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Anthony Myint

Anthony Myint, a chef based in the Mission in San Francisco, is a founder of the restaurants The Perennial, Mission Street Food, Mission Chinese Food, Mission Cantina, Mission Burger, Lt. Waffle, and Commonwealth Restaurant. His cookbook, co-written with his wife Karen Leibowitz, Mission Street Food: Recipes and Ideas from an Improbable Restaurant, was a New York Times Notable cookbook in 2011. In 2010, Food & Wine Magazine listed Myint as one of the big food thinkers in their “Top 40 Under 40” list, and in 2011, was named as Eater.com’s empire builder of the year for San Francisco. As the pioneer of the charitable restaurant business, he was named SF Weekly’s Charitable Chef of the year in 2009 and is one-third of the non-profit, ZeroFoodprint.

See Anthony Myint May 19, 2016 at “Curbing Carbon Emissions in Dining: A Conversation with ZeroFoodprint”

Anthony Myint

What hooked you on cooking?
Years ago what got me into the industry was the desire to do things the way I thought they should be done. At the time that was to make food in the middle ground between serious fine dining food and fast food/cheap ethnic food. It seemed like there was plenty of culinary expertise that doesn’t cost anything, but wasn’t being utilized in the $8-$15 price range.
The coolest example of science in your food?
Since then my whole orientation has changed and I am very interested in food and climate change. So to me, the exciting thing right now is carbon farming—how the production of food can store significant amounts of carbon in the soil. Or maybe I should restore it (I think literally billions of tons of carbon used to be in the soil before we started plowing.)
The food you find most fascinating?
I had a whole evolution from being infatuated with technique driven junk food, to lighter and more delicate haute cuisine food, to now, food that prioritizes the environment on equal footing with flavor. That said, I am most fascinated by the business side of food and the best value.
What scientific concept–food related or otherwise–do you find most fascinating?
Carbon farming, carbon ranching, perennial grains and plants, and aquaponics as an intensive urban agricultural route to freeing up millions of acres of fields that are currently planted with annuals and could be switched to perennials.
Your best example of a food that is better because of science?
Kernza is a perennial grain that was being optimized through natural breeding for the last 10-15 years by The Land Institute, in conjunction with The University of Minnesota. It’s finally starting to become available and a lot of science has gone into making an intermediate wheatgrass that could do wonders environmentally, into something commercially competitive with annual semi-dwarf wheat.
How do you think science will impact your world of food in the next 5 years?
Making it taste better and be healthier and more eco-friendly. We recently visited the labs at Impossible Foods and they are doing exciting things with producing a vegetab;e protein based burger that really mimics meat, all the way down to bleeding and firming up at 140 F.
One kitchen tool you could not live without?
Silicon Spatula
Five things most likely to be found in your fridge?
Milk, eggs, chicken, beer, ranch dressing
Your all-time favorite ingredient?
Chicken skin.
Favorite cookbook?
That’s tough. I really like the Mugaritz cookbook because it is so analytical and articulate.
Your standard breakfast?
Scrambled eggs with a little bit of sautéed vegetables

Sandor Katz

Sandor Katz, a self-proclaimed fermentation revivalist, became hooked on fermentation with his first homemade batch of sauerkraut, earning him the nickname “Sandorkraut”. As an AIDS survivor, he considers fermented foods an important part of his health and well-being. His 2003 book, Wild Fermentation, was lauded by Newsweek as the “fermentation bible”, and his 2012 book, The Art of Fermentation, received a James Beard award and was a finalist at the International Association of Culinary Professionals. In 2014, Katz received the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance.

