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Announcing the 2014 UCLA Science & Food Public Lecture Series!

  Ole Mouritsen 400 Morihiro Onodera 400

The Science of Sushi

Wednesday April 23, 2014 – 7:00 PM

Schoenberg Hall, UCLA – MAP

In this lecture, Dr. Ole Mouritsen will illuminate the science underlying sashimi, nori, sushi rice, umami, and more.  He will be joined by Chef Morihiro Onodera who will share his approach to sushi as well as an inside look into his partnership with a rice farm in Uruguay.

Ole G. Mouritsen is a professor of molecular biophysics at the University of Southern Denmark. His research concentrates on basic science and its practical applications to biotechnology, biomedicine, gastrophysics, and gastronomy. He is an elected member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, The Danish Academy of Technical Sciences, and the Danish Gastronomical Academy. His books include Life: As a Matter of FatSushi: Food for the Eye, the Body, and the SoulSeaweeds: Edible, Available, and Sustainable and Umami. Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste.

Chef Morihiro Onodera trained as a sushi chef in Tokyo, and at seminal Los Angeles restaurants including Katsu, R-23, Matsuhisa, and Takao as well as Hatsuhana in NY. By the time he opened his first restaurant, Mori Sushi in Los Angeles, he was preparing many of the same handmade ingredients, harvesting his own locally grown rice and creating handmade pottery to be used in the restaurant. After selling Mori Sushi in 2011, Mori began creating handmade pottery for several Michelin Guide restaurants in Los Angeles and established a partnership with rice farmer, Ichiro Tamaki. Tamaki farms in Uruguay will harvest its first crop in May of 2013 and will be available for distribution world-wide.



How We Taste

Wednesday May 14, 2014 – 7:00PM
Schoenberg Hall, UCLA – MAP

In this lecture, we will explore how we taste from the perspectives of a scientist, a chef, and a food writer. Dr. Dana Small will describe how our brains respond to flavors, and shed light on the link to obesity. She will be joined by Chef Wylie Dufresne who will present his creative approach to generating surprising food flavors and textures.  Peter Meehan will share his experiences with food and taste and how they have shaped his writing, both as a cookbook author and former writer for The New York Times.

Dr. Dana Small is a Professor in Psychiatry at Yale University, a Fellow at the John B Pierce Laboratory, and visiting Professor at the University of Cologne. Her research focuses on understanding the mechanisms behind flavor preference formation, investigating the role of cognition in chemosensory perception, and determining how the modern food environment impacts brain circuitry.  She currently serves on the executive committee for the Association for Chemoreception Sciences and the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior.

After graduating from Colby College with a degree in philosophy, Chef Wylie Dufresne enrolled at the French Culinary Institute in New York and was then employed in various Jean-Georges restaurants.  In 2003, Dufresne opened wd~50, which was later awarded three stars by Frank Bruni of the New York Times and one star from the Michelin Guide. Wylie has been nominated for multiple James Beard Awards, including “Best Chef New York” for seven consecutive years, winning the award in 2013. Alder, Dufresne’s second restaurant, opened in Manhattan’s East Village in March 2013.

 Peter Meehan is a food writer who has written for The New York Times and has collaborated on several books, including Momofuku. He is co-editor of the quarterly print journal Lucky Peach.



Wylie Dufresne 300

Peter Meehan 400


Dave Arnold 400

Lena Kwak 400


Harnessing Creativity

(And the Science of Pie)

Sunday June 1, 2014 – 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Ackerman Grand Ballroom, UCLA – MAP

In this event, Dave Arnold will discuss his latest culinary innovations and the role of creativity in food. He will be joined by Chef Lena Kwak who will share her process of invention, research, and discovery in the kitchen. Also at this event, students of the Science & Food course will present the results of their apple pie projects, including their freshly baked pies in a large-scale pie tasting.  The event will close with an Iron-Chef style discussion of the winning pies featuring the keynote speakers and renowned judges from the Los Angeles community.

Dave Arnold earned his Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University’s School of the Arts and after meeting Chef Wylie Dufresne, became more passionate about all things culinary – the high-tech cooking movement in particular – and focused his engineering and inventing skills on professional and home cooking. In 2004, Arnold founded the Museum of Food and Drink in New York to promote learning about the history and culture of food. Partnering with Momofuku , Dave Arnold created the company called Booker and Dax, which is creating new equipment for use in the food sciences. Arnold has also transformed Momofuku Ssam Bar’s bar into the tech-heavy cocktail lounge, Booker and Dax at Ssam.

A graduate of Rhode Island’s Johnson & Wales Culinary Institute, Cup4Cup President and Co-Founder, Lena Kwak, began her culinary career as a private chef and caterer. While serving as Research & Development Chef for The French Laundry, Kwak was tasked with testing edible innovations. She excelled quickly and was assigned to devise a gluten-free version of Chef Thomas Keller’s famed Salmon Cornet. The result, which garnered a tearful response from a dinner guest with gluten intolerance, was the genesis of “Cup4Cup.” Since Cup4Cup’s release in 2011, Lena has been honored as one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” in 2011 and garnered a Zagat “30 Under 30” award in 2012.

Purchase Tickets

General admission tickets are available for $25 from the UCLA Central Ticket Office (CTO) . Tickets can be purchased from the UCLA CTO over the phone or in person and will not include additional fees or surcharges. The UCLA CTO is located on-campus and is open Monday-Friday, 10:00AM-4:00PM. A UCLA CTO representative can be reached during these hours at 310-825-2101. Tickets can also be purchased online from Ticketmaster for $25 plus additional fees.

A limited number of $5 student tickets are available to current UCLA students. These must be purchased in person at the UCLA CTO with a valid Bruin Card.