[Updated] UCLA's Science & Food Series: Or, Why There's A Modernist in Your Soup (or at Your Dinner Table)
Update: The lovely folks at UCLA have just told us there are still spots available for the June 9 lectures. Maybe go reserve one now. General admission is $20; UCLA students get in free with a valid student ID.
Nordic Food Lab
This semester is a pretty good time to be a "non-science student" at UCLA: 50 lucky students signed up for a ridiculously fun (yes, we're biased) class called "Science & Food: The Physical and Molecular Origins of What We Eat." As part of the class, which was organized by Professor Amy Rowat, there will be four lectures presented to the public over the course of the coming months, all of which are now sold out. (Sorry about that.) But you never know: Maybe you have a "non-science student" college friend who can get you in. Or maybe your friend's kid. Maybe you can even put on some UCLA gear and crash the thing (not that we're recommending you do anything that stupid, of course). At the very least, it might be a good time to get a reservation at Ink. or Le Comptoir or Animal or The Bazaar, just on the off chance that you might be sitting next to Rene Redzepi, David Chang or Nathan Myhrvold.
Just the lecture titles alone are worth the show. On April 2, Redzepi of Noma and Lars Williams of the Nordic Food Lab ("The Molecules of Food & The Exploration of Deliciousness"); on April 25, Nathan Myhrvold, author of Modernist Cuisine (on something, whatever he wants to talk about, I guess); on May 26, it'll be David Chang and Peter Meehan, collaborators on both the Momofuku cookbook and Lucky Peach ("A Microbe in My Ramen? Altering Food Texture and Flavor Using Microbes"); and on June 9, Spago's Sherry Yard ("Milk, From Breast to Cheese and The Many Forms of Sugar -- Self Assembly") and Jimmy Shaw of Loteria Grill ("Perfecting Mouthfeel in Mexican Cuisine: How to Tune Viscosity Using Tortilla Chips") will join up with Bill Yosses, the former White House pastry chef ("Finale: The Sweet Science of Desserts").
In addition to the public lectures, the classes have some course lectures by pretty awesome people: Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal and Son of a Gun ("The Origins of Meat Texture: Why Slow Roast a Pork Shoulder and Sear a Pork Chop?"); Gary Menes of Le Comptoir ("Why Is Lettuce Crispy? The Physics of Vegetable Texture"); Barbara Spencer of Windrose Farm ("Why Do Carrots Taste Sweeter in the Winter? Phase Transitions in Plants, Animals and the Foods We Eat"); Manresa's David Kinch and Love Apple Farms' Cynthia Sandberg ("Molecules From Soil to Plants: Understanding Diffusion"); and Umami Burger's Adam Fleischman ("The Physiology of Taste & Texture: Inventing the Umami Burger").
Dr. Rowat is a professor of integrative biology and physiology at UCLA who got her Ph.D. (in physics) at the University of Southern Denmark. When she was doing postdoctoral work at Harvard, Rowat co-developed the first annual Science & Cooking class. Yes, that one.