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Ole Mouritsen publishes Umami: Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste

April 17, 2014

Columbia University Press is pleased to announce the publication of Umami: Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste by two-time Experimental Cuisine Collective presenter Ole G. Mouritsen and chef Klavs Styrbæk.

Combining culinary history with recent research into the chemistry, preparation, nutrition, and culture of food, Mouritsen and Styrbæk encapsulate what we know to date about the concept of umami, from ancient times to today. Umami can be found in soup stocks, meat dishes, air-dried ham, shellfish, aged cheeses, mushrooms, and ripe tomatoes, and it can enhance other taste substances to produce a transformative gustatory experience. Researchers have also discovered which substances in foodstuffs bring out umami, a breakthrough that allows any casual cook to prepare delicious and more nutritious meals with less fat, salt, and sugar.

Ole G. Mouritsen is a distinguished scientist and professor of biophysics at the University of Southern Denmark. Klavs Styrbæk is a chef who, for more than twenty years, has owned and run the highly regarded Restaurant Kvægtorvet (The Cattle Market) in Odense, Denmark.

For more information about the book, click here.

Ole will be doing events around the book in Los Angeles and New York in the coming week, so join him there if you can:
April 23 at 7:00 PM
UCLA, Science & Food Series
April 25 at 3:00 PM
Umami Burger, 1520 North Cahuenga Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028
April 27 at 5:00 PM
Food Book Fair
April 28 at 12:00 (noon) PM
Umami Burger, 432 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10011

March 24, 2014 Meeting

March 17, 2014

In her presentation, Teaching The Evolution of Food and Medicine with Bitters, Shoots and Roots Bitters cofounder Rachel Meyer will take us on a journey into the history of the foods we eat and the mechanisms of evolution at work during the domestication of plant species from around the world. Through a series of interactive tastings, you will be treated to a molecular, chemical, and archaeobotanical tour of the geography of food origins and the ways plants have traditionally been exploited before they became the foods we prize today. Some unusual suspects, experienced through bitters, cocktails, and tisanes, include arborvitae, bhut jolokia peppers, cannibal’s tomato, Chinese indigo, devil’s hand flower, hemp seeds, monkfruit, moringa, sambong, and tartary buckwheat.


Rachel_shotRachel is a plant evolutionary biologist and founder of Shoots and Roots Bitters, which manufactures bitters and educates people about a wide array of the most evolutionarily and ethnobotanically fascinating species found around the world. Many of these species are her or her business partners research subjects. She earned her doctorate through the City University of New York and New York Botanical Garden Plant Science PhD program, and is currently a postdoctoral researcher in New York University in the Purugganan lab, focusing on crop genomics. As part of Shoots and Roots, she teaches workshops on the Evolution of Food, Nature’s Pharmacy, The Science of Taste, and Botany for Bartenders. Her team also delivers their bitters and botanical science knowledge through flavor-sensory rich lectures and cocktail hours. She is from Los Angeles, but has lived in Harlem for 8 years, which is where the Shoots and Roots headquarters and kitchen space are.

Kitchen Scratchpad, New Recipe App

February 12, 2014

The brilliant minds behind Ideas in Food, Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa, regular presenters and longtime friends of the Experimental Cuisine Collective, have developed an app that should be of interest to many of our members. Kitchen Scratchpad allows users to create, collect, and collaborate on recipes and store them securely in the cloud. It’s devised with professional cooks in mind, since it’s easy to upload photos and work on recipes as a team. Since we foster collaborations at the ECC, being able to create recipes as a joint effort is of course very appealing. More info and links to download at

Support the Museum of American Food and Drink

July 14, 2013

Long-time ECC friend Dave Arnold and his team at the Museum of American Food and Drink have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their first exhibit, BOOM! The exhibit will feature a puffing gun, used to make puffed up cereals.

Go here to support the campaign and our friends at the Museum of American Food and Drink. Thank you on their behalf!

June 17, 2013 Meeting

June 11, 2013

The June meeting of the Experimental Cuisine Collective will take place on Monday, June 17, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Our presenter will be Danielle Gould, founder & CEO of Food+Tech Connect, who will allow us to interrogate the role that technology is playing in our food system. There has never been more demand for sustainable food, but the industry is having trouble scaling. Her talk will look at how technology and open data are leveling the playing field with big food and bringing transparency to the entrenched industry. Danielle will highlight some of the tech startups that are disrupting the way we produce, distribute, sell, cook and consume food. And she will talk about what a hackathon is and how she is using them to rapidly prototype food systems innovation. We’ll also discuss your ideas about how technology can be used to reimagine cooking and dining.


Danielle Gould is the founder & CEO of Food+Tech Connect, the industry-leading media company and network for innovators transforming the business of food. Through news, analysis and events she helps companies of all sizes drive innovation and understand how information and technology are changing the way food is produced, distributed and consumed. Danielle is also a founding member of the Culinary Institute of America’s Sustainable Business Leadership Council and is a regular contributor to Forbes. Connect with her on Twitter at @dhgisme or @foodtechconnect.

May 20, 2013 Meeting

May 9, 2013

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.

The New Nordic Cuisine in New York City

April 4, 2013

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