Trial and error 101

Trial and error 101

Ferran Adrià — formerly of world-famous restaurant El Bulli — will teach a first-of-its kind course at Harvard, culinary physics:

Students will attend chef demonstrations, physics lectures and labs that explain the structure and characteristics of a classic emulsion (a liquid dispersed into another liquid) and more recent inventions such as Adrià’s famous foams (air bubbles surrounded by thin sheets of fluid).


With a greater understanding of the physical parameters of food, students will learn how to manipulate them. Ditto for the chefs. Much of the culinary invention in recent decades has been a result of trial and error rather than scientific research. …. “This is designed to create a dialogue between cooks and scientists.“

As soon as I was old enough to use a real stove, my favorite game was trial-and-error baking. I’d compile what appeared to be complementary ingredients, bake, and foist onto family. Science it was not, but occasionally, trial and error led to unqualified success. More rarely, it was delicious.