Carnegie Mellon University
May 09, 2013

Media Advisory: Carnegie Mellon Works with Notion Restaurant To Showcase New Approaches in Culinary Mechanics

Contact: Chriss Swaney / 412-268-5776 / 

Event: Carnegie Mellon University students will showcase a smorgasbord of new foods at a final presentation for a new course dubbed “Culinary Mechanics.” The innovative ideas from the course’s final project, which was a collaboration between Carnegie Mellon and Notion Restaurant, may one day be found in restaurants and in store food aisles nationwide.

“We are extremely excited about this new course because the final project involves a presentation of new foods developed by our students from mechanics-based principles featured in class,” said Phil Leduc, a professor of mechanical engineering with courtesy appointments in the Biomedical Engineering, Biological Sciences and Computational Biology departments.

Culinary Mechanics is a new way of thinking about food by analyzing its mechanics. For example, the toughness, texture and consistency of foods can be altered through controlled mechanics such as cutting, chopping and mixing. Furthermore, novel mechanics-based approaches can be integrated to create new food products.

Student teams with assistance from top chef and owner Dave Racicot at the East Liberty-based Notion Restaurant have helped develop new textures, flavors and luster to foods being served at this final class project. Some of the foods to be featured include: an on-the-go pancake with syrup using the mechanical properties of spherification to encapsulate syrup with pancake bites; a cheesecake with nuts used to replace the cream cheese; and a three-course, egg-like meal that creates an appetizer, meal and dessert that look like eggs.

“This class is a great way for students to learn about the mechanics of preparing modern American food,” Racicot said.

LeDuc won a competitive Grand Challenge Exploration Award in 2011 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to explore nutrition for healthy growth of infants and children in third world countries.

When: 9:30  - 11 a.m., Monday, May 13.

Where: Room 348, Mellon Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15213.