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Courses on Molecular Gastronomy

1. Important needs :
For about twenty years, courses on Molecular Gastronomy have been given in various universities, colleges, companies…
Three kinds of people are interested in such lectures :

Level 1 : people with no scientific background such as :
- Craftsmen : cooks in restaurants, cooks in schools, hospitals, caterers, butchers, pastry chefs…
- Culinary teachers, pastry teachers…
- Students in non scientific curriculum
- Cooks of the food industry
- R&D preparators of the food industry
- Quality managers of the food industry
- Techno pack engineers
- Laymen and laywomen

Level 2 : students with a « licence » level in natural or exact sciences, such as :
- Students in « physical chemistry » curriculum
- Students in biology curriculum
- Students in agronomy
- Engineers techno, raw material, process and producing engineers.

Level 3 : working professionnals with some scientific background, such as :
- Research ingeneers
- Project leaders R&D
- Researchers in public institutions or in private companies

2. Objectives :

For these three kinds of people, lectures with specific objectives, adapted to each level, are now organized.

For example, people at level 1 frequently ask methods for innovation ; people at level 2 need a better knowledge of raw or finished products and of the culinary transformations, with a methodological reflection of science and its application ; people at level 3 need methods for innovations as well as analysis of culinary production.

As a consequence, the following objectives are kept :

 For level 1, the interest of physical chemistry knowledge (without calculus) will be demonstrated as a way to understand culinary transformations.

At the same time :
•the technical basis of innovation and culinary creativity will be given
•the molecular reasoning in the food industry will be shown ;
•the interest of fundamental knowledge for technology will be demonstrated ;
•a contribution to the continued formation of technical and technological staff of the food industry will be made ;
•a formation of the technical staff of the food will be given.

More precisely, the participants will learn to :
• identify the meaningful data and variables in some simple cases ;
• define their objectives (which information to look for) and to look the best methods to obtain the desired results (methodology) ;
• make some basic statistics and interpret them (mean, standard deviation, normal low) ;
• analyze the data ;
• make some sample analysis ;
• know the main unitary culinary processes and how they are linked ;
• know the basic cooking processes, with equipments, methods and limits…
• apply protocols ;
• read some processes algorithm ;
•apply preservation, assembling, transformation and conditioning processes ;
• know the critical parameters of the process they use ;
•make the measurements necessary to drive processes ;
• know and apply protocols of implementing functional ingredients (colorants, flavours, texture agents…)
• produce the main simple culinary systems and understand their constitution (emulsions…).

 For the level 2, it will be shown that precise knowledge should based on quantitative analysis.

Some of the main objectives will be to :
•use Molecular Gastronomy to teach chemistry, physics, and physical chemistry ;
•promote the molecular reasoning in the food industry ;
•show the interest of fundamental scientific data to improve technology and innovation ;
•contribute to the continued formation of technical and technological staff of the food industry.

More precisely, participants will learn :
• the main statistical operations and how to interpret the results ;
•the basic chemical and physical principles of processes and the main interactions of ingredients ;
• to explain, transmit and teach this knowledge ;
• to choose the right equipment for a specific production ;
• to understand the new technical solutions ;
• to describe with the necessary details some technical or technological question ;
• to gather information in order to order detailed study of a problem ;
•the influence on colour/surface aspect, texture, flavour :
of the main unitary processes,
of the environment,
of the interactions between the components of a product,
of heating (in particular with micro-wave ovens)
• the processes for making sophisticated systems
• to look for the parameters of these processes
• to look for the causes of failure and to propose corrections.

 For the level 3, some analysis on innovation and research methods will be considered.

The main objectives will be :
•to promote molecular reasoning in formulation activities ;
•to show the interest of fundamental scientific knowledge in production and innovation activities ;
•to contribute to the continued formation of the engineer staff of the food industry ;
•to participate to the analysis of innovation.
Physical chemistry information will be accompanied by discourses on food aesthetics.

More precisely, participants will learn to :
• formulate a product using a mixture program
• use knowledge on unitary processes
• question existing processes ;
• understand and explain interactions in food processes ;
• look for the limits of existing processes ;
•use new raw materials and ingredients that meet functional needs ;
• use physical chemistry reasoning to produce sophisticated systems ;
• use this knowledge to propose and develop new formula and processes, in order to make new products.

It is planned that participants can shift from one level to the other each year when they feel able to do so.
It is also planned that participants can follow the same Course more than one year (the main topic will change each year).

3. Organization of the lectures : }

Place :
All the lectures will be at the Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon (INA-PG), in Paris.

Agenda :
For each level, the Courses will be given within three full days, distributed in one year, with one day each trimester (one day in November, one day in February, one day in April or May).
This agenda should facilitate the participation of the staff from the food industry. For all level together, one half day for “scientific communication” is planned.

Inscriptions :
The Courses will be open to everybody. Participants have to register.
Participant will be free for individuals, but some fees will be asked for continued formation.
Conventions with INA P-G have to be made for companies and universities.
Exams will be done for students as they were previously done in universities.
Participants will not receive any diploma, but participation certification will be given.

Teachers :
The Courses will be given by Hervé This and by teachers from AgroParisTech or INRA
Some scientists, engineers or artists will be invited to lecture.

Teaching method :
Experiments and cases will be considered as much as possible ; the illustrated culinary transformations will lead to the introduction of scientific ideas in mathematics, chemistry, physics, microbiology…
The best would be that one experimental observation (done by the participants) lead to a model, and then one easy experiment to try to refute the model.

The encyclopaedic approach of food science will be avoided : the necessary data (chemical composition of food, physical phenomena…) will be introduced when needed.
In order to avoid the problems of traditional courses (illustrated phenomena), culinary cases will be considered (transformation and phenomenon). The participants will hear a culinary discourse, but the underlying structure will be chemical and physical.

The (simple) experiments that will be used as analysis frame and that will lead to the presentation of theoretical notions (chemical, physical, mathematical) will be taken from the food industry.
For each case, the chemical as well as the physical aspects will be considered. The theoretical developments will always be in strict relation with the considered phenomena. In particular, calculation will be made only when necessary, but the usefulness of quantitative methods will be shown.

The description of phenomena will always be done by order of magnitude. The experimental method will be explained.

The courses will fill simultaneously four columns : data, methods, stories, and epistemology. Data will be given when needed.

Each year, the main topic will change, in order to create a new Course and to incorporate recent data.
In 2004-2005, the topic was « Les sauces et les plats qui en sont dérivés »
In 2005-2006, the topic was « Les cuissons »
In 2006-2007, the topic was « Jeux de texture »
In 2007-2008, the topic was « Questions de goût »
In 2008-2009, the topic was « Interactions aliments liquides »
In 2009-2010, the topic was « La cuisson des légumes »
In 2010-2011, the topic was “Exploration multimedia de la cuisine”
In 2011-2012, the topic was “ La cuisine note à note”
In 2012-2013, the topic was “Manger, de quoi s’agit-il ?”
In 2013-2014, the topic was “Les réactions chimiques lors des transformations culinaires”

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