The Nordic Food Lab – When Science Meets Gastronomy

The Nordic Food Lab – When Science Meets GastronomySpoonFed: Via Honest Cooking

On a houseboat in Copenhagen harbor, in front of noma, they have turned gastronomy into science. The Nordic Food Lab is working to discover new flavours and they are trying to find a more sustainable, a more delicious way of eating – and preserving – nature.
By Kasper Fogh.

Entering the Nordic Food Lab is like entering a new world. Shelves are packed with herbal vinegars, extractions, infusions, while bags of teas from different kinds of wood occupy the fridges. The vacuum machine constantly seethes and hisses. A massive pharmaceutical centrifuge stands in the corner used for all sorts of weird and wonderful decontructions. When opening the polished steel cupboards of the houseboat it reveals the herbal and floral collection of a small natural museum.

The Nordic Food Lab is best described as a radical innovation scheme coupling sciences such as botany and zoology with gastronomy. Here chefs (or scientists) are working to discover new flavours and trying to find a more sustainable, more delicious way of eating – and preserving – nature.

Ben Reade is the new head of Nordic Food Lab. He is inspired by the golden age of natural exploration, the age of Darwin and the era where the great natural collections were assembled. “Speaking from a culinary point of view we are nowhere near having an understanding of what in nature we can use and how. But that’s what we are trying to discover here and what the Nordic food movement is about – redirecting everybody’s attention to nature”, Ben says.

”When I came here, it was like tumbling down a rabbit hole, finding the world I wanted to be in”, Bens says and continues: “I was always interested in developing new flavors, new food – the exploration of the tasting experience”, Ben explains. Having a foot in both the world of the chef and that of a scientist, This is one of very, very few places he’d fit in: ”The science world is very slow, and often deprived of the sensory emphasis of working with quality food – all the fantastic and constant sensory experiences that a chef has”. After having graduated he returned to Noma and the Nordic Food Lab, helping among other things, with ‘MAD Symposium’ the annual event which has become a gathering of the worlds top food minds. [...] READ MORE

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