Harvard SEAS lecture 11/14/11, David Chang

Subject – Food Microbiology

I don’t think I have much to say about tonight’s lecture. It was more formal than David Chang’s lecture last year, and it was solely about edible bacteria, whether it’s from lacto-fermentation, inoculating fish that has been steamed/smoked/deydrated with koji mold (katsuobushi), dry aged beef, or David Chang’s own invention of pork bushi.

  • As we entered the lecture hall, David and company were searing steak. Such a tease!
  • Koji, more specifically, is aspergillus orzyae mold. David’s pork bushi was pichia mold.
  • We got to taste 1) koji, 2) monosodium glutimate (MSG), 3) peanut-barley miso made by the Chang group, and we got to smell 4) something inoculated with koji (I think it was small bits of pork? or maybe it was barley? I didn’t quite catch it.). David recommended that we do not eat #4. lol!
  • Peanut-barley miso? OMG! SO DELICIOUS. I’ve been miso-obsessed this past fall, so I found this to be extra interesting and awesome. I wonder if I could write an email to South River Miso and ask them to add this as a flavor in their catalog. I hope David Chang wouldn’t be insulted if I did. They stopped the Q&A section just as I thought I should ask David if he had applications for the peanut-barley miso in his restaurants.
  • The Chang group were able to grow neurospora, the same mold that is used in fermenting oncom, a peanut pressed cake from West Java.
  • David had his biologists on hand again this year.
  • David reported to us that Magnus Nilsson, chef at restaurant Fäviken Magasinet in Sweden, has figured out a way to make native soy sauce and native miso (using ingredients available to him as opposed to inoculating with Asian molds).
  • No, pork bushi is not being used in any of David Chang’s restaurants. The time and effort needed to make it is not in David’s favor.
  • Total tease?  Issue #2 of Lucky Peach was available for sale tonight even though it’s not officially released until tomorrow.  Dammit!  I want my issue to come in the mail now!  (^_~)

(Yes, I totally inserted an image of koji mold from the Japanese manga/anime “Moyashimon” into this entry.  I think Masayuki Ishikawa’s rendering of bacteria deserves a little bit of love.  Apologies to David Chang.  I just couldn’t resist.)

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4 thoughts on “Harvard SEAS lecture 11/14/11, David Chang

    • I must admit – I don’t have a travel friendly digital camera! It’s why I never have real photos of the lectures. I am lame, I know. I tried to soothe it over with Moyashimon koji, but obviously that didn’t work. lol!

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