Science of Cooking makes Aspen debut |

Science of Cooking makes Aspen debut

Judith Barnard
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen Science Center and Cooking School of Aspen recently held a three-course Science of Cooking meal for a group of hungry and curious diners. The next session is set Aug. 15.

There’s a new star in the Aspen firmament: the brand new Science of Cooking hosted by the Aspen Science Center and Cooking School of Aspen.

Eating (a favorite Aspen activity) is a major part of a Science of Cooking evening, but just as important is preparation: knowing the tricks of the kitchen — the what, why and how of putting together a gourmet three-course dinner.

Participants in the first session, held recently at the Cooking School, watched preparation, plating and final touches while two chefs and three other experts explained and demonstrated the science of everything involved, from kitchen equipment, time and temperature, to why the sous vide steak was perfectly rare all the way through, and what kept the hazelnut mousse from collapsing.

The chefs were Matt Steele and Robbie Kostrba of the Cooking School.The other experts were Mike Simmons, board chair; David Houggy, president of the Aspen Science Center; and Rob Ittner, owner of Cooking School of Aspen.

They’re all notable cooks in their own kitchens and they know the whys and wherefores of their creations. So while participants polished off each course served with paired wines, they watched demonstrations of the secrets behind what was on their plates and new tricks for creating simple dishes like whipped potatoes and flavored al dente carrots to more complicated ones like pork cheeks with caramelized apple and crisp herbs.

The takeaway: Science is essential, and once you know simple, not mysterious, principles underlying the use of appliances, electronics, time, temperature and the transformation of ingredients, you’ll not only be a smarter cook, you’ll also have a lot more fun in the kitchen and at the dinner table.

The next Science of Cooking is Aug. 15, with limited attendance so everyone has a chance to interact with the chefs and experts. Information and registration are at Aspen Science Center, 970-236-2360; the Cooking School of Aspen, 970-920-2002, as well as at