This year’s Science and Cooking Public Lecture Series takes attendees on a tantalizing tour of global culinary hot spots, from the chilly canals of Copenhagen, to the foothills of the Bolivian Andes, to the steamy rainforests of Africa’s Gold Coast. The annual series, back for a 10th helping 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 Janice Wong of 2am: Dessert Bar in Singapore, David Zilber, fermentation specialist at Noma in Copenhagen, Marsia Taha, of restaurant Gustu in Bolivia, Native American chef Freddie Bitsoie, and nomadic culinary expert and the queen of “New African Cuisine,” Selassie Atadika, as well as returning favorites José Andrés, Harold McGee, Dave Arnold, Joanne Chang and Catalan chef Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca, voted the 2013 and 2015 best restaurant in the world.

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
  • The lectures are free and open to the public

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

2019 Chef Lecture Dates

Monday, Sept. 9
“10 Year Anniversary Lecture”
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. 16
"The Science of Sugar"
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Joanne Chang ’91 (@jbchang), Flour Bakery and Café, Myers + Chang, author of “Flour”, “Flour Too”, “Myers + Chang at Home”, and “Baking With Less Sugar”

Monday, Sept. 23
"Exploring Flavor Space: Innovation through Tradition in Noma’s Fermentation Lab"
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
David Zilber (@dgzilber), Director of Fermentation at Noma in Copenhagen, Co-author with René Redzepi of "The Noma Guide to Fermentation”

Jason White

Monday, Sept. 30   
Your World, Your Imagination
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Janice Wong (@janicewong2am), Asia’s Best Pastry Chef 2013 and 2014, Founder 2am: Dessert Bar, Singapore

Tuesday, Oct. 15                              
“Hominy and Posole: The Science of Native American Cooking”
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Freddy Bitsoie (@chef_fjbits), FJBits Concepts, 2013 winner of the Native Chef Competition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian

Monday, Oct. 21
“Exploring Heat Transfer in Bolivian Haute Cuisine”
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Marsia Taha (@marsia_taha_gustu), Gustu, La Paz, Bolivia

Natalie Del Carpio,  Gustu, La Paz, Bolivia

Monday, Oct. 28
“Exploring Viscosity with Olive Oil and Garum”
Carles Tejedor (@CarlesTejedor), Oilmotion and Sofia Be So Restaurant, Manresa, Spain

Pere Planagumà: ROM and Mas de Torrent restaurants, Spain

Monday, Nov. 4
“The Science of New African Cuisine”
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Selassie Atadika (@MidunuGhana), Midunu, Accra, Ghana

Monday, Nov. 11
"Desserts and Chocolate"
Enric Rovira (@enrovira), Master Chocolatier, Barcelona, Spain

Ramon Morató (@ramonmorato_), Master Chocolatier, author of “Chocolate” and “Four in One”

Monday, Dec. 2
“Dialogue between Science and Cooking at El Celler de Can Roca. Evolution”
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Joan Roca (@CanRocaCeller), El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain, best restaurant in the world 2013 and 2015

Heloise Vilaseca (@heloislois), director of R&D, El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
Ahmoy Panagiotis, El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain

Monday, Dec. 9
“TBD”
Science Center Lecture Hall C, 7 p.m.
Jose Andrés (@chefjoseandres), Think Food Group, minibar, Jaleo

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

Lecture Coordinator

·       Patricia Jurado Gonzalez

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 1 of the online course is available here. Learners can also sign up for part 2 of the course, which launched on August 21 and is still open.

STEAMeD Teacher Workshops 

STEAMeD adapts exercises from the popular Science and Cooking course and Young Chefs to fit Massachusetts state science standards. It is a rare opportunity for highly motivated teachers to bring these exercises into their classrooms.  Teachers, community program instructors, and after school program leaders are invited to register. More information is available on the STEAMeD website, where future workshops will also be announced