Introduction

During each week of this course, chefs reveal the secrets behind some of their most famous culinary creations — often right in their own restaurants. Inspired by such cooking mastery, the Harvard team will then explain the science behind the recipe.

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During part 1 of the course, launching in January 2017, we will focus on how we can control flavor and heat, and explore modernist cooking techniques like sous vide cooking, gelation, and spherification. During part 2 of the course, which will be available later in the spring, we will explore more of the physical changes that occur during cooking, and prepare recipes using emulsions and foams, which are both flavorful and interesting to eat.

Topics will include:

  • How molecules influence flavor
  • The role of heat in cooking
  • Diffusion, revealed by the phenomenon of spherification, the culinary technique pioneered by Ferran Adrià.

You will also have the opportunity to become an experimental scientist in your very own laboratory — your kitchen. By following along with the engaging recipe of the week, taking precise measurements, and making skillful observations, you will learn to think like both a cook and a scientist. The lab is certainly one of the most unique components of this course — After all, in what other science course can you eat your experiments?

What you'll learn:

  • The scientific concepts that underlie everyday cooking and haute cuisine techniques;
  • How to apply principles of physics, engineering, and chemistry to cooking;
  • How to become an experimental scientist in your own kitchen;
  • How to think like a chef AND a scientist.

 

Meet The Author

Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner

Glover Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics and Harvard College Professor

Michael Brenner is the Glover Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics, and Harvard College Professor at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He developed the popular Harvard class, "Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter," with his colleague David Weitz and chef Ferran Adrià. His research uses mathematics to examine a wide variety of problems in science and engineering, ranging from understanding the shapes of bird beaks, whale flippers and fungal spores, to finding the principles for designing materials that can assemble themselves, to answering ordinary questions about daily life, such as why a droplet of fluid splashes when it collides with a solid surface.

David Weitz

David Weitz

Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Department of Physics

David Weitz is a Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Department of Physics. He developed the popular Harvard class, "Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter," with his colleague Michael Brenner and chef Ferran Adrià. His research group studies the science of soft matter materials as well as biophysics and biotechnology.

Pia  Sörensen

Pia Sörensen

Preceptor of Science and Cooking and HarvardX Fellow, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Department of Physics

Pia Sörensen is Preceptor of Science and Cooking at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, and the HarvardX Fellow for Science & CookingX. She earned her PhD in Chemical Biology at Harvard University, studying small molecule inhibitors of cell division.

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