Through edX/HarvardX, the famed Harvard College General Education course, “Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science,” is coming to a kitchen near you.
Led by David Wetiz and Michael Brenner at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the class will explore how everyday cooking and haute cuisine can illuminate basic principles in physics and engineering, and vice versa.
During each week of the course, students will watch as 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, in simple and sophisticated ways, the science behind the recipe.
Topics will include: soft matter materials, such as emulsions, illustrated by aioli; elasticity, exemplified by the done-ness of a steak; and diffusion, revealed by the phenomenon of spherification, the culinary technique pioneered by Ferran Adrià.
To help make the link between cooking and science, an “equation of the week” will capture the core scientific concept being explored and participants will also have the opportunity to be experimental scientists in their very own laboratories — their kitchens. By following along with the engaging recipe of the week, taking measurements, and making observations, the aim is to convey how to think both like a cook and a scientist.