The Science of Gastronomy


This course introduces several basic scientific principles underpinning the methodology of cooking, food preparation, and the enjoyment of food. All topics covered have a strong basis in biology, chemistry, and physics application. Among others, they include the consumption of cooked food, the physiological and evolutionary implications of the senses, geographic and cultural influences on food, and the rationale behind food preparation. We will also discuss issues such as coupling of senses to improve sense stimulation; altering flavor by chemical means, and modification of the coloration to improve the appearance of dishes. Following the video demonstrations of the scientific principles of cooking, you will learn to recognize the key ingredients and their combinations for preparing good healthy food. You will also be asked to try out and practice specific cooking principles through the weekly assignments; analyze your data and make comparisons of your experiences with others.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:
– appreciate the scientific basis of various recipes.
– develop your own recipes by integrating some of the scientific principles into new dishes.
– recognize the influence of the material world on human perception from the different senses.
– appreciate the art of integrating science into cooking and dining.
Important Note: This course is not designed for people with special dietary needs such as vegetarian, diabetic, and gluten-free diets. If you feel uncomfortable with any part of the assignments or activities of this course, you can substitute some of the ingredients or ask friends and family members to help with the tasting of your assignments. Alternatively, you may skip that specific assignment if you have fulfilled all other qualifying requirements to pass the course.
Course Overview video:

What you will learn

Orientation | Module 1: Energy Transfer

Before you start with the content for Energy Transfer, please watch the Course Overview, review the Grading Scheme, and read the Important Note on special dietary needs.

Module 2: Hunger and Satiety

This week, we will talk about Hunger and Satiety. There will be two interesting assignments for you to work on.

Module 3: The Sense of Taste

This week, we will talk about how food flavor affects our perception of taste. Again, there will be two interesting assignments for you to work on.

Module 4: The Sense of Smell

This week, we will talk about how the aroma of food affects our perception of taste. We have prepared one assignment on this topic for you to work on.

What’s included