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Food as Art, Business & Wellness
Brightwater approaches food as art, food as wellness, and food as business to offer an entirely unique approach to the culinary arts. At the core of Brightwater's programs, you are equipped with artisanal cooking methods as well as an understanding of food's impact on culture, economy and wellness. As a Brightwater student, you are encouraged to experience food in a whole new way, activating flavors and crafting dishes that are local, refined and innovative. Learn how to traverse the journey of food in a way that best suits your interests, talents and goals, from mastering the art of confections to whole-animal butchery.
As a department of NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC), Brightwater is America's first regional cooking school. Its focus is hyper-localized and holistic, traversing the entire food experience from crop to cuisine. Infused with artisanal methods like butchery and distillery, Brightwater's programming offers education and experience previously only acquired through apprenticeship. It is the first culinary school to integrate a food-systems approach and inquiry-based learning to cooking, local farming, sustainability, and community development. Brightwater offers students a dynamic educational experience in its programs by delivering a combination of technical skills, broad industry knowledge, and specialty cultural exposure.
Brightwater is a hub of food activity, events, and business for Northwest Arkansas. Part of Brightwater's mission is to serve and strengthen the community. The school aims 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. The school also directly employs the region's abundant local foods with hands-on teaching that focuses on seasonality and preservation techniques such as smoking, brining or curing. While restaurants are a common job destination, students are encouraged to consider additional avenues such as food science, marketing, creative arts, nutrition and craft and artisanal production.
Brightwater is the first department of a community college to offer a systems-based approach to culinary training. Wellness encompasses sustainable farming practices, healthy community relationships, and the well-being of individuals through local food. To that end, Brightwater promotes a variety of activities and courses of study in culinary nutrition, applied farming, seasonal cooking and whole-animal butchery. Wellness involves daily practice and understanding the culinarian's impact on the food system, not merely adhering to a prescriptive checklist of "dos and don'ts".