Sep 13th 2016

The Science of Gastronomy (Coursera)

This course introduces students to elements of science behind cooking, cuisine preparation and the enjoyment of food. The ultimate goal is to help students recognize the importance of scientific principles being applied in everyday life, so that they will appreciate and be able to apply some of these principles in their future cooking practice, including the manipulation of human perception.

This course introduces a number of basic scientific principles underpinning the methodology of cooking, food preparation and the enjoyment of food. All topics covered have a strong basis in biology, chemistry, and physics application. Among others, they include the consumption of cooked food, the physiological and evolutionary implication of the senses, geographic and cultural influences on food, and the rationale behind food preparation. We will also discuss issues such as coupling of senses to improve sense stimulation; altering flavor by chemical means; and modification of the coloration to improve the appearance of dishes. Following the video demonstrations of the scientific principles of cooking, you will learn to recognize the key ingredients and their combinations for preparing good healthy food. At the end of this course, you will be able to:

- appreciate the scientific basis of various recipes;

- develop your own recipes by integrating some of the scientific principles into new dishes;

- recognize the influence of the material world on human perception from the different senses;

- appreciate the art of integrating science into cooking and dining.