The TED conference runs all this week, providing a stage for scores of the world's brightest and most compelling thinkers to offer up an intellectual feast. In terms of actual feasting, though, there are probably just coffee and bagels there or something, so we've decided to spare you the torturous hunger of attendance by rounding up five of TED's most gastronomic past talks for you to enjoy from home.
Homaro Cantu & Ben Roche: Cooking as alchemy
These guys run Moto in Chicago, and create all sorts of foods that look like other foods, like “nachos” out of candied chips, chocolate “ground beef” & mango sorbet “cheese”, and “tuna” rolls out of watermelon. A funny thing would be to go in there and pay for your meal with paper that you painted to look like money.
Marcel Dicke: Why not eat insects?
Marcel Dicke wears a t-shirt covered in caterpillars and dragonflies, so you know that he didn’t have to take any time away from preparing this talk to maintain a busy social calendar. He drops some interesting/disgusting knowledge though, like that you eat 500 grams of insects per year after they slip into processed foods. He also describes Chinese restaurants where you pick out your insects like you would branzino at a fancy fish place.
Nathan Myhrvold: Cut your food in half
Malcolm Gladwell once described Myhrvold as “nerdy on an epic scale”, which certainly seems like the pot calling the kettle nerd. Speaking of pots and kettles, both of them are photographed in pretty amazing cross section in Myhrvold’s phototastic, highly scientific cookbook, which employed a super high-speed camera and lots of giant saws to create images like those burgers on the grill up at the top of the page. Side note: Myhrvold was Microsoft's Chief Technology Officer during the '90s, when it was producing technology actually less sophisticated than said charcoal grill.
Peter Reinhart: The art of baking bread
Quick, what’s more pulse-poundingly riveting: sitting in church or watching bread rise? If you answered “both tied for first”, you may actually be Peter Reinhart, a “baker and theologian” whose 10-minute deep dive into bread’s life cycle runs the gamut from scientific (“bread is yeast’s burps and sweat!”) to mystical. He even works in Dante there for a minute.
Heribert Watzke: the brain in your gut
Watzke makes a bold statement, offering that Krang from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles isn’t the only one with a brain in his stomach. Rather, he asserts, all of us listen to the autonomous circuitry of the tummy, or what he calls the gut’s “silent voice”, meaning he’s clearly never eaten the chili cheese Hot Dogzilla at Fuddruckers.