Conference Abstracts Workshop & Potluck

Interested in submitting a proposal for the 2018 ASFS conference? Not sure how to group papers into panel presentations? Curious about where you can submit your academic work? How does one write a proposal, anyway??

Join us for a potluck while we work on writing our conference abstracts on Wednesday, Dec. 13th from 6pm – 8pm in Fuller 109.

Please email Barbara at if you plan on attending.

Upcoming Events

Gastronomy students!!! You may be interested in these upcoming events. Check ’em out!

Venture Capital Investment for Food

VC Investment

The top 25 U.S. food and beverage companies lost an equivalent of $18 billion in market share between 2009 and 2016.

Venture capitalists are shelling out billions hoping to transform agriculture and scale food ventures that reduce waste and use of synthetic chemicals, conserve resources, accelerate distribution, and improve population health. While venture investment in the food sector seems to be slowing, exits and capital raises continue to abound and gain massive recognition. We’re seeing companies like Justin’s Peanut Butter sell to industry giant Hormel for $286 Million, local tech businesses like ezCater raise upwards of $70 Million across multiple funding rounds to bring food to corporate office spaces, and industry leaders Campbell Soup, General Mills, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and others establishing VC funds to acquire entrepreneurial brands that meet Millennials’ demand for high-quality products.

The food movement is here, it’s not slowing down, and startups are launching locally and globally signaling a certain shift in how our planet eats.

Join Branchfood as we bring together food venture investors across the food and foodtech industry to discuss financing food businesses, opportunities for innovation in food, market trends, and how to launch and grow a successful food business. At this event you’ll get to connect with food industry mentors, advisors, investors, and more, and sample awesome food products too!

Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:

Thursday, April 6, 2017 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)

50 Milk Street
Floor 20
Boston, MA 02109



The Future of Food and Nutrition Graduate Student Research Conference, hosted annually by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, provides a unique venue for graduate students to present original research related to food and nutrition. Historically, more than 200 attendees from over 30 different institutions have come together each year to hear students present research from diverse fields ranging from anthropology to nutritional epidemiology.

As a presenter or attendee, you will gain valuable professional experience presenting and/or discussing novel, multidisciplinary research. The conference also provides a great opportunity for networking with fellow students and future colleagues – the next generations of leaders in the field.

Registration for the 10th annual conference to be held on April 8th, 2017 is open now! Visit our registration page for more details. We hope to see you on April 8th.



The BU Gastronomy Students Association has a few upcoming events! On Thursday April 6th from 7-10pm they will be meeting at the BU Pub on campus to share a few drinks before the BU Pub closes for renovations. This will be the first event of 2017 and a chance to meet new members!

The second event will be starting the BU Gastronomy Students Association Test Kitchen. On Sunday May 7th members and prospective members will meet at 3pm and test out a recipe or two together.  Recipes are still being debated and open to suggestions! Some ideas are home-made gummy bears or spring asparagus tart, or maybe both. If there’s a recipe you’ve always wanted to try just let them know. Please contact us for specific location details.

Lastly, some of the members will be traveling to NYC on May 12th to attend the NYC Food Book Fair and eating at Ivan Ramen that Saturday. If anyone plans on also being in New York, or interested in traveling to NY with the BU Gastronomy Student Association for the event or dinner, please reach out to

Link to learn more about the Food Book Fair:

If you’re interested in joining the Gastronomy Students Association but can’t make the first few events, don’t worry, we’ll have plenty more cooking, eating and socializing going on over the summer!


Taste of WGBH: Edible Scienceunnamed



Do you have an interest in science as well as a passion for the food and beverage industry? Then you are not going to want to miss this event.

Join us at WGBH Studios on Wednesday, April 19 at 7pm, and experience how Boston is influencing “edible science.” Edible wrappers, liquid nitrogen-based ice cream, grasshoppers as a form of protein and much more await you. Not only will you get to taste these scientific treats, but you will also hear the innovators speak about how these products came to be and what it means for our bodies now and in the future.

Get your tickets now because this event is sure to sell out.

You must be 21+ to attend this event. Please bring a valid form of identification.

This is not a seated event.


