Enter the secret world of great culinarians with two experts, Sean Kahlenberg, Assistant Professor of Culinary Arts at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, and his close friend and co-teacher, Ted Russin, Acting Dean of the CIA’s School of Culinary Science and Nutrition. In Cooking Better with Science, let their joint expertise initiate and guide you through the world of leveraging science to cook with greater finesse as you tackle simple and adaptable recipes that anyone can master.
Cooking Better with Science
Sean Kahlenberg is an Assistant Professor of Culinary Arts at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Hyde Park, New York, where he also earned his AOS in Culinary Arts. Additionally, he is a Certified Hospitality Educator. At the CIA, he teaches classes and oversees the campus’s innovation kitchen, and he is the executive chef of the school’s farm-to-table restaurant, American Bounty.
Ted Russin is the Acting Dean of the School of Culinary Science and Nutrition at the CIA. He holds an MS in Food Science and Agricultural Chemistry from McGill University. For the CIA, he teaches courses on topics such as ingredient functionality and culinary research and development. He has also been a research scientist and chemist for companies in the food industry.
01: Making the Perfect Pizza
Simple and fresh, this Neapolitan pizza will have your family and friends asking when you are cooking again. Follow expert Chef Sean Kahlenberg, of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, as he deftly demonstrates the art of pizza Napoletana, constructed of homemade dough, fresh mozzarella, basil, and an unpretentious tomato sauce. Surprisingly easy, you can now enjoy this staple of Italian cuisine at home.
02: The Science of Gluten
Pizza may seem simple, but the science behind it is remarkably complex. Professor Ted Russin, Acting Dean of the CIA’s School of Culinary Science and Nutrition, explains it, from how proteins react to their environment at the molecular level through to the chewy, crunchy perfection of a well-made dough.
03: The Science of Yeast
We begin with a return to our pizza dough and a review of gluten and texture analysis. As we learn more about the impact of mix times and refrigeration on texture and flavor, we begin to understand the complex and critical role of anaerobic fermentation in creating delicious pizza.
04: Making a Roasted Chicken Dinner
Have you ever wondered why restaurant roasted chicken is so consistently juicy and evenly cooked? Your expert chef shares several tricks of the trade to help you achieve the perfect roasted chicken dinner. From tying, prepping, and serving your bird, to delectable sides and a savory brown roux-based gravy, follow along from our kitchen to yours.
05: The Science of Meat
The proteins in meat are complex and critical to understanding the process of turning a living chicken into a delicious, roasted main course. Back in the lab, explore the relationship between proteins, muscle fiber, enzymes, time, temperature, and meat. Dive in as culinary science and nutrition expert Dean Russin explains the science of meat.
06: The Science of Browning
How do oxygen, nitrogen, gluten, and glucose interact to create your perfectly baked pizza crust or golden-brown chicken dinner? In every way. Examine the complex cascade of reactions that takes butter, flour, time, and heat to create a delectable roux, or the nitrogen compounds and sugars that react in a hot oven to turn chicken skin golden-brown and make pizza crust aromatic and flavorful.
07: Making Paella Mixta
Watch as Chef Kahlenberg crafts a traditional Spanish dish, paella mixta. Follow as he creates the base, a sofrito of diced onions and peppers slow cooked in the oven, and then a rice pie filled with chicken, shrimp, chorizo sausage, and vegetables. With meat and vegetables in every extraordinary bite, this dish is soon to be a family favorite.
08: The Science of Starch
One of the most essential molecules in food structure is starch, making rice cookery an ideal venue for exploring this building block of so many foods. Singular in starch density, rice remains diverse in a multitude of other aspects. Discover in our nutrition lab why the same short-grain rice used in paella can also create a creamy risotto when stirred.
09: The Science of Vegetables
Carrots are 88% water, and so is whole milk: one crunches and the other pours. Return to the lab with nutritional scientist Dean Russin to consider the unique structure of plant cells, from what allows them to hold so much water in a solid to what happens to those structures when cooked for our paella mixta.
10: Making Three Classic Egg Dishes
Eggs are among the most versatile and valuable foods in both the home and commercial kitchen—Everyone can make at least one basic egg dish. Hone your skills with an introduction to three more complex egg dishes: tortilla española, cheese soufflé, and salmon benedict with a creamy béarnaise sauce.
11: The Science of Eggs: Tortilla Española
Time is of the essence. Let Dean Russin’s laboratory experiments expand your understanding of the egg. Did you know that the age of an egg affects its pH? Incredibly, see how pH can determine both texture and viscosity and work with potatoes and oil to form the “bravaz eggs” of the traditional tortilla española.
12: The Science of Eggs: Béarnaise and Soufflé
Texturally, béarnaise and a soufflé could not be more different. One is a creamy sauce; the other is firm but light, filled with tiny, structured pockets of air that hold it aloft. Incredibly, they are both made of eggs. Learn what they have in common and the principles that govern their creation.