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  • MICHAEL: OK.

  • We should start.

  • So thank you all for coming.

  • So this is, remarkably enough, week 11 of this lecture series.

  • And we're very happy this week to have Daniel Humm from Eleven Madison Park.

  • Who will get to speak in a minute.

  • And he will give a lecture called Where is the Acid?

  • But before he does that, you have to put up with me.

  • So we have a fun game here in Science and Cooking.

  • We have a fun game in Science and Cooking.

  • We play this sometimes.

  • It's a parlor game.

  • We haven't marketed it yet.

  • No one to my knowledge has done it.

  • It's called Guess the Food.

  • So would anyone like to guess the food?

  • Yes.

  • What?

  • AUDIENCE: Peanut butter.

  • MICHAEL: Peanut butter.

  • Any other guesses?

  • Yes, in the back?

  • AUDIENCE: Chocolate.

  • MICHAEL: Chocolate.

  • Yes?

  • AUDIENCE: Bone marrow.

  • MICHAEL: Bone marrow.

  • Actually bone marrow is the closest.

  • This is beef.

  • OK.

  • So guess the food.

  • Here's another one.

  • It's a good game, actually.

  • Does anybody-- yes.

  • AUDIENCE: Olive oil.

  • MICHAEL: Say again?

  • AUDIENCE: Vegetable oil.

  • MICHAEL: Vegetable oil.

  • That's very good.

  • It's olive oil.

  • OK.

  • Very good.

  • So I mean, of course the way you play the game of Guess

  • the Food is that you all know that there are major molecules of food.

  • There are fats.

  • There are carbohydrates.

  • There are proteins.

  • There's water, which is not listed on the food label.

  • And if you look at those and you look at the percentages of the various things,

  • you can sort of guess the food.

  • So you guessed the vegetable oil instead of olive oil because it was all fats.

  • So what do you think it is?

  • The question I want to raise is what else is important for food?

  • That is, what else is important in a recipe other than this?

  • I mean, look, if you have a jar of water, right?

  • The number of molecules per liter in that jar of water is enormous.

  • More than 10 to the 23.

  • There's about 10 to 25 molecules of water that's in a liter of water.

  • It's a huge number.

  • But it turns out that-- and this is the idea

  • I want to leave you with before I turn this over Daniel--

  • is that oftentimes there are ingredients in a recipe which

  • are very, very low concentrations, but yet are extremely important for taste.

  • And just to demonstrate this, here is a typical recipe for lemonade.

  • And the question is, what makes it taste like lemonade?

  • Yes.

  • AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE]

  • MICHAEL: The acid.

  • Very good.

  • That was in the title of the lectures.

  • And where is the acid?

  • The acid is in the lemons.

  • OK.

  • Very good.

  • So in fact, the acid that's in the lemons is called citric acid.

  • Here is a picture of it.

  • And the citric acid is this complicated formula, this chemical formula.

  • And the main point of it is that acid is something that

  • more easily loses protons to water.

  • So an acid releases protons, which are H pluses, which go into water.

  • So even water, there are protons that are in water--

  • I mean in the form of hydronium ions.

  • And the concentration of them is one part in 10 to the seven

  • of the moles per liter, which is more than 1 10 millionth.

  • It's actually more than that.

  • It's like, 1 over 550 millionth of the molecules that are in water

  • are these protons.

  • But yet they are critically important for taste.

  • This is what I want to tell you, that even though there's so few of them,

  • they are critically important for taste.

  • And when you see Chef Daniel do magical things with acids, then in fact,

  • he's adding so few protons that if all of you in this room

  • were water molecules, there wouldn't be one of you is a proton in the dish

  • that he makes.

  • They're just so few.

  • But yet they're critically important for taste.

  • And you can control them by playing with things that Chef Daniel will play with.

  • And I was going to turn it over to Chef Daniel.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • DANIEL HUMM: Wow.

  • Thank you, Michael.

  • How are you guys?

  • AUDIENCE: Good.

  • DANIEL HUMM: Hey, thank you so much for coming.

  • Thank you for having me here.

  • It means a lot.

  • It's a great honor to be part of this program.

  • And I'm excited to talk a little bit about myself, my story,

  • the story of Eleven Madison Park.

  • And a few things that I've learned along the way in the kitchen.

  • But before I start I have a confession to make.

  • Me, I never finished high school.

  • In fact, I hated going to school.

  • I hated going to classes and studying things

  • I knew I probably never going to use.

  • When I was 14 I left school to be a cook.

  • Obviously, that was not a very popular decision with my parents.

  • But it's been the best thing I ever done.

  • The things that the path of cooking has opened me to-- it's been unbelievable.

  • The people I've met along the way.

  • I've traveled the world, learned about different foods and different cultures.

  • I learned languages.

  • The opportunities just have been unbelievable.

  • Eight years ago I came to this country with two suitcases mostly full

  • of chef clothes, cookbooks, some knives.

  • I had a couple hundred dollars.

  • I did not speak English.

  • Now I'm here speaking in front of you at Harvard.

  • That's insane.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • DANIEL HUMM: This is one of the best schools in the world, maybe the best

  • school in the world.

  • This is the American dream.

  • When they first asked me to speak here, I

  • wasn't sure if I'm the right candidate because I'm not a public speaker.

  • This is totally out of my comfort zone.

  • I'm nervous standing up here.

  • I'm a cook.

  • The place where I feel comfortable is the kitchen.

  • But as I thought a little bit more about the opportunity,

  • I knew that there are definitely things I have to share.

  • It's amazing how food has changed over the past few years.

  • Now everyone in the world wants to know about food, chefs, and restaurants.

  • When I started 25 years ago, there was no food and science

  • program at Harvard, or at any school.

  • There was no Food Network.

  • There weren't all of these TV shows, all these magazines.

  • For sure, there were no celebrity chefs.

  • Back then it was just about the craft of cooking.

  • I fell in love with it because I love the energy in the kitchen.

  • I love to work with fresh ingredients.

  • I love to work with my hands, create something with my hands.

  • Cooking is very tangible.

  • Something my dad always used to say, he said,

  • it doesn't matter when you're passionate about something how big or small it is.

  • The only thing that matters is how much effort

  • you're willing to put towards that.

  • And that's what's cooking has been for me.

  • And that is what Eleven Madison Park represents today.

  • I have this clicker here in my hand, been holding it really awkwardly.

  • I've never used one of those.

  • So I just gonna give it to Mike.

  • To put something together like this, or to do anything great,

  • it always takes a team.

  • And I want to say thank you to a few people

  • that help have helped a lot with this.

  • I want to say thank you to Mike Pyers.

  • I want to say thank you to Connie Chung.

  • Both of them are chefs at our restaurant,

  • and are in charge of all the research and development.

  • I want to say thank you to Aaron Ginsberg, who is

  • our director for strategic development.

  • And he has spent hours with me practicing this, literally hours.

  • I wanna say thank you to [? Ali ?] [? Busari ?] who is a friend