The King’s Festival of Food and Ideas returns on Monday 10 March with a selection of free public events showcasing the various areas of expertise at King’s connected with food. This year the College will also welcome Professor Mark Post, the Team Lead of Cultured Beef at Maastricht University, to speak about his team’s infamous research which led to the creation of the world’s first burger made from lab-grown cells.
Last year’s festival attracted over 2,000 people to a week of exhibitions and talks exploring everything from the medieval diet to the science of chocolate. This year events will explore a wide range of themes from obesity to fasting as well as more some more unusual topics such as the science of curry and spices.
Christopher Coe, Director of Public Engagement at King’s, said: ‘King’s Festival of Food and Ideas is a fantastic opportunity for the College to both showcase its own research and expertise as well as to invite respected external speakers, such as Professor Post, to share their own food-related findings in a public setting.’
Professor Post unveiled the Cultured Beef Burger, the world’s first ever recognisable meat product created using culturing techniques, on 5 August 2013 at an event attended by 200 journalists and academics. The burger, which was made by painlessly harbouring muscle cells from a living cow and then nurturing them in a lab to create muscle tissue, was cooked and tasted live by a food writer and nutritional researcher who both said that the burger closely resembled the taste and texture they would expect from normal meat.
On Thursday 13 March Professor Post will discuss the background and potential of the breakthrough made by his team in the Great Hall at King’s. He’ll explore whether this could be the answer to satisfying the ever-increasing demand for meat around the world and shed light on how the burger came to exist. The event is chaired by Professor Fiona Watt, Director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King’s.
Friday 14 March will provide the first ever opportunity to experience the view from the most sensitive organ of a mystery celebrity foodie – their stomach. After a short introduction on the medical practice of endoscopy and gastroenterology, the presenter will swallow a SynMed pill-cam, with footage of the camera’s voyage through their body streamed directly from the alimentary canal to the audience. The ’Journey to the Centre of the Gut’ will be accompanied by freeform jazz from Dom Passmore and his Alvine Argonauts.
Academics from across the College will be sharing their expertise in different food-related areas in talks during the course of the week. The festival will also feature a screening of ‘Hungry’, a contemporary play about food, temptation and obesity written by acclaimed writer Sarah Daniels and an animal exhibition from the Museum of Life Sciences.