Output Title: Taste Lab – Food Experiments with the Chef

Output Type: Learning / teaching / training material – Audiovisual material

Start Date: 2021-01-01

End Date: 2023-05-31

Activity Leading Organisation: Taste Lab

Description: The Taste Lab Food Experiments with the Chef IO arises from the hypothesis of the often-experienced missing link in children’s learning about ‘farm to fork’. Often studies concerning children and food, deal either with focus on the farm, the growing or the meal composition, but not the whole holistic process of farm to fork. Working with the whole picture has shown great benefit on the pupils and their learning on food, enhancing their food knowledge, providing them with food literacy and empowering them to make better and more sustainable choices as future consumers (Learn4Health 2019) (Smag for Livet 2019).

In Taste Lab – Food Experiments IO with the Chef, the focus is the magic that happens with the food between the processes of being planted, grown and harvested and to be served on a plate. In scientific research, it is known that natural science subjects such as chemistry and physics become more easy-to-reach for pupils when put in relation to cooking, food and taste (Sørensen & Mouritsen 2019). At Harvard University, the Science and Cooking program combines chemistry, physics and engineering with cooking. They explore how everyday cooking and haute cuisine refers to basic knowledge in chemistry, physics and engineering and concludes that the pupils are seen to benefit with more practical skills, relating their knowledge to their everyday life (Sørensen & Mouritsen 2019) (Harvard University 2020).

The Taste Lab – Food Experiments with the Chef IO, is a unique opportunity with unique elements of innovation that goes one step further, experimenting with crops to learn the magic of foods, through hands-on activities and the natural scientific approach by the chemistry, physics and microbiology of foods. Why does the lemon change from green to yellow, how come red cabbage change from purple to red, when adding acid? Why do scrimps change from black to red when heated? These are some of the questions that the Taste Lab – Food Experiments with the Chef IO, intend to focus on through an interdisciplinary, user-centred and hands-on approach when inviting children into the kitchen laboratory, Taste Lab at Restaurant Alchemist.

The Taste Lab – Food Experiments with the Chef IO will invite pupils to engage in the complexity of food to generate new knowledge, while at the same motivating the pupils to convert this knowledge into practice in the kitchen and in their everyday life, supporting the food literacy of the future consumers. Overall, the Taste Lab – Food Experiments with the Chef IO wishes to draw the intention to the magic that happens in every bite of food consumed and make this knowledge tangible and usable.

The Taste Lab – Food Experiments with the Chef IO, intends to excite the target group and create enthusiasm and motivation for the natural scientific area often hidden in food, through different communication channels addressing children at the age of 7-14. It is the ambition that teachers and two pupils from each partner school will attend workshops at Alchemist Taste Lab, Denmark, and the outcome will be published as YouTube short movies, using a popular scientific approach, meeting the target-group at eye level.

The workshops will have a unique element of innovation that will contribute with communication both internally in the project through laboratory experiments, and externally to other children through, yet another element of innovation, namely The Taste Lab – Food Experiments with the Chef – videos on YouTube.

The expected impact of the IO, Taste Lab – Food Experiments with the Chef, is to support the food literacy of the pupils, providing them with new knowledge in the food they eat and tools to navigate in the selection of foods. It is expected that this will have an impact on their self-efficacy and empower them to make better and more sustainable choices now and in their future life, as consumers and world citizens. Furthermore, the Learn4Earth partner teachers will also gain new knowledge through the Alchemist Taste Lab workshops, enhancing their teaching skills beneficial for both teachers and pupils.

The Taste Lab – Food Experiments with the Chef IO, will secure the transferability of this intellectual output by adding Teaching Manuals to the Learn4Earth Handbook with descriptions, guidelines, and how-to manuals, for other European teachers and schools to gain insight and new ideas to develop this specific output. Further, the Taste Lab – Food Experiments with the Chef videos will have lifelong visibility on the internet with open access for all, creating an opportunity to impact children, who have not gained this insight in school, and providing parents and children to access the Food Magic videos together, contributing to learning in the household. The Taste Lab – Food Experiments with the Chef will be available for several years, creating a possibility to have an impact on children not even in school yet.