A ‘Supper Science Club’, where food and science mix

You can almost taste this event, right through the Internet! Find out why folks are coming for more that supper, to OMSI’s ‘Food Luminary’ events …

Guests learn the science behind great cooks’ meals during OMSI Food Luminary Dinner events.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
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, 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 their first Food Luminary Dinner event of the year.

OMSI Director of Marketing Tess Payne and Events Manager Andrea Middleton welcome guests to the Food Luminary Dinner.

“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 East Portland News.

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

Food Luminary Dinner guests Carrie Welch and Jannie Huang sample hors d’oeuvres served by Theory Cafe Assistant Manager Dave Keller.

At this Food Luminary Dinner, guest Ryan Bernstein shakes a bowl containing ice cream mix in a bag, surrounded by ice and salt; his friend, Tyler Bernstein watches the demonstration.

In keeping with that 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.

OMSI Food Science Educator Hayley Mauck shows how dissimilar salts burn with different colors.

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.

Chef Jenn Louis of Lincoln Restaurant & Sunshine Tavern delves into the wonders of salt fermentation.

OMSI’s “Food Luminary” at this event 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 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 next Food Luminary Dinner is scheduled for April 18, 6-9 pm in OMSI’s Theory cafeteria. It will feature local chef Scott Dolich of eatery Park Kitchen. This 21+ only event is $80 per person, and includes dinner, refreshments and gratuity – a reasonable price for a full evening’s entertainment, including a gourmet dinner.

The supper service begins at this Food Luminary Dinner at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry on the east bank of the Willamette River.

Learn more, or buy tickets, at OMSI’s event webpage: CLICK HERE.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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