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Geeky Q & A

Dear Readers,

Welcome to Geeky Q&A! I’m not a professional chef (in fact, I barely ever cook in Singapore because the food centres serve such awesomely good cheap food) but I’d definitely love to answer some good geeky questions that you might have. Food chemistry, biotechnology, nutrition, sensory and flavour science…anything under the sun umbrella of food! What can I say, 4 years of studies in Food Science & Technology at the National University of Singapore has turned me into an absolutely obsessed food geek.

I’ve worked a good 5 months in the candy and chocolate applications department of a flavour company, during which I’ve learned to make, flavour (and eat) a crazy variety of confectionery. Through this experience, I have developed a fascination with flavours and flavour science, and hence did a year of research in the enzymatic synthesis of flavours. I’m now on a full scholarship from Wageningen University and the University of Copenhagen, pursuing my masters in sensory science (the study of food perceptions) halfway across the world from home. I have also just begun research in the emotional reactions to basic tastes — thus I might soon add psychology to my food science expertise!

Before you start expecting me to have all the answers to your questions, I’d like to emphasize that food science is a very complex multidisciplinary field with many interactions on many dimensions. And as a student, I have to admit that I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. I’d like to invite you to challenge me with food questions right here in Geeky Q&A and I will try my utmost geeky best to provide the answers. Otherwise, I have some lovely geeky classmates and geeky professors who might have the solutions to your questions. 🙂

Fire those Q’s by commenting on this post!

If you think rocket science is too simple – try food science” – Bjorn Nørgaard

  1. I love cooking food that is made by wrapping one ingredient around others. While stuffing a boned-out chicken with rice and pine nuts (which is what brought me here in the first place!) and sewing it up I found myself wondering whether there was a neater way of sealing parcels of chicken, squid tubes and so forth. Would, for example, a small amount of cyanoacrylate (super) glue be safe to use and eat? Are there any other clever scientific ways of sealing such parcels?

  2. What is chocolate liquor?

  3. Dear Grace Hui Tan,

    I a student who has been admitted to the MSc Programme Nutrition and Health in our Wageningen University, which starts in September 2011.

    Since I am also a food geek, yea, I’d like to know more about sensory science in a deeper sense. Could you give me an academic view of our sensory science? A list of published papers would help. I simply wanna know what sensory science really is and how people conduct research in this area~ Really thanks~

  4. It never ceases to amaze me how much chemistry there is in food! I’m a health food nut with a huge sweet tooth so a lot of my recipes involve alternative sweeteners. I’ve recently happened upon stevia, which lives up to most of its claims except one odd peculiarity: whenever I use it in a dessert (I have recipes posted for cakes and cookies on my blog and find this effect most noticeable in these) that is cooked, it seems to taste much less sweet after coming out of the oven/microwave. Any idea why?

  5. hello i recently dyed some fabric with a mysterious vietnamese plant that is used to dye sticky rice purple in a sweet dish. I was wondering if you came across this yet in your studies and if you can help me find the English name. It is called la ngat by Vietnamese home chefs. I would seriously appreciate your help. Your blog is amazing very well laid out and inspiring pictures!

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