Science On A Plate Festival

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Nick Nairn and Tom Kitchin are among chefs and food experts participating in the Science on a Plate festival, part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, this spring.

Scotland’s first festival of science and food takes over the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh serving up 10 days of cooking, tasting and scientific discovery.

The Science on a Plate ambassador and ‘2011 Chef of the Year’ Neil Forbes will be joined by Scotland’s finest chefs including Nick Nairn and Tom Kitchin in the Real Life Science Kitchen for live cooking demonstrations which bring together chefs and scientists to investigate Scotland’s healthy meat, sustainable fish and so-called super foods (see full timetable below).

The Scientist at Your Table meals combine fine dining with lively discussions on relevant and controversial food topics.

Foraging expert Miles Irving and John Wright of River Cottage lead a foraging walk and breakfast on 7th April whilst self proclaimed bon viveur and Aphrodisiac expert Mark Douglas Hill hosts an evening of Aphrodisiac cocktail and canapés on April 8th.

For youngsters there will be daily Junior Chef Challenge activities aimed at awaking taste buds and raising awareness of where food comes from.

Whilst the Science on a Plate exhibition allows visitors to browse specially prepared market stalls, learning about Scotland’s food research, while representatives of the People’s Postcode Lottery-funded Edible Gardening Project will be available to provide hands-on advice and guidance on how to grow fruit and vegetables.

The Science on a Plate Festival aims to facilitate dialogue around issues relating to food, health and science including food security and sustainability between research scientists, the food industry and the general public. 

Science of a Plate Programme 

  • Scientist At Your Table Meals:
  • Sustainable Seafood Discovery Dinner, February 22, Discovery Boat, Dundee
  • Foraging Walk & Breakfast, April 7, 8.30am, Gateway Restaurant, RBGE, £15
  • Palm House Fair-trade Tea Party, April 8, 1.30pm-4pm, Palm House RBGE, £4.50
  • Aphrodisiac Canapé Reception, April 8, 7.30pm-9pm, Gateway Restaurant RBGE, £20

Student Chef Challenge

Professional catering students from Telford College, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen College are invited to plan a three course sustainable Scottish menu, which is balanced, nutritious and healthy. Sustainability is the theme that will influence the design of the menu. The semi-finalist dinners take place in Edinburgh and Aberdeen on February 27. The Finalist dinner is held at the Gateway Restaurant RBGE on March 21.

 Real Life Science Kitchen, March 31 – April 9, £3 per session

Interactive cooking demonstrations bringing together top chefs with leading scientists from Scotland’s research institutes. While chefs prepare innovative dishes, the audience has an opportunity quiz leading scientists about the food on the menu.

Daily demonstrations at 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm & 3.30pm:

  • 31 March: Healthy Happy Meat with Nick Nairn
  • 1 April: Well Hung and Tender with Neil Forbes
  • 2 April: Super-foods: Science or Myth with Tom Kitchin (11am & 12.30pm) and Jacqueline O’Donnell (2pm & 3.30pm)
  • 3 April: Made in Scotland with Steve Brown of Edinburgh School of Food and Wine
  • 4 April: Fresh Fish from the Farm with Nick Nairn
  • 5 April: A Future for the Fish Supper? Stephen Frost, executive chef of Prestige Scotland
  • 6 April: Malaysian Spice Kitchen with Norman Musa and ethnobotanist James Wong
  • 7 April: Eating on the Wild-side with Miles Irving, John Wright, and Noma chef René Redzepi via video link from his Copenhagen restaurant for a live Q&A session
  • 8 April: Food of Gods with chocolatier Nadia Ellingham
  • 9 April: From Plot to Plate with Neil Forbes 

Junior Chef Challenge, March 31 – April 9, from £1 per session

Hands-on activities for children to help them learn about healthy eating and stimulate an interest into how food arrives on their plate. These drop-in events at the Botanic Garden will awaken tired taste buds and encourage participants to be a little more adventurous in what they eat. Suitable for ages 5+