Madeleine Kiepura

Madeleine falls in love with culinary science

Madeleine always loved cooking. She spent her days trying new recipes with her parents, baking apple pies with her grandmother, and attending cooking classes. She grew more interested in the culinary world as she watched shows on the Food Network including Cake Boss, Iron Chef, and Good Eats. But wasn’t sure she wanted to be a chef.

“I was apprehensive about trying to become a chef because you have to be ruthless,” she said. “And I always had a curiosity for science.”

When she started looking into career options, Madeleine found culinary schools and food science programs, but neither felt like she’d be able to combine her enjoyment of cooking and interest in science equally. Then, she stumbled across Iowa State’s culinary food science program.

“I wanted to know what was chemically happening to an egg when it was fried,” she said. “I looked into food science programs, but it wasn’t until I found culinary food science at Iowa State that I realized I could pursue my passions of science and food.”

To Madeleine, culinary food science offered a more creative outlet than food science programs. Though most of her courses matched the food science curriculum, she took a few that focused on food service and the importance of recipes. After that, she knew she made the right choice.

As a senior, she recommends students who don’t know which path they want, to think about where there interests lie and research their options.

“Explore career paths,” she said. “If you enjoy sciences and you’re willing to take O-chem – do it. But if you feel more passionate for cooking – add a minor. If you want to be in the creative side, then look at culinary [food] science. You still get the science base, but with more creativity.”