International chemistry year

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40h) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation. 

 

Tutors: Charlotte Trontin, M’Barka Mokrani, Albane Gaubert, Sylvain Denis, Fulvio Mazzamuto/ PhD students-instructors-tresses, Raphaël Haumont/ lecturer, Physics and Chemistry of Solids laboratory, Jonathan Piard/ PhD student, Juliana Grazini dos Santos/ nutritionnist

Project manager: Anna Mezey

 

Objectives :
In this project, the pupils learn experimental techniques in chemistry and apply them to creative cooking. They draw up recipes, ask questions about food and diet and explore the infinite variety of flavours and personal taste. The investigation culminates in a cooking contest, using the constraints of molecular gastronomy.

Workshops: 
In the first sessions, the pupils and their chemistry tutor experimented with the various states of matter – solid, liquid and gas – then learnt how to use them and combine them in cooking.

Then the class tested some of the principles developed by molecular cooking, in particular making gels, emulsions and mousses. They learnt how to use additives, xanthan gum, agar-agar and methyl cellulose. Then they adapted traditional recipes, making liquid tiramisu with red berry beads, mango smoothies with mint spaghetti or tomato beads with mozzarella ice cream.

Analysis:
A class session with nutritionist Juliana Grazini dos Santos. The pupils talked about their eating habits with reference to the recipes they had made in class.

Outcome:
At the beginning of June the pupils took part in practical tests in their colleges. They also had to present and comment on their dishes. Each class was divided into groups and members of the jury often came from outside the college. Two of the winning recipes:
Tomato beads with agar-agar
400 ml of tomato juice 100%
6 g of agar-agar
Pour the tomato juice and the agar into a saucepan, mix well and bring to the boil. Take off the heat, mix, season to taste and let cool. The temperature of the mixture must not drop below 45°C. Take a syringe or a pipette (such as used for children's medicine), take some of the mixture and let beads of various sizes drop into the cold oil. Let them set, rinse in cold water and set aside.

Outings (selection):
- PALAIS DE LA DÉCOUVERTE. ACTIVITIES: "STATES OF MATTER!"; "MYSTERIES OF SMELL", "COFFEE COLOURED", "TAKE A DEEP BREATH".
- LA FERME DE GRIGNON, AGROPARISTECH. LEARNING ABOUT FARM LIFE. ACTIVITIES "MAKING AND TASTING BUTTER".
- SWEDISH CAFÉ IN THE SWEDISH INSTITUTE, PARIS. COOKING WORKSHOP: PREPARING AND TASTING SWEDISH SPECIALTIES.

Participating schools: 
- Collège Jean Moulin SEGPA, Aubervilliers
- Collège Henri Sellier, Bondy
- Collège Jean Zay SEGPA, Bondy
- Collège Madame de Sévigné, Gagny
- Collège Marais de Villiers, Montreuil
- Collège Saint Exupéry, Noisy-le-Grand