Brainy Tongue is an initiative of the Basque Culinary Centre, led by Andoni Aduriz, together with the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), which was presented in July this year to link gastronomic and scientific knowledge. Brainy Tongue’s first event took place from the 24th to the 26th of November with the symposium entitled “The sensory logic of the gastronomic brain” to which scientists and chefs were invited to debate and share their knowledge over three days, the last of which was open to the public.
Language, definitions and metabolism
Amongst other conclusions, the importance of language in perception and the predisposition to taste a dish became clear. The unanswered questions pertained to the categorisation of tastes and the definition of flavours. The scientific contribution in this case was the use of the language of physics and chemistry to more accurately identify flavour or smells that are the same for everyone. In terms of metabolism, they spoke of the feeling of being full, as being full is not the same as wanting to stop eating. The members of the symposium relate it directly to the context. In a society where we are used to continuing to eat, despite being full, diners may want to eat more (for example, on special occasions). Likewise, it was suggested that being full does not necessarily relate exclusively to the amount but rather the type of taste. So, even though we may feel full, there are tastes that contrast with those we have just eaten, and as they are different, this makes us want to taste them not only for their nutritional value, like a sweet dessert, for example.
14 scientists from China, Spain, Portugal, England, Switzerland, the United States and Israel, all of recognised prestige, including Adrian Cheok, Charles Spence –whom we already mentioned in the article on multisensoriality-, Charles Zuker and Leslie Vosshall, participated in the Brainy Tongue symposium.