See Sandor Katz May 11, 2016 at “Microbes: From Your Food to Your Brain”

Sandor Katz

What hooked you on cooking?
I’ve always loved eating, and my parents both cooked and we were always expected to help in the kitchen. I got especially interested in cooking from scratch, and understanding and experiencing how the raw products of agriculture are transformed into the foods we love to eat.
The coolest example of science in your food?
Our food is all biology and chemistry. Of course, I am most tuned into the biological processes, though at a certain level they break down to chemistry. One question that I have thought a lot about is: Why is fermentation practiced everywhere? I do not know this to be absolute fact, but I have been unable to find any counter-example. And the reason that we now understand is that all of the plants and animal products that make up our food are populated by elaborate microbial communities. Microbial transformation of our food is an inevitability and the question is how do we deal with that fact.
The food you find most fascinating?
I’m endlessly fascinated by kefir, a fermented milk, or rather by the culture that produces it, undulating rubbery masses known as kefir grains. These symbiotic communities of bacteria and yeast (SCOBIES) are incredibly complex, with more than 30 distinct organisms that have been identified.
What scientific concept–food related or otherwise–do you find most fascinating?
Co-evolution. How we have evolved with plants and microorganisms and how they have influenced what we are and how we have influenced what they are, and how each of these organisms has influenced the others. All the foods that’ve been interested in come about as a result of these co-evolutionary relationships.
Your best example of a food that is better because of science?
Certainly fermentation is better understood because of science, and it is possible thanks to science to replicate particular ferments in environments other than those in which they emerged as spontaneous outcomes. However, it is important to note that science has had negative effects on fermentation practices as well as positive ones. The presumption that large undefined communities of organisms are dangerous has led to the replacement of traditional starter cultures with pure culture starters that cannot easily be perpetuated, thus diminishing the ability of home, village, or small-scale producers to perpetuate cultures and thereby breeding dependence on starters purchased from a lab for each batch.
How do you think science will impact your world of food in the next 5 years?
I’m very excited by all the new findings in microbiology, especially our emerging understandings of microbial communities in different environments and their complex interactions. My hope is that our growing understandings of the functional importance of microbial communities will help us move beyond the war on bacteria, and embrace bacteria as our ancestors, allies, and greatest protection.
One kitchen tool you could not live without?
My crocks! Vessels are the most basic of kitchen tools.
Five things most likely to be found in your fridge?
Milk, yogurt, starter cultures, beer, miso. Kraut and kimchi might be in the fridge, or might be on the counter.
Your all-time favorite ingredient? Favorite cookbook?
Brussels sprouts, along with almost any cruciferous vegetable. They are so delicious and versatile! I like to check out cookbooks and explore recipes from diverse sources, but Joy of Cooking is my enduring go-to.
Your standard breakfast?
I love to use my sourdough starter to make savory vegetable sourdough pancakes, incorporating almost any vegetables, leftover grains if I have them, and cheese, topped off with fried eggs and yogurt-hot sauce.

Paul Thompson

Dr. Paul Thompson, a PhD in philosophy, is a professor at Michigan State University and the W. K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics. He has served on many national and international committees on agricultural biotechnology and is the author of From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone, among many other books discussing ethics in food biotechnology, agriculture, and the environment. His research focuses on the ethical and philosophical questions regarding agriculture, food, and especially the development of agricultural techno-science.

See Paul Thompson March 8, 2016 at “The Impact of What We Eat: From Science & Technology, to Eating Local”.

Paul Thompson

What hooked you on cooking? On science?
My mother was a terrible cook. Lots of canned spinach, frozen fish sticks and macaroni & cheese out of the blue box. Both of my brothers and I learned to cook out of self-preservation.
The science thing is more complex. I trained in the philosophy of science and technology and I have studied the strengths and weaknesses of using science in assessing both food-related and environmental risks.
The coolest example of science in your food?
Don’t eat a potato after it has turned green. That’s a sign that the toxin-producing genes (normally active only in the leaves) have been activated in the tuber (that is, the part we eat).
The food you find most fascinating?
Maize (or corn). It couldn’t exist without human help. I’m fascinated in thinking about how native populations in Mexico managed to develop it from teosinte.
What scientific concept–food related or otherwise–do you find most fascinating?
Sustainability. And how it depends on systems thinking.
Your best example of a food that is better because of science?
The strawberry we know and love would not exist if the genes from two species of berry had not been crossed by French monks back in the 16th century.
We love comparing the gluten in bread to a network of springs. Are there any analogies you like to use to explain difficult or counter-intuitive food science concepts?
I do like to think about how the medieval concept of gluttony had nothing to do with physical health or obesity. It was about being too interested in the bodily experience of eating, not only eating too much, but being picky about one’s diet, eating at the wrong time of day, being too eager or preferring fine as opposed to coarse (e.g. peasant-style) foods.
One kitchen tool you could not live without?
Garlic press
Five things most likely to be found in your fridge?
Cottage cheese, pickles, half & half, tortillas (can’t get fresh ones in Michigan) and (of course) milk.
Your all-time favorite ingredient?
Onions. Everything is better with them.
Favorite cookbook?
I almost never use a cookbook, but my favorite would be The Vegetarian Epicure.
Your standard breakfast?
Oatmeal. It has to be steel-cut, preferably with dried Michigan tart cherries thrown in while it cooks.

