UCLA’s Science and Food lectures are returning


When you think of the food scene in Los Angeles, you probably think of Koreatown or the San Gabriel Valley -- not UCLA. But for the last few years, that university’s Westwood campus has been the site of some pretty amazing food events, in the form of lectures and demos from professor Amy Rowat’s Science and Food series.

Since 2012, Rowat has brought in David Chang, Rene Redzepi, Alice Waters and Wylie Dufresne, among others. And this year, the series is back, with two events on March 8 and May 11 -- and a third one still in the works.

First up is a discussion on the subject of “The Impact of What We Eat: From Science and Technology, to Eating Local,” with chef Daniel Patterson (Coi, Locol), Kent Kirshenbaum of NYU and Paul B. Thompson of Michigan State University. Patterson, you may recall, recently opened Locol in Watts with Roy Choi. The second event is “Microbes: From Your Food to your Brain,” and features Sandor Katz, the James Beard Award-winning author of two books on fermentation and a self-described “fermentation revivalist,” and UC San Diego’s Rachel Dutton and UCLA’s Elaine Hsiao.


“This year we wanted to focus on the future of food,” Rowat wrote in an email, “which is a much-talked-about topic, with all these new plant-based foods that are cropping up, the tensions between science and technology and eating local, fresh whole foods, and the University of California’s Global Food Initiative, which is engaging the UC community in discussion of some of these topics.”

As for the future of the series, Rowat says she wants to make the Science and Food program at UCLA self-sustaining, and to continue to work with local schools to educate students about science through the study of food.

The Science and Food series began as a UCLA course. Rowat, a physicist with a PhD from the University of Southern Denmark, pioneered a similar series at Harvard.

Tickets are now available online, by phone at (310) 825-2101 or in person at UCLA’s ticket office.

All lectures will be held at Schoenberg Hall, near Hilgard Avenue and Westholme Avenue in Westwood. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

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