Usually whenever a pop science course shows up at a college, it’s got something to do with fictional entertainment, such as the Walking Dead course or the Science of Batman. And while those two classes are pretty awesome in and of themselves, they probably aren’t that useful in everyday life, unless you’re just really into survival and crime fighting. But the Harvard and MIT-sponsored online university edX is now offering the course “Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science” for any chefs looking to get a leg up, or learn some new skills.
Michael Brenner, an applied mathematician at Harvard, founded the course, and he has acquired a slew of other educators and successful restaurateurs to participate in the coursework videos. “The hope is that by combining these two different perspectives [science and cooking], you will gain a unique insight into how recipes work,” Brenner explained. “Not just the fancy recipes — but the recipes you make in your own kitchen.”
The class was conceived due to an overcrowding of a similar on-campus course taught by famed molecular gastronomist Ferran Adrià, owner of the near legendary Spanish restaurant elBulli. Over 45,000 people have signed up since they opened the class. And if you’re worried about registering because you don’t have any fancy cooking equipment, don’t worry. The course is developed as a global cause, and a large number of those that signed up are from India, where ovens aren’t even common. There is still some ironing out going on, but almost everyone should be able to follow along with the lessons.
Brenner developed the course concept with Adrià and David Weitz, a professor of physics and applied physics. They’ll be joined by the esteemed On Food and Cooking author Harold McGee and Nathan Myhrvold, author of the gigantic and outstanding Modernist Cuisine, as well as Cook’s Illustrated editor Dan Souza, ThinkFood Group founder José Andres, Momofuku restaurant group owner David Chang, wd-50 owner Wylie Dufresne, and a ton of other decorated and talented chefs and educators.
The courses are an hour long and happen twice a week. Each features chefs showing you how to created some of their most famous dishes, while the professors explain the science behind everything they’re doing, from browning meat properly to creating killer emulsions. There are also equations and recipes of the week, which you are free to test out in your own kitchen. Check out the promo video below.
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to edX now and sign up. It’s free. This course starts October 8, so hurry. And feel free to take a look around at the other courses being offered. Just don’t expect to be able to eat your homework for everything.