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The Science of Gastronomy

Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

About This Course

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.

Important Note: This course is not designed for people with special dietary needs such as vegetarian, diabetic, and gluten-free diets. If you feel uncomfortable with any part of the assignments or activities of this course, you can substitute some of the ingredients or ask friends and family members to help with the tasting of your assignments. Alternatively, you may skip that specific assignment provided that you have fulfilled all other qualifying requirement to pass the course.

Course Staff

King Chow, Professor

Life Science and Biomedical Engineering

Lam Lung Yeung, Associate Professor

Department of Chemistry