The 2017 Science and Cooking Public Lecture Series will cover a veritable buffet of appetizingly analytical areas, from the rise of modernist bread to the hard-boiled truth about eggs in Philippine cooking. The annual series, which returns this fall for its fifth batch of lectures, pairs Harvard professors with celebrated food experts and renowned chefs to showcase the science behind different culinary techniques.

New presenters this year include celebrity chef and Italian cuisine cognoscente Lidia Bastianich, acclaimed food writer and fermentation guru Sandor Katz, and James Beard Award winner Corey Lee, chef at three-Michelin-starred Benu in San Francisco. The series, organized by Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) is based on the Harvard course “Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter,” but public lectures do not replicate course content.

  • All talks will take place in the Harvard Science Center (1 Oxford St., Cambridge, Mass., Hall C) and begin at 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted
  • Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
  • Each presentation will begin with a 15-minute lecture about the scientific topics from that week’s class by a faculty member from the Harvard course
  • Seating for all lectures is first come, first seated

If you have questions regarding the public lecture series, please contact science_cooking@seas.harvard.edu.

2017 Chef Lecture Dates

Monday, Sept. 4
"New Angles on Old Beverages"
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Dave Arnold (@CookingIssues), Booker and Dax, author of Liquid Intelligence, host of "Cooking Issues," founder of the Museum of Food and Drink
Harold McGee (@Harold_McGee), author of "On Food and Cooking", "Curious Cook"

Monday, Sept. 11
"The Science of Risotto"
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Lidia Bastianich (@LidiaBastianich), Lidia’s Kitchen, Eataly

Monday, Sept. 18      
"The Art of Fermentation"
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Sandor Katz (@sandorkraut), author of "Wild Fermentation," "The Art of Fermentation"

Monday, Sept. 25                              
"Egg Transitions in Philippine Cooking"
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Margarita Forés (@MargaritaFores), Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016, Cibo Restaurants, Manila Philippines

Monday, Oct. 2
"Insights from Modernist Bread"
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Nathan Myhrvold, (@ModernCuisine), former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft, author of "Modernist Cuisine"

Monday, Oct. 16
"The Science of Sugar"
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Joanne Chang ’91, (@jbchang), Flour Bakery and Café, author of "Flour" and "Flour Too"

Monday, Oct. 23
"Science and Cooking: An Idea That Still Holds Waters"
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Bill Yosses (@BillYosses), former White House executive pastry chef, author “The Perfect Finish”
Vayu Maini Rekdal (@NOFOKitchen), Young Chefs Program, Ph.D. candidate Harvard University

Monday, Oct. 30
"Sweet Temperature Range"
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Jordi Roca (@jordirocasan), El Celler de Can Roca

Monday, Nov. 6
"A Menu at Benu: A Look at Texture and Mouthfeel"
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Corey Lee, Benu  

Monday, Nov. 27
“Minibar and Beyond”
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
José Andrés (@chefjoseandres), minibar by José Andrés, ThinkFoodGroup

The Harvard College Course

The Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Alícia Foundation developed the General Education science course, “Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter,” which debuted in the fall of 2010. The course uses food and cooking to explicate fundamental principles in applied physics and engineering. (Watch a video about the course.)

While limited to currently enrolled Harvard undergraduates, the class, which  brings together eminent Harvard researchers and world-class chefs, is available to others on-campus through the Harvard Extension School and online through the HarvardX platform (details below).

Instructors

  • Michael Brenner, Michael F. Cronin Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics and Professor of Physics; Harvard College Professor
  • Pia Sörensen, Senior Preceptor in Chemical Engineering and Applied Materials
  • David Weitz, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics

Lab Design/Implementation

  • Pere Castells, Unitat UB-Bullipèdia

Science and Cooking on HarvardX

In HarvardX’s “Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science,” top chefs and Harvard researchers explore how everyday cooking and haute cuisine techniques illuminate scientific principles in physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering.  Part one of the online course launched on Aug. 23. Students can also sign up for part two of the course, which launched on May 17 and is still open.