Recording Naked Scientists radio programme

Naked Scientists goes foodie

Naked scientists radio recording – Fry me up a perfect fish with a blow torch!

Turning up in the lovely English summer rain to Chris Smith’s house to record the Naked Scientists foodie section was a great experience.. Chris is the originator and producer of this long running popular science and news show and podcast. 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.

Home radio studio
Dr Chris Smith recording for Naked Scientists in the home studio

In the dining room was “techspert” Peter Cowley  talking live about the breaking news on the world’s fastest new supercomputer. Then on to mosquitoes, shark repellent wet suits and finally we got to the food….

The Naked Scientist dinner party

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 – now Vanderlyle restaurant owner – and a master of chocolate – all there to help reveal the science behind the perfect dinner party. I joined them as a food scientist, using my expertise as senior lecturer on the MSc Food Science, London Metropolitan University.

First was Chris Smith, producer, 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, also describing how ants are providing him with funky new flavours for the prize winning Anty Gin. Then tasting the ant distillate was a novel new experience. Apparently,  it is also much favoured in the House of Lords.

Innovative gin made from ants
Cambridge Distillery’s Anty Gin – first find your wood ants …

After the gin aperitifs, Alex Rushmer and myself  – Dr Sue Bailey – dealt with the main course for the Naked Scientists go foodie section.

How to fry a perfect fish

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

Alex and I talked Chris through how to fry the perfect fish, complete with sound effects. Alex revealed the secret to cooking the best fish simply – as a restaurant would do it. I then gave the scientific explanation as to how this is achieved – its all about denaturing fish proteins and the Maillard reaction. Find out by listening to the podcast for the technique suggested.

Blow-torching for foodies for the Naked scientist
Blow torching for fish

The best course of any meal? Dessert! Adam Geileskey, Head of Chocolate Development at Hotel Chocolate  told presenter Georgia Mills all about the physics of chocolate emulsions. He then talked through how to make the perfect ganache whilst he was creating the desert.  We all then enthusiastically sampled the intense chocolate pots.

Hotel Chocolate goes all foodie for the Naked scientist
Adam making a chocolate and orange ganache

It was a yummy first for the programme and one that we hope to repeat.

The programe went out live on BBC Radio Cambridge, nationally on BBC Radio 5 Live and internationally on ABC Radio National, Australia.

It is  available globally as a podcast at

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