Kent Kirshenbaum

Dr. Kent Kirshenbaum received his PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UCSF, is an NSF Career Award recipient, and is currently a professor of Chemistry at NYU. His research focuses on the creation of new peptide-based macromolecules that can be used as research tools or therapeutic strategies. In 2012, he filed a patent for a foaming agent which acts as a vegan substitute for egg whites, making vegan meringues a delicious possibility.

See Kent Kirshenbaum March 8, 2016 at “The Impact of What We Eat: From Science & Technology, To Eating Local”

Kent Kirshenbaum

What hooked you on cooking?
Spending time with my mom got me hooked on cooking. She exemplified the “slow food” concept, and she’d take days to make a pasta sauce. I grew up in a drafty house in San Francisco that was cold all year around, and being near her at the stove was the warmest place to be. Once my wife and I had kids, I realized how satisfying it was for me to provide my family with sustenance through cooking and culture through cuisine.
My dad got me hooked on science. He studied metallurgy and worked for a mining company. He would go on business trips and bring me back samples of different minerals to play with. It was kind of like the situation described in the book “Uncle Tungsten” by Oliver Sachs.
The coolest example of science in your food?
Mayonnaise. You take two immiscible liquids – oil and water, and find a way to get them to mix. How do they do that?? Add an emulsifier, provide some energy and voila! It’s just a shame the product itself is so repugnant.
The food you find most fascinating?
Fermented butters. Such as smen, the fermented butter of North Africa and “bog butter” from the British Isles.
What scientific concept–food related or otherwise–do you find most fascinating?
I’m fascinated by the relationship between the sequence, structure and function of proteins.
In the kitchen, transglutaminase — also known as meat glue — is a compelling example of enzymology. Nixtamilization is an amazing concept, and the word “nixtamilization” itself is like a really short poem.
Your best example of a food that is better because of science?
Either Pop Rocks or the clean water that comes out of my home faucet. Although I’m not sure either of them really qualify as a foodstuff.
We love comparing the gluten in bread to a network of springs. Are there any analogies you like to use to explain difficult or counter-intuitive food science concepts?
When explaining specificity in the sensory perception of food, I use the “lock in key” analogy to describe how ligands engage protein receptors. Although the analogy is imperfect, it begins to get the idea across.
How does your scientific knowledge or training impact the way you cook? Do you conduct science experiments in the kitchen?
Because I am trained as a chemist, I am fastidious about following a published protocol (recipe) and I tend to be absurdly precise about volumes. I love experimenting with food – we filed a patent application on new way to make vegan meringues. But when it comes to cooking at home I tend to be a traditionalist.
One kitchen tool you could not live without?
My home water carbonation system. I love sparkling water that I can generate from the New York City public water supply and doesn’t need to be shipped from a European spring.
Five things most likely to be found in your fridge?
Harissa, capers, preserved sour cherries, home-made stock and parmesan cheese. I get anxious if my supply of Reggiano is running low.
Your all-time favorite ingredient? Favorite cookbook?
I’m a spice guy. Right now I’m fixated on sumac and cardamom. My favorite cookbooks is “Where Flavor Was Born” by Andreas Viestad which explores how spices are used across the region of the Indian Ocean. It inspired me to visit a cardamom plantation in Kerala, India.
Other favorites include “In Nonna’s Kitchen” and “Cucina Ebraica”, because these books connect me to the memories of my mother and her mother.
Your standard breakfast?
A cup of black coffee and a baked good that I enjoy on my walk from home to my lab. New Yorkers have a bad habit of walking and eating. On the weekends, bagels and smoked salmon. No doughnuts. Never a doughnut. Maybe a beignet. But only in New Orleans.

