Salve Regina, Rogers High students join for Molecular Gastronomy Day
About three dozen Rogers High School students who have been studying an integrated science unit on “Chemistry in the Kitchen” will conduct field research in the Miley cafeteria when they join the University’s chemistry majors to participate in Molecular Gastronomy Day.
Hosted by Sodexo Dining Services, Molecular Gastronomy Day will be held from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 17. The cafeteria will be converted into a chemistry lab of sorts to showcase culinary innovation and show that chemistry is an important ingredient in everyday life. Specially trained chefs will prepare and serve a menu based on the principles of molecular gastronomy, including: deconstructed buffalo popcorn chicken bites (gelification), strawberry soup shooters with crème fraiche and cocoa caviar (spherification) and cannoli ice cream parfait (liquid nitrogen ice cream), among others.
“Since our ‘Chemistry in the Kitchen’ unit was inspired by last year’s Molecular Gastronomy Day, I expect that after participating in this year’s event, our students will be inspired to further their study of food chemistry,” said Rogers science teacher Bethany Borgueta. About 35-40 Rogers students are expected to participate on Friday.
Borgueta’s experiential learning unit is offered at Rogers as part of the Newport Project, a place-based, experiential learning program that utilizes the city’s wealth of historical, cultural and natural features as the starting point for learning in English and integrated science. The program began as a pilot in academic year 2012-2013 with two English teachers, Nancy Noonan and Zinovia Canale, and received district and grant support for full implementation in 2013-2014.
“It is an expressed goal of the Newport Project to expose our students to as many opportunities for post-secondary experiences as possible,” Borgueta said. “In this respect, Salve is a community treasure. We would love the opportunity for our students not only in the Newport Project but also for our chemistry students to gain exposure to the university laboratory setting. Developing a collaboration with Dr. (Susan) Meschwitz and her Chemistry Club/chemistry department students makes perfect sense.”
The Department of Chemistry is donating lab equipment (beakers, flasks, test tubes, etc.) to embellish the food preparation and presentation on Friday. Students were eager to climb on board because the event not only helps draw attention to their Chemistry Club on campus, but gives them an opportunity to collaborate with the Rogers students.
“It’s nice for our chemistry students to get connected with some of the science students at Rogers High School,” said Meschwitz, assistant professor of chemistry. “Being connected with the college in this way can be a good resource, whether it’s with mentoring or tutoring, and it’s a partnership that will continue to grow in the future.”