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Getting kids into the kitchen

Kids' Science and Cooking summer program at Harvard teaches math, science, and healthy choices

Local kids will get to learn some fancy culinary techniques from the likes of graduate student and Science & Cooking teaching fellow Naveen Sinha.

Cambridge, Mass. - July 16, 2012 - This summer, 20 kids will have an amazing opportunity to take part in a cooking adventure through a 2-week science, cooking, and fitness program.

Co-organized by ChopChop magazine and the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), “Kids’ Science and Cooking” will introduce 20 students from Cambridge and Boston to renowned chefs, scientists, and experts in fitness and nutrition. The program takes inspiration from the famed “Science & Cooking” undergraduate course and the related public lecture series that began at Harvard in 2010.

This novel, 2-week program is intended for kids aged 9 to 12. Hosted on the Harvard campus July 16-27, students from Cambridge and Boston Public Schools will learn about the math and science behind cooking, practice their cooking skills, and learn how to make healthy choices through hands-on instruction.

“We believe that this program will introduce kids both to the pleasures of cooking and eating real food and to the importance of science and math,” says Sally Sampson, founder and president of ChopChop. “Our hope is that these 20 kids will go back into their schools and communities as ambassadors for healthy eating and playful activity.”

“Cooking is a wonderfully effective medium for inspiring people to see the science and mathematics in their everyday lives, ” adds Michael Brenner, Glover Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics at SEAS and one of the co-creators of the Science & Cooking course. “Curiosity-driven experiments in the kitchen can lead to unexpected tastes or textures that can be understood with basic scientific principles. We are excited to bring our experiences in teaching science and cooking to Harvard College students to children in our local community."

Each morning, students will work with guest chefs to make the snack and lunch for the day. Guest chefs, in conjunction with researchers from Harvard, will explain the science behind the dishes, such as emulsion and fermentation.

Guest chefs include White House Pastry Chef Bill Yosses and Gabe Bremer of Salts, Jason Bond of Bondir, Jason Doo of Kinsai, and Rolando Robledo of Clover.

In addition, academics and experts from Harvard will cover mathematical concepts, such as measuring, ratios, and fractions.

After lunch, students will work with a fitness expert to learn new physical activities and skills— such as yoga—that they may not have been exposed to in physical education classes. Visiting fitness experts will include staff from Harvard's Hemenway Gym, the Boston Martial Arts Center, Healthworks, and the Cambridge YMCA.

At the end of the day, students will have the opportunity to meet with food experts. From cheese making to fishing to beekeeping, kids will be able to get a taste (literally and figuratively) of various food careers. Food experts and topics will include: Fiore di Nonna (cheese making); ChopChop magazine (recipe writing); Quinn Popcorn (healthy, locally-made snacks); Follow the Honey (beekeeping); and Allandale Farms (sustainable agriculture). Local gardeners, a knife maker, and local fishermen will also be on hand.

“Kids’ Science and Cooking” is made possible in part through support from Shaw’s Supermarkets, The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, Legal Sea Foods, OXO, The Farmer's Market at Harvard, the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Science & Cooking program at Harvard College, the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at Harvard (supported by the National Science Foundation), the Alicia Foundation, and Mahoney's Garden Centers.

Topics: Cooking

Scientist Profiles

Michael P. Brenner

Michael F. Cronin Professor of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics and Professor of Physics