Ernest Miller

Ernest Miller, a pro at food preservation, was once the Executive Chef at Farmer’s Kitchen in Hollywood. In 2011, he relaunched the Los Angeles County Master Food Preserver program, where he was the lead instructor. Nowadays, Miller reigns as founder, chef, instructor, and historian of Rancho La Merced Provisions LLC., which provides “food and classes that reflect the rich history of California.”

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What hooked you on cooking?
I grew up in Los Angeles in the 1970s and my uncle took me, my brothers and cousins out for exotic meals, such as sushi and authentic Chinese food (exotic in the 70s), sparking my interest in different flavors and cuisines. Later, when I was traveling the world with the US Navy I would always explore local foods and then try come home and try to replicate it.
The coolest example of science in your food?
Pressure canned food that is boiling in the jar at near room temperature because of the high vacuum in the jar. A simple middle school experiment, certainly, but I still get a kick out of it every time I pressure can food.
The food you find most fascinating?
Milk. It is one of the main distinctions between mammals and other animals and is a nearly perfect food for growing infants. Although many adults are lactose intolerant, many others have the most recently evolved ability (unlike most mammals) to digest milk. And beyond the simple beverage, our ability to transform milk’s texture, flavor and form amazes me. Yogurt (and all its permutations), cheeses, whey, ice cream, whipped cream, powdered milk, etc. etc. etc.
What scientific concept–food related or otherwise–do you find most fascinating?
Evolution. The incredible diversity of life on our planet is awe inspiring and readily explained by, in broad terms, a relatively simple and elegant process. It boggles the mind. Evolution made many, many very delicious things.
Your best example of a food that is better because of science?
Anything pasteurized. Many of us would not be here today without food that has been made safer for human consumption through pasteurization. Does this mean that everything has to be pasteurized? Of course not. But the fact that we are even able to debate whether or not certain foods should be pasteurized is thanks to that saint of food preservation, Louis Pasteur.
How do you think science will impact your world of food in the next 5 years?
One of the main goals of the Master Food Preserver program is to teach the general public researched-based safe food preservation practices. My hope is that we will see more scientific research that will increase what we are able to teach to home cooks.
One kitchen tool you could not live without?
My 10″ chef’s knife.
Five things most likely to be found in your fridge?
Milk. Eggs. Cheese. Homemade Fermented Hot Sauce. Preserved Lemons.
Your all-time favorite ingredient?
Preserved lemons. They are incredibly versatile. They can be used in any dish that can be improved by lemon and salt … and there are few dishes that cannot be improved by lemon and salt.
Favorite cookbook?
It isn’t a cookbook per se, but The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dorenenburg is my go to book when I want to cook. It provides a compendium of ingredients and what other ingredients they pair well with. There are no recipes, but if you know how to cook, you can use this book to inspire you. I use it to cook out of my pantry. I’ll see what I have available and then look through the Flavor Bible until I am inspired to make a dish.
Your standard breakfast?
Leftovers, primarily, but porridge (not just oatmeal) and yogurt are my staples.

Juliet Han

Juliet Han graduated from UC San Diego before moving to Washington D.C. for a music policy internship. She eventually switched to coffee and has now been working in the coffee industry for over a decade. Han has been a judge for regional barista competitions and represented Intelligentsia Coffee in the 2012 U.S. Cup Tasters Championship, where she placed third. Currently, Han is a roaster for Blue Bottle Coffee.

