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Science & Food 2014 Undergraduate Course

2014 Course Lecturers

This week marks the beginning of UCLA’s Spring Quarter, which can only mean one thing… It’s time for the Science & Food undergraduate course! We have a stellar lineup of chefs and farmers slated for our third annual offering of Science & Food: The Physical and Molecular Origins of What We Eat. Although the course is only open to current UCLA students, we will be posting highlights from the course right here on the blog. Until then, check out this year’s course speakers and brush up on some of the great science we’ve learned in past courses.

And don’t forget: the Science & Food 2014 Public Lecture Series is fast approaching, so be sure to get your tickets before they sell out. Hope to see you all there!


2014 Science & Food Course Lecturers

The Molecules of Food
Eve Lahijani, UCLA School of Public Health

Why Carrots Taste Sweeter in the Winter
Ashleigh Parsons, alma
Ari Taymor, alma
Brian D. Maynard, alma
Courtney Guerra, Courtney Guerra Farms

Molecules from Soil to Plants
Ernest Miller, Master Food Preservers of Los Angeles County

Self-Assembly: From Proteins and Lipids to Cheese
Ole Mouritsen, University of Southern Denmark

Apple Pie 101
Daryl Ansel, UCLA Dining Services

Why Lettuce is Crispy
Andrea Crawford, Kenter Canyon Farms

Meat Texture and Elasticity
Ari Rosenson, CUT

Viscosity: From Physiology to Pie Filling
Nicole Rucker, Gjelina Take Away

Microbes in Food
Alex Brown, Gourmet Imports

The Physiology of Taste
Juliet Han, Espresso Republic


Highlights From Past Science & Food Courses

Why Are Root Vegetables Sweeter in Cold Weather? – Alex Weiser, Weiser Family Farms

Milk: From Breast to Cheese  Dan Drake, Drake Family Farms

The Molecules of Food and Nutrition  Dr. Dena Herman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Viscosity in French Sauces  Josiah Citrin, Mélisse

It’s All About Sugar  Barbara Spencer, Windrose Farm

The Molecules of Food Jordan Kahn, Red Medicine

Dan Drake

Dan Drake is the owner of Drake Family Farms in Southern California. As a veterinarian, Dan has been overseeing the health of the Drake Family Farms goat herd for the past 26 years. Using quality milk from their goats, Drake Family Farms produces farmstead and artisan cheeses that are sold locally throughout Southern California.

Dan_Drake

What hooked you on farming?
I grew up on a farm and love working with the animals. I named my animals and made them part of my family. I am especially addicted to raising goats, and so I started a cheese company so I could justify keeping my goats. It is a ridiculous idea, and over the past three years it has been a financial disaster. But that is what farming is, a labor of love and bad finances. Farmers are victims of “Stockholm syndrome” with the far as the captor.
The coolest example of science in your food?
The mold-ripened cheese: as it ages and ripens it becomes more delicious.
The food you find most fascinating?
Cheese, of course, is the most fascinating food on the planet. I find it amazing that you can make so many varieties from the same milk.
What scientific concept—food related or otherwisedo you find most fascinating?
A farm filled with healthy, happy goats produces delicious, high-quality milk that makes the very best cheese—cheese that is unparalleled in quality and flavor. It is all about the goat biological system and how healthy the goats are. People think it is just good karma coming through in the cheese, which it probably is, but you can see the science of population health and productivity all the way through the process.
Your best example of a food that is better because of science?
I believe all of our cheese is superior because we start with superior quality milk. Without healthy goats, the milk would not produce superior quality cheese. It all goes back to the quality of the starting ingredients: in our case, the milk. You can’t fix damaged milk. You have to start over again with better milk.
How do you think science will impact your world of food in the next 5 years?
I am hopeful that science will help us to become more efficient in producing the crops we feed our goats, and therefore our cheese production will become more efficient. They say we have to feed 9 billion people on this planet in the coming years. We won’t be able to do it with our current farming methods. Hopefully these new technologies and scientific discoveries will also help us to work better with our environment and preserve our planet at the same time. I believe it can and will be done, we just need some smart scientists to figure it out AND we need the public to accept the discoveries they make.
One kitchen tool you could not live without?
A cheese knife.
Five things most likely to be found in your fridge?
Cheese, tomatoes, chicken, tortillas, Dr. Pepper
Your all-time favorite ingredient?
Cheese. You can add it to anything and it always tastes better with cheese.
Favorite cookbook?
My Grandma Drake’s hand-written recipes.
Your standard breakfast?
My favorite: an omelet with a lot of cheese and meats, a fresh baked tomato with pepper, sourdough toast with lots of real butter and strawberry jam, fresh-squeezed orange juice.
My reality on-the-go: a quesadilla and a Dr. Pepper while driving down the freeway to work.