Science and cooking – HarvardX online course

Have you ever wanted to look over the shoulder of some of the most famous avant-garde chefs in the (western) world1? Or did you once have this secret wish to study in a place like Harvard to learn from some experts in food science, physics, or chemistry (without having to apply there, to move there, and to pay for it)? If so, then here’s something that must sound very interesting to you: A HarvardX online course on “Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science starting October 8!

The online course is free2, all you need is to follow a very simply online registration on their website. The list of contributing people at least promises a very fascinating course. It includes leading food scientists (e.g. Harold McGee3), soft matter physicists (David Weitz) and applied mathematicians (Michael Brenner). On the cuisine side are chef-celebrities such as Ferran Adrià or Joan Roca as well as numerous other interesting figures.

Oh, and sure, this is not strictly a candy topic only. But not much imagination is necessary to see that cooking (and the science behind it) is directly linked to making candy4

Lecture on ‘Food & Science’ with Arnold Dave (left) and Harold McGee in 2012 (screenshot taken from youtube video5).

  1. One should probably always be careful here. The hype of Michelin stars as the ultimate judgment of kitchen awesomeness appears to be highly eurocentric. See also ‘Michelin guide in asia’ []
  2. Like all edx online courses, which are all made in close collaboration with a number of great universities []
  3. I do like his book “On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen” and plan to do a brief review at a later point []
  4. Right…this blog has a clear focus on the sweet world of candy. However, this does not mean that I want to draw a clear border to restrict myself. After all, not all candy is sweet and not everything that’s sweet is candy. Moreover, I really do expect that one can learn a lot from modernist cuisine in terms of techniques as well as a scientific understanding of fundamental processes in food and cooking. []
  5. By the way, there are many fabulous lectures on youtube such as those 2012 Harvard lectures on “Food & Science”. []

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  1. Experimental cooker | commented on 15. October 2013 , 09:08

    Thanks for the post! I had heard about that course earlier but didn’t know that there was a free online course in addition… I registered and so far really enjoy it!

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