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Image taken from Juliet Han’s Twitter (@JulietintheBae)

What hooked you on coffee?
It hit me one day after years of being a Barista as a side job…I was never bored with it! It was a number of things…the sensory discipline it took to taste coffee (what we call cuppings) to the people in the industry. After 10 years, I’m still learning a lot and having fun.
The coolest example of science in your coffee?
I would say the process of roasting. The process of roasting has barely been studied academically unlike a lot of culinary subjects. So many things are going on when you roast coffee; it’s a volatile process with complicated aromas and many variables to consider.
The food you find most fascinating?
Mushrooms…the way they grow, their flavors, texture, everything about it.
What scientific concept–coffee related or otherwise–do you find most fascinating?
I’m studying chemistry right now, so the idea of matter. Everything around us is basically matter comprised of atoms and molecules. It’s that simple, and so complicated. On my first day of class, there was an article of “Chemistry of Roasting” on the bulletin board about the chemicals that are released in the process of roasting; I can’t wait to read it again after I finish this class to make some sense out of it.
Your best example of a food that is better because of science?
Dairy, especially milks and cheese, but that’s a whole new world I’m scared to explore.
How do you think science will impact your world of coffee in the next 5 years?
Science will impact coffee tremendously as it is slowly starting to already. Coffee is a global agriculture/commodity, a cultural phenomenon and a staple beverage in many countries’. More and more, I’m reading about universities developing “studies” for coffee that vary in topic. From coffee varietals to understanding water temperature, the value of science needed in the coffee community is at a higher demand.
One kitchen tool you could not live without?
My Brita water pitcher—LA water is not the tastiest.
Five things most likely to be found in your fridge?
Eggs, salsa, carrots, onions, baking soda
Your all-time favorite ingredient? Favorite cookbook?
I put Tapatio on most everything. I would put it in coffee if I thought it would make it taste better. Cookbooks, do online publications count? I’m a huge fan of SmittenKitchen.com and ThugKitchen.com.
Your standard breakfast?
Coffee, then followed by whatever I can find (day old pastries, yogurt, bananas) unless it’s a big coffee tasting day…then I will make sure to eat a lot of bland carbs so I don’t lose my mind an hour into tasting.

Eve Lahijani

Eve Lahijani graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Economics and Business and went on to earn her Masters in Nutritional Science at CSU Los Angeles. She is now a registered dietitian for Vitamineve, a nutrition counseling service, and a nutrition health educator at UCLA. Eve’s Fiat Lux seminars on body image and proper nutrition have given many UCLA freshmen the tools necessary to maintain a healthy relationship with food.

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What hooked you on cooking?
I love learning about eating behavior. What, how and why people eat is intriguing to me. Especially when the eating is not related to physical hunger.
The coolest example of science in your food?
The process of denaturing an egg white and turning that into a soufflé is like magic to me.
The food you find most fascinating?
Ice cream is cool. Couldn’t help myself with that pun 🙂 I do appreciate the endless array flavors, textures, colors and combinations that can be created!
What scientific concept–food related or otherwise–do you find most fascinating?
How complicated eating behavior and food has become for some people (especially in harmful ways including over and under-eating and other compulsive eating behaviors) – and each individual’s process of understanding, simplifying and ultimately healing their relationship with food.
Your best example of a food that is better because of science?
I love Boysenberries and they are a blackberry/raspberry hybrid. Thank you science! And of course seedless watermelon.
We love comparing the gluten in bread to a network of springs. Are there any analogies you like to use to explain difficult or counter-intuitive food science concepts?
Yes: Eating in a balanced way is like a pendulum in a grandfather clock. You know, it swings back and forth. If the pendulum swings really far in one direction, due to the laws of physics it will swing far back in the opposite direction. Same holds true with eating. That is, if someone restricts (or goes on a diet) it pushes the pendulum too far in one direction so the better someone gets at depriving themselves the more likely the pendulum would swing far back in the opposite direction which may result in binges, cravings or overeating.
How does your scientific knowledge or training impact the way you cook? Do you conduct science experiments in the kitchen?
I like to plan to have well balanced meals that include components that bring about satisfaction. So I like to make sure my cooking involves carbohydrates, protein and fat – as well as fruits and vegetables. My science experiments include cupcake decorating along with trying new recipes with ingredients I get from the farmers market.
One kitchen tool you could not live without?
Sharp knife
Five things most likely to be found in your fridge?
Oranges, soy milk, Brussels sprouts, peanut butter, eggs and garlic so I guess that’s six!
Your all-time favorite ingredient?
Does chocolate flavored coconut ice-cream count as a food ingredient?
Your standard breakfast?
It’s always evolving. Right now I am into a mushroom, onion and garlic omelet or whole grain waffles with peanut butter. Whatever I choose I usually include some fruit and/or milk.

