How to spend a great Sunday – Naked scientists goes foodie

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Naked scientists radio recording June 2016

Turning up in the lovely English summer rain to Chris Smith’s house to record the live foodie bit of Naked Scientist was a great experience . We – the food and drink contingent, were all in his kitchen, with the recording and mixing deck. Squeezed in were Georgia Mills assistant producer, Chris’s wife plus their children whizzing around and waiting to taste.  In the dining room was “techspert” Peter Cowley taking live about the breaking news on the fastest new Chinese supercomputer in the world – Sunway TaihuLight. Then on to mosquitoes, shark repellent wet suits and finally we got to the food….

The program had been researched and  produced by Queens’ College Naked Scientists Prize Intern, Dr Fanny Yuen. She had done a fantastic job organizing us all, briefing and checking through timing of the live food element.

It was a new challenge for the Naked Scientists to host their very own dinner party..The guests included a master distiller, a Masterchef finalist and a master of chocolate – all there to help reveal the science behind the perfect dinner party with food scientist Dr Sue Bailey senior lecturer on the MSc Food Science , London Metropolitan University.

First  was Chris Smith,  the amazing polymathical medical consultant and science media expert,  talking to Will Lowe, Master Distiller of the Cambridge Distillery. Will explained the basics about the science of distilling gin, and how ants are providing him with funky new flavours for the prize winning Anty Gin. Tasting the ant distillate was a novel new experience. It is also much favored in the House of Lords.

First round up your wood ants
First round up your wood ants

Then Dr Sue Bailey from London Metropolitan University and Alex Rushmer, Masterchef finalist  and chef owner of the  Hole in the Wall restaurant, just outside Cambridge, dealt with the main course.

Getting ready to blow torch the fish
Getting ready to blow torch the fish

Chris asked how does temperature affect flavour, why does brown food taste better and how can a blowtorch improve your cooking?

Dr Sue Bailey and Alex Rushmer talked Chris Smith through how to fry the perfect fish complete with sound effects. The secret to cooking the best fish simply as a restaurant would do it was revealed by Alex. Sue gave the scientific explanation as to how this is achieved through denaturing fish proteins and the Maillard reaction. Find out by listening to the podcast for the technique suggested.

Blowtorching for fish
Blow-torching for fish

The best course of any meal? Dessert! To find out  about the physics of chocolate emulsions and how to make the perfect ganache, Georgia Mills invited Adam Geileskey, Head of Chocolate Development at Hotel Chocolate to make desert. This was enthusiastically sampled by the eager audience.

Adam making a chocolate and orange ganache
Adam making a chocolate and orange ganache

It was a yummy first for the programme and one that we hope will be repeated.

 

The programe went out live on BBC Radio Cambridge, nationally on BBC Radio 5 Live and internationally on ABC Radio National, Australia. It is now  distributed globally as a podcast at http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/podcasts/naked-scientists/show/20160628/.

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