Warminster teachers and pupils get a real taste for science

Wiltshire Times: Professor Peter Barham during his presentation at Warminster School Professor Peter Barham during his presentation at Warminster School

Pupils at Warminster School were treated to a presentation by Professor Peter Barham as he demonstrated the emerging scientific discipline of molecular gastronomy.

The Science of Taste and Flavour looked at the evolution of molecular gastronomy and how it has helped to create a new way of cooking.

Prof Barham also spoke about how his relationship with the TV chef Heston Blumenthal came about and how they have been using the science behind taste and flavour to create new flavours and delicious foods.

He explained that the perception of flavour is constructed in the mind and the brain uses of the information available, such as memory, colour and expectations, to decide how something tastes.

He challenged three teachers to question their perceptions when it comes to describing flavours, asking them to take a sip of what appeared to be an ordinary glass of red wine and describe what they could taste.

Science teacher Mr Jonathan Bonnell, who took part in the challenge, said: “We were given a glass of red wine and then given a glass of white wine.

“I described them both tasting very differently, so it was a complete surprise to find out that they were the exact same wine, but one had tasteless food colouring in it. It just shows how much our perceptions can be fooled.”

The young audience were all given a chance to test their expectations later in the presentation, sampling cheese dipped in honey and dark chocolate mixed with blue cheese.

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