21 May 2007

Popular Open University programme Ever Wondered About Food returns

The OU's Prof David Shuker, left, and chef Paul Merrett

The OU's Prof David Shuker, left, and chef Paul Merrett

Have you ever wondered how drinking tea evolved from being a ritual in a Buddhist ceremony to becoming the ubiquitous British pick-me-up? Or if bananas can really cure a hangover? And are chillies and dark chocolate really a match made in heaven, or hell?

Ever Wondered about Food, the popular Open University series for BBC One, returns for a fifth series on 2 June 2007 to answer these quirky questions in a unique blend of delicious recipes and fascinating scientific food facts.

Peppers (including chillies), honey, tea, bananas, milk and onions are on the menu, as the series looks at the history, innovations and technology that have been key in their development. It will also look at their nutritional value as part of a healthy diet.

Michelin starred Chef Paul Merrett returns as presenter and once again uses his own vast cooking experience and enthusiasm for science to demonstrate how the unique properties of different foods react in the cooking process. He shows why recipes work the way they do and how this knowledge can be used to improve viewers’ cookery skills.

David Shuker, Professor of Chemistry at The Open University and chief academic advisor to the programme, said: “Knowing something about the chemistry of a food can not only provide valuable insight into its role in a healthy diet and but also help ensure that those kitchen mishaps are kept to a minimum.”

The series will reveal for example:
• The science that gives the extra-hot Vindaloo its spicy kick
• The part onions and garlic have played as a staple food of some of the world’s pioneer adventurers
• The essential part that milk plays in our diet
• The 400 varieties of the humble banana and its popularity as the fourth most consumed item on the planet
• The remarkable properties (in food and medicine) that are held by honey.

Editor’s Notes

Paul Merrett (‘Ever Wondered About Food’; ‘The Best’; ‘Fresh Food’) is available for interview, as is Professor David Shuker of The Open University’s Department of Chemistry, the chief academic advisor to the programme. David has written many articles on the unseen, scientific side of foods and can explain these in a concise, witty way to a more general audience.

Stills, recipes for each episode and preview DVDs will be available in advance. Please contact Liezel Tipper in the Media Relations Office.

Ever Wondered About Food is a fully-funded Open University programme for the BBC. Series Producer is Jacqui Wilson and Executive Producers are Clare Sillery for the BBC and Emma De’Ath for The Open University.

The Open University and BBC have been in partnership for over 30 years, providing educational programming to a mass audience. In recent times this partnership has evolved from late night programming for delivering courses to peak time programmes with a broad appeal to encourage wider participation in learning.


Open University courses that are likely to be of interest to viewers:
Understanding Human Nutrition (SK183)
Understanding Health (Y158);
Discovering Science (S103);
Biology: Uniformity and Diversity (S204);
The Molecular World (S205);
Signals and Perception: The science of the Senses (SD329);
Working with our Environment: Technology for a sustainable future (T172)
Four new Cpntinuing Professional Development courses in Developing Food Science Skills.

Free educational resources for learners and educators via openlearn: Nutrition (Proteins) and Nutrition (Vitamins and Minerals)

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