Tuesday, October 08, 2013

White House Pastry Chef Bill Yosses To Teach Science And Cooking In Harvard's Online Course

Students around the globe will learn "to think both like a cook and a scientist" in free online class featuring famous chefs...
Washington, DC - President Barack Obama's favorite dessert maker, Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, is among the famous chefs and science instructors who will be teaching in the first-ever online edition of Harvard University's very popular course "Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science," which uses modernist culinary techniques to teach physics and engineering concepts.  (Above, Yosses holding Hibiscus fruit leather during a live lecture at Harvard two weeks ago)

Free and open to students around the globe, the course begins today. 

Yosses, who has led the White House pastry shop since 2007, is an expert in the greatest hits of molecular gastronomy--foams, spherification, gels, emulsions--and has lectured at Harvard for the last four years since the course was first introduced as a brick-and-mortar offering.  Check the site sidebar for all his recipes created for the Obama White House. 

Students can formally enroll in Harvard's online course, or just lurk and watch the exciting action during the twice-weekly one-hour sessions, which will take place on the university's online edX platform, created by Harvard and MIT.  

The course will include a "recipe of the week," which students can create at home in their own kitchen labs--and discuss with fellow students online.

Reads the course description: "During each week of the course, you will watch as chefs reveal the secrets behind some of their most famous culinary creations--often right in their own restaurants.  Inspired by such cooking mastery, the Harvard team will then explain, in simple and sophisticated ways, the science behind the recipe."

There are no prerequisites, and exams--an "equation of the week"--are offered but are optional.  "You will learn to think both like a cook and a scientist," promises the course description.

In addition to Yosses, some of the world's most acclaimed chefs are teaching, including DC's own José Andres, a frequent guest chef at the White House; one of the founders the Harvard course, Ferran Adria, considered one of the world's greatest chefs; David Chang of New York's Momofuku restaurants; Modernist Cuisine's Nathan Myhrvold; and On Food and Cooking's Harold McGee.

Yosses' public lecture at Harvard on Sept. 25 was titled "Elasticity: Dessert = Flavor + Texture," and he covered a couple centuries of science concepts and cooking while simultaneously discussing his work at the White House.

On Oct. 2, after the government shutdown, Yosses participated in a live online discussion of the course with Harvard instructors Michael Brenner and Pia Sörensen, in a forum hosted by The Kavli Foundation and moderated by science writer Bruce Lieberman.  It included questions from online viewers.  Watch:

 The Harvard science instructors introduce the online course:

This is the first time "Science and Cooking" is being offered on edX, created by Harvard and MIT to offer students around the world digital courses in science, engineering, law and business.

*Photo by Maria Ordovas