Harvard's Science and Cooking 2013 Lecture Series
I saw this on Eater: Science and Cooking 2013 Lecture Series will start up soon. Ferran Adrià, David Chang, Joanne Chang, etc.
Mods - this is a Boston-area event that I thought would be of interest to folks here, and it features at least one local chef. Feel free to mod it away though.
The Adria one, when I went, was a letdown. Little serious discussion of chemistry or food theory; not much teaching. There was (yet another) demo of spherification, my least favorite of the big modernist techniques. And a book signing. McGee was there; he signed my book. Jose Andres, however, was delightful, funny and engaging; I got the impression that since he translates at many of Adria's US events, he's accustomed to saving the show a bit.
yes Adria is free just with tickets issued ahead of time (though iirc the tickets are only valid for up to 10-15 mins before start, at which point they fill the place up with anyone who shows up at the door).
And yes, the lectures require lining up; there was a substantial line last year for every lecture i went to (most) 30-45 minutes beforehand... but i honestly don't know how many people on a given night would end up not getting in. It's a big space, and everyone just seemed to be queuing earlier than necessary.
some that i liked:
Dave Arnold, who helps open it, has done amazing demos (and leftover samples to run up and try after). His bar, booker and dax, in ny, has also become a favorite place to visit.
Chang's topic this year looks similar to last, where he talked about trying to use fermentation with a much broader ingredient base than we're used to. e.g. making a pork equivalent to bonito flakes, as well as his attempts to make miso equivalents from different products than soy- cashew 'miso', etc. he had some nice little samples too. He was also in the midst of working on making an olive based product that was not working out, which was interesting to see him admit/work through the issues with the group.
Dufresne and his cospeaker had a really interesting lecture last year on experimenting with foie, a lot of which also dealt with the reality of what it's like to try and experiment with expensive ingredients, how you mimic them earlier in trial stage to save money, etc.
chocolate lecture (forget their names) i enjoyed a lot: focus on how you temper chocolate to create good mouthfeel, which relies on the different temperatures that cocoa fat solidifies at, and how you encourage it to uniformly take on the one crystal structure that produces the best texture.
Some i was less a fan of:
harold mcgee is a brilliant guy, but his first half of the lecture with dave arnold was veerrrry slooow, though it admittedly had some nice key points.
Yosses, the white house pastry chef, had cool pictures and one fun demo but unfortunately last year spent half the time talking about Michelle Obama's Let's Move/white house garden work (important topics, but not what i went to the lecture for).