Colleges’ Edible Science Fair Goes Cajun


Inspired by an episode of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” where the contestants had to communicate an element of food science through an Edible Science Fair, Hobart and William Smith Colleges Associate Professor of Chemistry Justin Miller’s students used food to introduce people to the impact of science – and particularly chemistry – in their daily lives. He and Associate Professor of Food Science at Cornell University Gavin Sacks have developed a student competition, “Communicating Chemistry: Cajun Cooking (C4),” which will take place during the 245th meeting of the American Chemical Society this spring in New Orleans.
The theme of the meeting is food and energy. Student teams will make live, interactive presentations that convey critical topics in food chemistry in the style of popular food science television shows such as the Food Network’s “Good Eats.” Miller and Sacks designed C4 to encourage student members of the American Chemical Society to develop their science communication and teamwork skills in a creative environment while also learning about chemistry through the lens of Cajun cuisine.
Undergraduate and graduate student teams of up to four members are invited to enter the competition. They will be tasked with explaining the chemistry of a technique or dish featured in Cajun cuisine. The focus may be on a well-known Cajun dish, a technique important to regional cooking, or on chemical transformation that unites the cuisine. Three teams will be selected as finalists and receive complementary registration and travel vouchers to the spring American Chemical Society meeting. The final competition takes place Tuesday, April 9, 2013, concurrent with the meeting, at Dickie Brennan’s Tableau Restaurant (French Quarter, New Orleans).
In addition to opening his kitchen to chemists, Darin Nesbit, executive chef of Dickie Brennan family of restaurants will participate as a celebrity judge. Other celebrity judges include Terry Acree, professor of food science at Cornell University; Shirley Corriher, author of “Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking” and “BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking;” and Harold McGee, author of “On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. For more information, contact Miller at [email protected], or Sacks, [email protected] Deadline for student entries is Feb.18, 2013.

posted by Anna Nguyen