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cooking class at Ullem Campus Farm

Sweet and Savory Science

Jeff Hansen, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been introducing students to new recipes and cooking lessons during winter term since he first introduced “Sweet and Savory Science” in 2003.

Each week teams prepare dishes that fit into themes ­such as childhood favorites made for adults, vegetarian, and Chopped, a theme based on the Food Network show of the same name.

With team names like Ancient Romaine Empire, students compete against each other, testing their culinary skills by preparing dishes and presenting them to a panel of faculty and staff judges.

Hansen said the Chopped theme usually results in some pretty tasty dishes. He encourages students to be adventurous with their cooking as much as possible. The most successful dishes will be prepared for President White when she is invited to lunch next week.

And why teach a class on cooking?

“Well, because I like cooking, and obviously I like chemistry,” Hansen said. “I think the two are a very good match. I've long felt that understanding the chemistry that's going on when you cook will help you have better results.

“So, I try to employ that when I cook, and I want to try and help students to be able to do that. To me, it’s just really fun to do.”

(Pictured above: Prof Hansen and Kiley Shaw ’23 with guest chef Kevin Hamilton, associate dean of students and director of housing and residence life. Fun fact: Prior to working in higher ed, Kevin worked at a restaurant that was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.)

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