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Spain Will Host Scientists and Famous Chefs For a Symposium on Taste

Figuring out the science behind taste

Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

A melding of food minds will happen this fall when a group of chefs and scientists gather in Spain for a symposium designed to unpack the logic of taste, AFP reports. The lineup includes chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz, British chef and TV personality Heston Blumenthal, and Singapore pastry chef Janice Wong, as well as a number of neuroscientists, geneticists, and physicists.

Spain’s Centre for Genomic Regulation is behind a project called Brainy Tongue, which is putting on the symposium, dubbed "The Sensory Logic of the Gastronomic Brain." It will take place in San Sebastian October 24 through October 26. Brainy Tongue is "an inter-disciplinary project of cooperation that seeks to explore the mysteries that govern perception," according to the CRG website.

The symposium will consist of two days of closed sessions with the scientists and chefs, where they will explore how diners perceive the eating experience, whether meals can be designed based on diners’ genetic profiles, and how expectations impact a tasting menu experience, among other questions. In theory, the chefs will provide personal observations, and the scientists will attempt to provide explanations.

The third day will be open to the public, with conferences and discussions of any conclusions the chefs and scientists reach. This collaboration, along with the concept of neurogastronomy, has the potential to impact food personalization, artificial sensory experiences, and the overall understanding of olfactory receptors.