by Josh Evans.

These past few weeks have seen a lot of changes: interns have come and gone (more on their projects soon), MAD Symposium brought all sorts of visitors to the boat (even more than usual), and probably most significantly, we welcomed on Ben Reade as our new Head of Culinary Research and Development. With Lars leaving his official position at the lab to go head up the test kitchen at Noma, Ben immediately seemed like the perfect new fit for the job.

Ben has already been with us for a while – he first came to us last September for three months to do research for his bachelor’s thesis at the University of Gastronomic Sciences, entitled “Flavour exploration and biotechnology in the new Nordic cuisine”. After graduating in March, he came right back to lead the planning of MAD 2 as Project Manager for the Symposium.

Ben’s full background is as a chef, and an accomplished one: he attended culinary school in Ireland and has cooked in diverse kitchens throughout England, Scotland, Italy, and France. Having started out as a dishwasher, Ben’s successes are a testament to his hard work, his inquisitive palate, and his drive to find the most delicious flavours.

We are excited to keep a chef leading our culinary research, and Ben is keen to further our scientific methodology and cross disciplines; he savours, as he says, the “opportunity to link things up”. He is interested in picking up where his thesis research left off, especially delving further into the expression of place through experimenting with autochthonous microbes. Another of his interests is in “flavour education”, or “how the complexity of food can be communicated efficiently”. He has been on board for a week and the ideas are flowing.

As Ben himself says, “I’m a total nerd and I love it.” So do we, Ben, so do we.