Institute of America is launching a school in the Bay Area that’s solely focused on the business of food. The Food Business School, which will be housed at the institute’s St. Helena campus, is opening registration today for its first set of classes, which will offer education about food entrepreneurship and innovation. Led by dean and executive director William Rosenzweig, a food entrepreneur and investor, the Food Business School will place an emphasis on innovation within the food business realm, and putting those ideas into action. Rosenzweig has been a food entrepreneur for 20 years and has taught business at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. The school’s launch will capitalize on timing, he said: The food movement is “catalyzing a deep personal connection to issues of sustainability and climate change, as well as personal health.” The school also promising a faculty of business professors from Stanford and the University of California campuses at Berkeley and Davis, as well as notable food entrepreneurs like Bay Area restaurateur and Food Network host Michael Chiarello, ChefStable’s Kurt Huffman and Plum Organics co-founder Neil Grimmer, among others. The increasing complexity of food issues such as nutrition, innovations in food production and changes in the restaurant industry make it an appealing time to study the business side, Rosenzweig said. Students will have the opportunity to forge connections with each other and with a network of faculty members. “I’ve had the great honor and privilege to teach at business schools, and I’ve seen an increasing number of students become interested in food,” he said. “From food labeling, to policies, laws, et cetera, food has its own specific parlance.” Classes will be offered in three formats, including “innovation intensives” that are three or four days of immersive programs at the CIA Greystone in Napa Valley. These classes will start in May. The first set includes classes about scaling a food business, innovation in packaged foods, transitioning from a culinary professional to a restaurateur and “food experience design.” In the summer, the school will launch online courses about challenges in the food system to help potential food entrepreneurs develop ideas. In early 2016 the school will offer hybrid classes that are taught on-campus and online. Eventually, the school will offer certificates and degrees in certain areas of food business. “We’re going to experiment with that and see what people want and need,” Rosenzweig said. Overall, he said, the program will be a practical one, with opportunities for a range of people, from those who aspire to be entrepreneurs to people already in corporate food production who want to work on solutions to problems within the food system.