For more than a decade the Roger Smith Hotel has hosted conferences, meetings, panels, speakers, and other events about food and cookery—culinary history, cookbooks, recipe apps, food blogs—I even conducted a ketchup tasting there a few years back (and that, believe it or not, was quite a hit!).
This year they have kindly permitted several of us to organize a conference on food technology. I have always been fascinated with “food tech”—how, ever since humankind’s discovery of fire, we’ve been developing new ways to produce, process, store, and serve our meals. On another level, chemists, physicists, engineers, and psychologists are busy creating new flavors, textures, and aromas, and tailoring food products to satisfy both gustatory and emotional hunger.
Today we’re seeing a major shift in the public’s perception of food: The efficiency and uniformity of the multinational conglomerate and the factory farm suffer in comparison with artisan bread bakeries, sustainable organic family farms, single-origin chocolate makers, and new kitchen technology—from sous-vide cookers to smartphone apps—that have piqued a passion for home cooking.
We’re living in the golden age of food tech, but many people are concerned about the direction it has taken. Some technologies, such as genetically modified crops, are controversial. I felt there was a need for a broad discussion of food technology, from historical times to the present, that would include food technologists, academics, leaders of advocacy groups, journalists, food writers, and concerned and curious citizens. This was the motivating force behind the Food+Tech conference, “From Flint Knives to Cloned Meat: Our Ambiguous Love, Hate, and Fear of Food Technologies,” to be held at the Roger Smith Hotel April 3–5, 2014. The conference includes thirty-one panels and six workshops.
Andrew F. Smith, conference co-founder
When: April 3-5, 2014
Where: The Roger Smith Hotel (New York City) 501 Lexington Ave New York, NY 10017
Lodging: 15% off our Best Available Rate for the FoodTech Conference.
To book this special rate click here. Use code: FOODTECH. Based on availability and cannot be combined with any other offer.
Travel dates: April 3-5, 2014. Based on availability. Must be booked at least 5 days prior to arrival date. Cannot be combined with any other offer.
The 2014 Roger Smith Conference on Food focuses on the interrelationships of food, technology, and culture. The story of food technologies through the ages is one of constant change in every aspect of producing, processing, cooking, and talking about the things people eat. Food Technology is any imaginable means of using and manipulating food, from cracking nuts with a rock to molecular gastronomy. Indeed, the very act of deciding what is or isn’t food is intrinsically bound up with technology.
Conference sessions will examine the flow of influences from food technologies to our culture and environment, and vice versa. Join us as we discuss agriculture, cooking paraphernalia, factory-scale manufacturing, artisanal production, and communications (from traditional cookbooks to the internet, apps, and all the brave new world that is now becoming old hat).
We hope to see you soon! -John Birdsong, Editor
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