The May meeting of the Experimental Cuisine Collective will take place on Monday, May 20, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Food, Soil and Sustainable Urban Design with Jonathan Russell-Anelli
Locavore, local grown, home grown, community, gardening, community gardening, school gardens, CSA’s, farmers’ markets, healthy foods, slow foods, foodsheds and urban agriculture, let alone food security and safety are some of the many terms that hover around discussions of food, urban sustainability and community health. Yet, often overlooked in this discussion is soil.
Soils function to purify and provide water, recycle nutrients from organic waste, as a habitat for soil organism and as structural support for plants and infrastructure. They are an essential component of the earth system and are the only place on the planet where the hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and lithosphere all interact. There is more abundance and diversity of organisms in the soil than in all the other earth ecosystems combined. Yet we have described and cataloged less than ten percent of the life forms in the system. It is an extremely dynamic in nature, space and time. It is a major driver in climate change and is the foundation of our food system – heck, when combined with water and human ingenuity; it is the foundation of our civilization.
So this evening, let’s discuss Soil – this integral component of the terrestrial ecosystem – in context of our food system and urban sustainability. We will pay initial attention to a number of principle soil concepts and their relation to plant production to lay the ground work for a larger presentation on vegetable production, urban agriculture and urban soils. Discussion is invited throughout with particular emphasis on examination of vegetable production and (urban) soil management.
Time permitting we intend to introduce some simple field test to assess soils and your hands will get dirty. So come prepared.
A visit to the new NYU urban farm lab will follow, for those interested.
Jonathan Russell-Anelli is a Senior Lecture and Senior Extension Associate in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. He was born in Sleepy Hollow, NY, grew up in Brooklyn, NY, Arlington, VA., and Temagami, Ontario. Having lived in Connecticut, Maryland and throughout NYS, Jonathan is now settled in Ithaca, NY in the Finger Lakes Region of New York for his longest tenure in a single location.
Jonathan’s research and extension responsibilities are focused on the nature and properties of soils with particular interests of urban soil, urban agriculture/community gardening, soil contamination and soil management practices. He works throughout NYS and NYC examining the spatial distribution and variability of soil characteristics in the urban environment. His major project areas includes investigations of contaminant distribution in relation to soil processes, land use and land management in a variety of urban centers in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic, the Mid-West and Eastern Europe.
He supports the Cornell Cooperative Extension master gardener, master forester and master composter programs as well as the NYC and County extension offices. He is the liaison between the NYS Land Grant University, NYS and the USDA/NRCS National Cooperative Soil Survey and was active in the New York City Soil Survey.
Jonathan is a husband, father, son, gardener, dreamer, designer, demolisher, builder, student, teacher, scientist, sailor, brewer, chef, teammate, gamer, outdoorsman, orienteer, leader, follower, – all of which (he believes) are related, integrative and reinforcing – though not necessarily at the same time. He can also change diapers.
On April 6, from 2 to 5 p.m., Columbia University is organizing an event called The New Nordic Cuisine in New York City. It is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.columbia.edu/cu/german/symposiums/new_nordic_cuisine.
Some of our student members might be interested in this job opportunity, sent in by the founders of Brewla, who are ECC members.
Paid Brand Ambassador position for Frozen Dessert Product
About Us: Our company specializes in the creation of an all-natural line of novel and healthy frozen desserts, launched on grocery store shelves last fall and now in over 30 NY retailers. We’re looking for dynamic individuals to represent our brand and help us grow.
Your Mission: We seek a motivated Brand Ambassador based in New York City who can independently conduct demonstrations in our Manhattan and Brooklyn retail locations. While schedules can be fairly flexible, demos will take place Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. We also encourage our Brand Ambassador to engage with our fan community on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, Brand Ambassadors are uniquely
positioned to brainstorm ideas with the rest of our team to improve our product and business as they are the main point of contact with consumers. Finally, we are a growing business and there is great potential to expand your function and responsibility in our venture, if you desire.
● Enthusiastic attitude and entrepreneurial spirit
● Passionate about food
● Excellent communication and presentation skills
● Experience with client engagement
The Brand Ambassador must be able to communicate the brand effectively to consumers, store managers and buyers. The time commitment per week is 15 hours on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays. We would like a commitment of at least 3 months but preferably longer. Having access to a car is not required, but is a plus.
