Dialogues Between Neuroscience and Society: Food for Thought
Enjoying a meal is a rich sensory experience, with an array of smells, tastes, and colors. The human nose can distinguish roughly 1 trillion scents, and we recognize five building blocks of taste: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory. Even seeing the colors in a meal causes us to form perceptions of how the food should taste and smell based on previous experiences and logic.
The brain is responsible for shaping our perceptions of taste and smell, and for saving these culinary experiences in our memory.
At Neuroscience 2014’s Dialogues Between Neuroscience and Society Lecture, noted chef, restaurateur, and former Top Chef contestant Bryan Voltaggio will discuss how he experiments with flavor and strives to create new culinary treasures that entertain and transform the way his guests think about food.
A panel of neuroscientists will join SfN President Carol Mason on stage to sample and discuss a variety of dishes prepared by Voltaggio. The panelists, experts in fields related to memory and smell, are:
- Barry Everitt, University of Cambridge
- Stuart Firestein, Columbia University
- Leslie Vosshall, Rockefeller University
Following the tasting, the panelists and Voltaggio will respond to questions collected from the audience. “For me, it’s a great opportunity to share what we think about when we’re creating,” Voltaggio said.
He noted that he hopes to build relationships with neuroscientists and learn from them in ways that may influence his creative process in the kitchen. “Anything I can ever learn as a chef in order to make my experiences that much more interesting and give people a reason to come to the restaurant is valuable to me,” Voltaggio said.
The lecture, Food for Thought: Tastes, Aromas, and Memories of Food, is open to the public and will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 15, in Hall D of the Washington Convention Center. Complimentary on-site registration is required.