Elements head chef discusses materials science in the kitchen with PRISM graduate students
In a rare behind the scenes exhibition of Princeton’s fabled Elements restaurant, Chef Scott Anderson taught PRISM graduate students about culinary applications of materials science. The diverse student audience, assembled from a number of different science and engineering departments, was surprised to see how fundamental materials science principles routinely used in research could be applied to culinary innovation. In one demonstration, Chef Anderson showed students how exploiting the phase change behavior of eggs with precise temperature controlled cooking equipment results in the perfect “hardboiled” egg (see picture). Other topics of discussion included controlling the microstructure of meat to affect tenderness, accelerating flavorful browning reactions by altering the chemical environments of ingredients during cooking, powderizing bacon, and many other interesting culinary applications of materials science. The event concluded with a delicious lunch showcasing materials science principles discussed during the kitchen tour, leaving students with a new perspective on the art and science of cooking.