Ari Rosenson

Ari Rosenson began his culinary career at 16 working at Spago West Hollywood, eventually working his way up to executive sous-chef at Spago Beverly Hills. He is now executive chef at CUT Beverly Hills, where he is dedicated to serving the best meats and farmers market vegetables. His dishes are inspired by the simplicity of Italian cuisines.

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What hooked you on cooking?
Two things got me hooked. I love the fact that something so simple as cooking a meal for someone can make them so happy. This is a great form of instant gratification. The alchemy of cooking is very fun. The fact that there are endless learning opportunities keeps my curiosity satiated.
The coolest example of science in your food?
Playing with fire… Simple adjustments to the formula that affects the quality of the fire you are working with and how that controls the quality and speed of cooking process of the food I am manipulating. I find this to be very cool.
The food you find most fascinating?
I can’t say that there is just one or a group of foods that I find fascinating. I find all food fascinating and the fact that there are endless possibilities to what you can do with it amazes me.
What scientific concept–food related or otherwise–do you find most fascinating?
Evolution intertwined with Causality. How we evolve as a species, the history of what we have done, are doing and are planning on doing to ourselves and the environment around us is very interesting. This can relate to food in whole or in part. For example, global warming has a profound effect on weather patterns thus having an effect on our food production and so on and so on.
Your best example of a food that is better because of science?
I can’t really come to a conclusion with this question. All food is better because of science. If we didn’t have science and food we would still be cooking our food around a fire like cavemen.
How do you think science will impact your world of food in the next 5 years?
Negatively. I think that we overanalyze data when it comes to food safety and create laws that might seem to make food safer but effectively changes chefs physical practices. Too much of a nanny state can be a dangerous thing.
One kitchen tool you could not live without?
My knife. You really can’t do anything without cutting it down to size first.
Five things most likely to be found in your fridge?
Eggs, Sriracha, Pickles, Avocado, Bread
Your all-time favorite ingredient?
Salt
Favorite cookbook?
On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee
Your standard breakfast?
Coffee plus everything in question #8 (with the exception of the pickles.) Nothing like a simple scrambled egg sandwich on toast with avocado and a little srircha on the side.

Lauryn Chun

Lauryn Chun runs small-batch food business Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi and is the author of The Kimchi Cookbook. Chun revolutionized kimchi by bringing it out from the margins of traditional side dish-dom to center stage as a main course.