Neurogastronomy: A Flavorful Awakening in the Scientific Community

By Sophie Schwinn

What do you get when you combine the expertise of world class chefs, medical doctors, neuroscientists, agricultural scientists, and lovers of food? Why, the Inaugural Symposium of The International Society of Neurogastronomy, of course! The International Society of Neurogastronomy (ISN) held its first conference on November 7th in Lexington, KY, drawing speakers and attendees from across the country, as well as Canada and the UK.

Neurogastronomy is a very young discipline – the term was coined in 2006 by Dr. Gordon Shepherd — so every session at the symposium brought something completely new to the table. Chefs talked about the importance of making healthy food available to those who need it most and of simply making healthy food taste good. Clinicians spoke about the need to overhaul the food systems in our hospitals. They pointed out that patients can’t thrive by eating tasteless food on plastic trays when what they really need is food that tastes great, brings them joy, and makes them want to be healthy again. Bench scientists shared their findings about how our sense of flavor is ISN_1created in the brain and how our other senses can influence our sense of taste. Agricultural scientists contributed information on how they could provide better quality food to chefs by implementing their new research findings as well.

Several speakers also shared personal stories about loved ones battling illness, especially cancer, and how diet was a key component in their treatment. Clinicians shared the struggles their patients face with extreme treatment plans. Some examples include the success of the ketogenic diet in treating epilepsy and the extreme difficulty of maintaining it, the challenges of chemotherapy, which essentially destroys the patient’s sense of flavor, and the struggle to increase appetite in patients in memory care who have diminished taste and difficulty eating the bland hospital food. Chemotherapy was an ongoing theme, with discussions ranging from whether neuroscientists could uncover more about why it causes an overwhelming metallic taste, to whether chefs can come up with a way to make that metallic flavor palatable, to how we can help chemo patients deal with constantly changing taste aversions.


The progress we could make just by facilitating this interdisciplinary collaboration is astounding. One very basic example was a recent finding that simply serving food on a blue plate can lead to increased appetite in dementia patients because the greater contrast between the food and the plate makes it appear more appetizing. This may seem like an insignificant detail, but for those who have a loved one wasting away in the hospital due to lack of appetite, it’s a ground-breaking discovery!

ISN_2After the conference sessions were over, the lecture hall was abuzz with interdisciplinary conversations. Hospital nutritionists were thanking scientists for sharing their work and discussing how they could implement new findings in their practice right away. Chefs were meeting with scientists to see how they could help facilitate more research and swapping business cards with doctors to start getting food that actually tastes good into hospitals. Scientists were talking with clinicians about their biggest research needs. ISN’s first symposium was an incredible first step to getting the latest scientific findings into the right hands so they can make a positive difference in people’s lives.


Reflections on the 2013 Annual ASFS/AFHVS Conference

A few weeks ago a handful of Gastronomy students traveled to exotic East Lansing, Michigan to participate and present in the annual food and agriculture conference co-hosted by ASFS (Association for the Study of Food and Society) and AFHVS (Agriculture, Food & Human Values Society). The 4 day academic conference was held on the Michigan State University campus in the eco-friendly Kellogg Conference Center next to the babbling Red Cedar River and the heart of downtown (we lucked out with a two-night Jazz Fest and some mighty fine local eateries).The conference program was full of informative seminars, foodways focused panels, and several interactive round-tables; it was difficult for us to pick one over the other! After the day was over, graduate student attendees could mingle with other visiting students, catch up with other academics and professors, or tour the MSU campus and its many agriculture and food-related attractions, including an extensive botanical garden, several nature preserves, and an on-campus dairy store with homemade ice cream. While there, we also learned that MSU was the very first land-grant institution in the United States and was created to serve as a model for future agricultural-science based universities. Essentially, it was a perfect place to host a food conference.

