As a freshman in the NYU Food Studies program, the class I was easily most excited to take was Intro to Food Science which consists of a lecture portion and a lab portion. Unlike the typical college science lab, this lab is designed as a cooking class with new recipes to test weekly, quizzes based on herbs and spices, and knife skill tests. Drop your pencil & grab your chef's knife, it's about to get wild. 

Class Setup:

vegetable, herb
Allan Mai

At 9:30 am sharp, I'm in my white chef coat and purple NYU baseball hat at my station with my cutting board ready to go. First things first, demo. We watch our professor introduce cutting techniques on certain herbs or vegetables, then proceed back to our stations to prepare the given dishes. 


Everybody gets roughly two hours to cook about four recipes. Whoever is named the executive chef of that week is in charge of dividing the work, managing the progress, and designing the plating. At 11:45, it's knives down and hands up. Every group must be done with their work and have both stations cleared and dishes looking presentable. At this point, we're permitted to walk around and analyze our classmates' plates. We then return to our own plates and begin the tasting. 

My Professor

My Professor, Lourdes Castro, graduated with a degree in Food Studies and Nutrition from NYU. She's now a teacher, chef, cookbook author, and registered dietician. It's inspiring to have a teacher as dedicated and established as Professor Castro, as each day in her lab becomes a new learning and cooking experience for all of the students. 


So far, the categories of food that we've touched on have been vegetables and grains. Following that, we'll learn about meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy, breads, and pastries. My favorite recipes so far have been pan fried eggplant, roasted root vegetables, barley stew, and the creamiest butternut squash risotto in all of the land. All of these recipes are incredibly simple yet satisfying, and give us a new outlook on the information we've learned in lecture when we apply it to the physical ingredients. 

After only being in this course for a month or so, I'm overwhelmed with excitement about what the rest of the semester holds. If you'd like to hear updates about what else is going in the NYU food studies kitchen, follow @nyufoodlab on Instagram.