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Ferran Adria to teach at Harvard

Posted by Steve Greenlee  March 24, 2010 05:38 PM

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Spanish celebrity chef Ferran Adria is coming to Harvard.

Adria, 47, is teaming up with Harvard University to offer an undergraduate course in culinary physics. He'll begin teaching in the fall at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the university announced today. His course will use cooking to introduce students to soft matter physics, which involves the study of suspensions and gels.

Adria is at the forefront of a cuisine called molecular gastronomy -- a kind of fusion of kitchen and science lab. Ingredients such as agar agar (a type of gel that comes from seaweed), sodium alginate (a powder used to thicken food) and carrageenan (a seaweed extract) are used to mold food in unconventional ways. Foams, warm jellies and liquid nitrogen all play their parts.

His course will feature lectures by Harvard researchers and 12 celebrity chefs and food experts, including Wylie Dufresne, a New York chef whose innovations with molecular gastronomy have earned him a global following; Jose Andres, whose eatery in Washington has helped popularize the Spanish bar food known as tapas in the United States; and chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill, a pricey but understated New York restaurant that champions locally grown produce.

Adria announced this year that he's closing his acclaimed elBulli restaurant for a while to tinker with new ideas for molecular cuisine. The restaurant, which boasts the highest rating of three stars in the Michelin guide, a mark of exceptional cuisine, will close to the public in 2012 and 2013 but will continue to serve as a research lab. It will reopen in 2014. Adria says his goal is to break the molds that determine what food should look or feel like.

-- Associated Press

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