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The International Centre for Molecular Gastronomy AgroParisTech-INRA

1. Context All over the world, the interest of students for molecular gastronomy is growing. This activity is a scientific one, which means that it looks for the mechanisms of phenomena. As such, it is very different from culinary activities. Often molecular gastronomy and “molecular cooking” (cooking using modern tools) are confused, but interested students can later decide either for culinary activities, or for scientific or technological activities. Moreover, molecular gastronomy exerts a strong appeal all over the world on the industry as well as on the public, so that displaying molecular gastronomy can :

(1) increase visibility (for the public and for institutions) ; (2) attract students (as it was shown with the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme FIPDes) and prepare excellent professionnals for both industry and academic jobs ; (3) raise fundings for research studies, in particular in view of such educational programmes.

It is a fact that, for many years, the molecular gastronomy activity of the INRA Group is developing collaborations all over the world, and helps creating other similar groups in various countries. Universities are developing educational and research programs based on molecular gastronomy. But until now the international influence did not benefit much to INRA or to AgroParisTech, whereas the creator of molecular gastronomy contributes to the creation of “centers” (laboratories, groups, seminars, etc.) in universities of various countries (Lebanon, Argentina, Finland, Denmark, USA, Korea, Switzerland...) and it animates the network of people interested at various stages (research, education, communication) in molecular gastronomy activities.

AgroParisTech set up educational programs, in national and international collaborations, who are already having a high impact, and in which one axis is molecular gastronomy (FIDPEs) or in which culinary creativity and innovation is one strong axis (MS ICPI with the Centre Grégoire Ferrandi of th Chambre de commerce de Paris ; partnership with the Institut Paul Bocuse). Many researches were organized with culinary institutions. INRA and AgroParisTech are strongly involved in researches on food. Tha ALIAS project, funded by the IDEX Paris Saclay, includes the various faces of the link food and health. The research activities of the GMPA, PNCA, GENIAL laboratories cover wide questions, from building food to its metabolism. Some professorships already cover such questions (ANCA, SDSC, in particular).

2. Goals For AgroParisTech creating a centre for molecular gastronomy is a way to : (1) clearly display strenghts in physical chemistry, and in particular in plant chemistry (this is important both for students but also for the industry) ; (2) reinforce a discipline important for food science and technology (one should remember that even the product from the industry are transformed, which means that this last steps can determine the real quality of food products) (2) show the common activities of AgroParisTech and INRA.

The creation of a particular structure for molecular gastronomy is easy, within AgroParisTech, and it could even be the start of other similar structures, in coherence of other already existing structures. It is obvious to repeat that AgroParisTech has to attract fundings, in particular from the industry, in view of making its works in science, education, technology. Creating a centre such as the one envisioned here is a good way to move in this direction

3. Activities, organization The Centre has three main goals : (1) research (2) education, (3) animation and international networking. This will be performed first through the reorganization of existing activities, and later through making new activities. Looking for funding will open the door toward new scientific activities. After being created, the Centre will be the opportunity of looking for fundings, under the “foundation” rules. Contrary to professorships, it was decided to keep the capital, and use only the interests (distribution decided by the Orientation Board, see below). Research activities Scientific research in molecular gastronomy was performed with the Group of Molecular Gastronomy of the Team IAQA, UMR 1145 Genial. It is now proposed to envision the extension to other groups, keeping three directions : exploration of gel systems, characterization of their bioactivity, relationship with building multi-scale food study of molecular transformations in SOCC conditions development of fast analysis of complex systems. But other research activities are within the proposed frame, such as works performed in the SP2 team of UMR Genial (role and fonctionnalisation of ingredients, controlling the structuration of food products) or in the CALIPRO team (culinary techniques).

On the other hand, the Centre for technological culinary research, created some years ago, is an already existing structure which can be used for technology research. It can be developed in coherence with Actia centres.

For making all this alive and visible, a Free Open International Journal of Molecular Gastronomy is proposed ; this scientific journal will be open (free for readers) and free (for authors). An editorial board has been made, and manuscripts calls will be issued. Educational activities There are already education activities at AgroParisTech, often in relationship with INRA : courses of molecular gastronomy at master level, in a transversal module of the Master Erasmus Mundus "Food Innovation and Product Design", and also a course "Physical chemistry structuring food and molecular gastronomy” in the IPP Mention of the Master ABNS.

Also, every year, Courses or molecular gastronomy are given freely, openly, on a particular topic each year. More than 200 people from various countries attend these courses, which are podcasted. The last for two to three years. For professionals, such courses are part of continuing education, as well as the monthly Seminars of molecular gastronomy (since 2000), organized at the École Supérieure de Cuisine Française of the Centre Jean Ferrandi (Chambre de commerce de Paris). These seminars contribute to the technical education of the employees of the food sector, and are well recognized by the French National System of Education. For some years, they disperse in the world : the third Monday of each month, as the French seminar takes place, there are other sister seminars in New York, Beyrouth, Nantes, Cuba (and Besançon after September 2014). For primary schools and high schools, the Group of Molecular gastronomy is creating new activities in the frame of the Ateliers expérimentaux du goût and of the Ateliers Science&Cuisine : introduced by the Minister of Public Education in 2001 and 2004 respectively, these educational activities are now translated in many languages.

Animation and international networking Since 2004, the director of the Group of molecular gastronomy is the scientific director of the Fondation Science & Culture Alimentaire, created by the French Academy of sciences. This foundation aims at developing regional events about food, trying to reconcile the various publics (laypeople, science and higher education, primary education, craft, industry). Today 5 poles are already active, and the scientific direction aims at creating new poles as well as organizing the existing poles.

Also, since 1992, the Group of Molecular Gastronomy is coordinating the international Network for Molecular Gastronomy. It invites professors for sabbatical stay, helping them to create molecular gastronomy groups in their own university.

Various contests are organized, either by the Group of Molecular Gastronomy or by the various regional structures of the Foundation Science & Culture Alimentaire. In particular, for more than 5 years, AgroParisTech is the place where the Prize ceremony of the Concours Science, art et cuisine, takes place. And now a new Note by Note Contest has been introduced.

Finally various lectures are given, for many different publics.

3. How it works The Centre will be under the direction of the Orientation Board, made of : representants of the various AgroParisTech departments the scientific director of AgroParisTech the Scientific Director Alimentation & Bioéconomie of INRA the head of Foreign Affairs at INRA the head of Foreign Affaires at AgroParisTech representants of Molecular Gastronomy Laboratories outside France representants of sponsors representants of various institutions having conventions with the Centre

The Orientation Board will have to propose actions which will be implemented by the Executive Comittee. He will look for partners for the devleopment of the three kind of activities.

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