Featured Stories

Food and science mix, at OMSI



by: DAVID F. ASHTON - OMSI Food Science Educator Hayley Mauck shows how dissimilar salts burn with different colors. The new hot ticket dining event in Portland isn’t a trendy west-side restaurant. No, it’s “Food Luminary Dinners” – monthly food-and-science events that take place in the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)’s reborn cafeteria, called “Theory”.

“Tonight is the launch of what is now a monthly series called Food Luminary,” explained OMSI Marketing Director Tess Payne, as she and Events Manager Andrea Middleton welcomed guests to the January 22nd event.

“These programs bring in some of Portland's top chefs, from favorite restaurants, to demonstrate the scientific principles they use to create their famous dishes – in front of an audience that is hungry for knowledge, as well as for a good dinner,” Payne told THE BEE.

“Each evening begins with hors d’oeuvres and beverages,” Payne continued. “Then, you’ll enjoy science demonstrations.”

In keeping with that particular evening’s theme, “Fire and Ice”, OMSI Food Science Educator Hayley Mauck offered the audience of 30 guests two demonstrations. The first was making ice cream – not using nitrogen, as is now typically done – but in the original manner, using salt and ice in containers. As guests shook the sealed containers at their tables, the ice cream congealed.

“For the ‘fire part’ of the demonstration, I’ll be lighting different salts on fire, and we’ll observe the different colors of flame they give off,” Mauck outlined.

At these OMSI events, before guests tuck into supper, the featured chef provides a cooking demonstration that reflects the theme of the evening.

“To wrap it all up, our guests are served full four-course meal,” Payne pointed out.

OMSI’s January “Food Luminary” was Chef Jenn Louis of Lincoln Restaurant & Sunshine Tavern. She demonstrated several ways that fermentation is used in cooking – primarily with salt, to pull out moisture, and to affect flavor and texture.

“It’s a great way to reinvent dining, bring our guests inside the kitchen, and keep food science at the forefront of the conversation,” Payne grinned as she sat down to dinner.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is on S.E. Water Street, on the east bank of the Willamette River, just north of the Ross Island Bridge. Look for the big red tower under the Marquam Bridge. Learn more, or buy tickets, at OMSI’s event webpage: HYPERLINK "https://www.omsi.edu/events/food-luminary/031414/?keyword=Food%20Luminary" CLICK HERE.