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What hooked you on cooking?
My earliest childhood memories in Seoul, Korea – foraging for wild herbs and plants on walks with my grandmother, watching my grandmother and mother cooking in the kitchen gave me a sense of comfort in the kitchen. I loved all the aromas and witnessing how ingredients transformed into a meal and an event. It felt like magic for me as little kid. Creating a dish to feed the entire (extended) family formed a deep appreciation for food as a gift, nourishment and an event.
The coolest example of science in your food?
Watching the initial state of lactic fermentation while making my first kimchi batch, witnessing the continuous state of change as kimchi ferments. The ‘exposion’ and bubbling of kimchi’s anaerobic state and pressure inside lids in jars that causes kimchi to expand with oxygen when opening – kind of like a fake toy snake poping out of a can. Watching the live active lactic bacteria fermentation in action. It is magical and there’s a reverence for nature’s ability to make food safe through lactic bacteria at its simplest state which is essentially salt (brine) and vegetable.
The food you find most fascinating?
I like simple foods and flavors with texture and taste that is balanced. I do think that kimchi is absolutely fascinating the way I think about balance of flavors and textures. By taking process of vegetable’s natural fermented state of acid (making its own vinegar) and flavors, it is akin to ‘cooking’ a dish to achieve a balance of flavors and textures. The latin word ‘fevere’ which is root of word ‘fermentation’ means to boil with foam – a perfect description of how live bacterias are working to break down the natural state without heat. When we are creating a dish in the kitchen, it is the flavors of adding acids and flavors to achieve a balance of taste that is pleasant in our mouth when we taste.
What scientific concept–food related or otherwise–do you find most fascinating?
Chemistry of taste and physiology of what we taste, our connectivity in brain that tells us something tastes delicious, balance of flavors, texture and desirability. I think my truly taking the time to taste foods is the best way to nurture ourselves and future generations eating foods for good health and ethics.
Your best example of a food that is better because of science?
Kimchi fermentation, soy sauce, cheese making, wines.
How do you think science will impact your world of food in the next 5 years?
I think it can go either direction of good, using science to have better understanding of natural unprocessed foods or bad with corporate profit and industrial scaling of production to manipulate nature through bio-engineered foods and seeds.
One kitchen tool you could not live without?
Cusinart Mini hand blender-chopper, takes up no space in the cabinets and so versatile, 15 years and counting…
Five things most likely to be found in your fridge?
Kimchi, kimchi and kimchi…. And variety of cheeses, chile flakes, soy bean paste, mustard…
Your all-time favorite ingredient?
My all time favorite ingredient would be yellow onions as they create such a base of flavor in every type of cooking.
Favorite cookbook?
Favorite cookbook would be Marcella Hazan’s Essential Italian Cooking.
Your standard breakfast?
Usually something savory like a poached egg and toast or healthy museli and definitely coffee.

Marcel Vigneron

Chef Marcel Vigneron was first introduced to the public eye as the runner-up of season two’s Top Chef. Known on the show for his molecular gastronomy techniques, Vigneron has since then built upon his specialty with his own reality TV show in 2010, Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen, and competing on Iron Chef and later seasons of Top Chef.

Marcel Vigneron

What hooked you on cooking?
I love a good challenge and cooking is one of the only occupations that I can think of that requires you to utilize every single one of your senses while simultaneously challenging you not only physically, but mentally and creatively. It pretty much provides me with everything I would ever want out of a career and you get to perform a good deed for society and provide people with not only nourishment but also experience.
The coolest example of science in your food?
Science is always in our food whether we know it or not but if I had to choose one, I would say I thoroughly enjoy working with eggs! Whether it be by whipping whites to peaks, yolks to sabayon, making a hollandaise or whatever the case may be, eggs allow for so many fascinating scientific processes to take place through emulsification, aeration, coagulation and many more…
The food you find most fascinating?
Rather than say “eggs” again, which would probably be my first choice, I will venture to say that I find olive oil to be quite fascinating. It’s amazing how something when raw can taste so disgusting but through brining and pressing one can yield such an amazingly diverse and healthy product that goes with just about anything…
What scientific concept–food related or otherwise–do you find most fascinating?
Brining and curing have always fascinated me. Originally used as means of preservation, they have now become a staple technique in the kitchen for so many things.
Your best example of a food that is better because of science?
Vinaigrettes!!! A simple combination of oil and vinegar becomes so much more practical when emulsified temporarily or permanently with the addition of xanthan gum.
How do you think science will impact your world of food in the next 5 years?
I think science will make a positive impact on the world of food in the next 5 years through education. Every phenomenon that takes place during cooking and even in agriculture can be explained through science. The more we understand these activities and happenings the more prepared we will be to make conscious decisions regarding the future of our food.
One kitchen tool you could not live without?
ALL I NEED IS 1 KNIFE!!!!
Five things most likely to be found in your fridge?
Yuzu juice, miso paste, tofu, almond milk, fish on ice.
Your all-time favorite ingredient?
Salt because it brings out the flavor in everything.
Favorite cookbook?
Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry.
Your standard breakfast?
Chia seeds hydrated in almond milk with berries and nuts.