Please note that while this is a fun and exciting position, it can be at times physically demanding as it requires picking up product and dry ice (total weight up to 15 pounds) from our Downtown Brooklyn location and taking the subway to the retail location where the demo takes place (if you don’t have a car).
Application Process: This is a unique opportunity offering a window into the operations of a growing food startup. The position pays $12 an hour (including an hour for picking up dry ice and product and getting to the retail location) and expenses will be reimbursed. Applicants should submit a CV and a paragraph explaining why they are interested and detailing any relevant experience to email@example.com.
The March meeting of the Experimental Cuisine Collective will take place on Monday, March 18, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Our speaker will be Antonio Ramos of Brooklyn Soda Works. He will talk about recipe development—specifically how his background as a chemist has been helpful in flavor extraction and optimizing processes, and discuss how Brooklyn Soda Works used techniques drawn from chemistry labs, the culinary world, the beer brewing industry, along with a love of delicious foods to create a line of premium carbonated juices.
Antonio received his undergraduate chemistry degree at NYU—where he was a student of ECC co-founder Kent Kirshenbaum—and worked for six years as a medicinal chemist at Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi-Aventis before starting Brooklyn Soda Works in early 2010 with his partner Caroline Mak, an installation artist.
The second of two February meetings of the Experimental Cuisine Collective will take place on Monday, February 25, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Our speaker will be Rachel Dutton, a Bauer Fellow at Harvard University’s FAS Center for Systems Biology, whose lab studies the microbial communities found on cheese. In caves and cellars around the world, communities of microbes colonize the surface of cheese as it ages. While these communities contribute to the aromas, flavors, and textures of aged cheeses, they can also be thought of as ideal model ecosystems to study microbes in their natural environment. With the advent of cheaper and more efficient DNA sequencing technologies, microbial communities can be examined in unprecedented detail. However, these techniques have rarely been applied to microbial ecosystems of fermented foods, and as a result, the exact nature of many of these communities remains a mystery. Dr. Dutton will discuss research in her lab using these DNA sequencing technologies to study community patterns in a collection of over 100 different types of cheese. She will discuss some of the highlights of this study, and the implications for future work and understanding of cheese. She will also discuss how her lab is using in vitro cheese to test models of community formation and interactions between microbes in the lab.
Deliciousness and the Science Behind It
MEMPHYS-Center for Biomembrane Physics
University of Southern Denmark
Use of the term umami to describe the sensation of deliciousness in food is finding its way into the Western culinary vocabulary. Umami is now ranked as a fifth basic taste along with the four classical tastes: salty, sour, sweet, and bitter. Dr. Ole Mouritsen will review the concept of umami and deliciousness in a historical, evolutionary, and scientific context and describe recent advances in the understanding of the sensory perception of umami and the involved taste receptors. The unique molecular mechanism behind umami sensation is now partly understood as an allosteric (synergetic) action of glutamate and certain 5’-ribonucleotides on the umami receptors, and it explains why certain pairs of foodstuff taste delicious, e.g., eggs with bacon, meat with vegetables, and konbu with katsuobushi. Home and professional cooks and chefs across the world are more or less unknowingly exploiting this synergy in preparing delicious meals. As a specific example, Dr. Mouritsen will describe experimental work with chefs on producing dashi and umami flavor from Nordic seaweeds (http://www.flavourjournal.com/content/1/1/4).
At the December 2012 meeting of the Experimental Cuisine Collective, La Boîte à Epices founder and owner Lior Lev Sercarz will talk about his work with spices, from sourcing to blending the finest of spices from around the world. He will also discuss agricultural and legislative issues that affect the flavor of spices. He and food photographer Thomas Schauer will also give us a preview of Lior’s book The Art of Blending, ahead of its official release the next day.
Lior Lev Sercarz was raised in Israel and trained as a chef in France, where he was introduced to the fine art of spice blending by Olivier Roellinger. He moved to New York in 2002 to cook for Daniel Boulud, and left the restaurant kitchen in 2006 to work with spices full time. He has since created blends for some of the world’s best chefs under the label La Boîte à Epices. In 2011, he opened a Manhattan store and art gallery, where he blends and sells his cpies and a line of sweet-savory biscuits. He is the author of The Art of Blending: Stories & Recipes from La Boîte’s Spice Journey, published in December 2012.