Food As Business

Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food is a hub of food activity, events, and business for Northwest Arkansas. Part of Brightwater’s mission is to serve and strengthen the community. We aim to accomplish this by developing future culinarians, fostering business connections, offering community classes, and by being a leading voice in trends affecting the food system. Brightwater uniquely engages the community with accessible programming and ongoing local food experiences. We also directly employ the region’s abundant local foods with hands-on teaching that focuses on seasonality and preservation techniques such as smoking, brining, or curing. Brightwater provides world-class training for individuals, students, and professionals at any point on their journey into the world of food. While restaurants are a common job destination, we encourage students to consider additional avenues such as food science, marketing, creative arts, nutrition, and craft and artisanal production.

Food EntrepreneurshipFood SystemProfessional Development

Food Entrepreneurship

Food entrepreneurs, like all business people, need access to 1) continuous learning materials, 2) meaningful working connections within a purpose-driven peer community that is focused on growing their expertise, their businesses and the quality of their offerings and 3) true mentors who are able to share their insights to accelerate the progress of their mentees. Brightwater is focused on delivering these critical resources to culinarians and food entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship provides basic business planning for the culinary entrepreneur to support those interested in pursuing a practical application of food-based business without taking a full schedule of business and entrepreneur courses. Students are coming to culinary school with an interest in starting their own businesses. The new food culture and the Cottage Food Act of 2010 provides additional opportunities for food entrepreneurism. Artisanal skills such as cheese making, artisanal bread baking, charcuterie, fermentation, curing, and canning are at the forefront of the new food movement.

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Food System

The supermarket has become the last stop in an increasingly complex global food system, spurring a growing movement to re-regionalize the food system. Students examine economic, social, demographic, environmental, and ethical issues that currently shape our systems of food production, distribution, and consumption. This includes learning how food is grown, processed, transported and distributed, and reviewing policies that shape how those foods are consumed. Students explore how animals and plants are raised for food, as well as how food labels and food claims are made on packages and in advertising. We trace a variety of food products and provide an in-depth look at environmental impacts, animal welfare, human health and labor practices that make up the food system. We also pay attention to the effects of international trade and immigration policies, exploring the concept of food sovereignty in the United States and around the world.

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Professional Development

Brightwater provides learning opportunities for professional culinarians and the general public. From enthusiast courses to custom-designed training for chefs, companies, and personnel, Brightwater has the facility and professional staff to help you reach your goals. We offer ideation sessions, corporate team building activities and dinners, and leading edge exposure to the newest equipment, ingredients, and techniques. We also have five kitchens, six classrooms, and a butchery and demonstration theater that can be rented for private events, parties, and training.

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