Lettuce Seeds from the Conference Program/image via KC Hysmith
Lettuce Seeds from the Conference Program/image via KC Hysmith
Every Gastronomy student (and Professor) who attended the conference came back to Boston with new perspectives, promising connections, and nifty ideas for next year. Here’s a bit of what they had to say about their experiences:

“This was my first time presenting at a conference and I was very nervous, but everyone was incredibly supportive and encouraging. Meeting other students and professors from other programs was an awesome opportunity to share ideas, not just for academic enrichment, but for improving our social experience as well. This is definitely a great first conference for those who are new to the food studies world.” — Vicki Yu, presented a lightning talk on “Caught in the Middle: Taiwanese-American cultural identity formed in the comfort of food”

“I attended ASFS for the first time last summer in New York City when it was co-hosted by NYU and The New School. With one year’s experience under my belt, it was exciting to not only continue meeting the folks that make up our delightful world of food and whose work I follow, but also to see some faces that have grown familiar. At this year’s conference, I particularly enjoyed the lightning talk sessions. While the thought of condensing one’s research into a 5-minute talk made me relieved I was on a panel with a leisurely 20 minutes to share my MLA thesis on men and dieting, these sessions allowed me as a viewer to economically consume a veritable buffet of ideas, findings, and questions. Getting to attend the conference with so many BU Gastronomy classmates also made me so very proud of our program. From the craft food movement to food and ethnic identity, food in Jane Austen’s novels to the importance of food literacy, we presented on a wide range of topics with passion and aplomb.” — Emily Contois, participated in a panel with a presentation on “The Dudification of Dieting: Marketing Weight Loss Programs to Men in the Twenty-First Century”

“The conference was incredible. T’was a joy relaxing with fellow BU Gastro-peeps. It was great presenting our work on Culinary Craftsmanship and truly heartening to witness such a warm response. We also met a great many fellow food scholars who had suggestions for our continuing roadtrip documentary. As for East Lansing, it’s hard to argue with $2.50 pints of craft beer.” — Chris Maggiolo, participated in a panel with a presentation on “United We Brew: Culinary Craftsmanship and the American Craft Beer Renaissance”

MSU Dairy and ice cream offerings/image via KC Hysmith
MSU Dairy and ice cream offerings/image via KC Hysmith

“On a personal level, presenting at the conference pushed me to not only work on my presentation skills required for the five minute lightning presentation, but the process and experience provided validation of my chosen field and topic of study. But I would also add that it would have been a much more difficult challenge without the feedback and support of my fellow BU Gastronomy cohorts.” — Alicia Nelson, presented a lightning talk on “Grow Your Own: Defining and cultivating food literacy”

“Aside from losing my voice the day before my panel presentation, the entire conference experience was a great one! From networking with fellow food studies students to chatting with the well-known academics in our field (we didn’t ask for autographs or anything geeky like that), the conference was as much about socializing and fostering intellectual discussion as it was presenting new scholarly research. The variety of topics surprised me the most and made picking a favorite concurrent sessions quite difficult! Presenting my own undergraduate thesis in a new setting (with food scholars rather than English Studies or Lit majors) introduced me to some new perspectives for my research. It was great to talk with other people who geek out over food as much as we do! Biggest takeaway: everyone fumbles over words, skips a slide, says ‘um’, and gets a little nervous before a big presentation; even the academic pros.” — KC Hysmith, participated in a panel with a presentation on “Finding Food for a Rambling Fancy: Gastronomic Gentility and Symbolism in Jane Austen’s Texts”

“The papers that the Gastronomy students gave were excellent. These students demonstrated the academic rigor that is the hallmark of the Gastronomy Program. The conference gave me an excellent opportunity to hear about the latest food studies research and meet new people in the field. It’s always interesting to see what areas are popular and which are emerging. I noticed that urban agriculture was a hot topic once again this year. Organizing a roundtable about Food Studies/Systems/Policy Masters programs was a wonderful way to engage with colleagues in a philosophical dialogue about the future and directions of these programs. As more and more programs are developed, I think these discussions are critical. We need to think about what we are offering students and how we are going to give them useful training as they move forward with their careers.” — Rachel Black, participated in a round-table panel on “Masters Programs in Food Studies, Food Systems and Food Policy: A Roundtable Discussion”

Several other BU Gastronomy students and professors participated and presented in the conference, but were unfortunately unavailable for comment. See their presentation topics below:

Beth Forrest – La Pyramide or Top of the Food Chain: Chefs, Diners, and their Changing Spaces and Status

Brad Jones — We Nourish and Nurture the Community: An Ethnographic Investigation of Incubator Kitchens and Artisanal Food Production

Catherine Womack — “I don’t want no f***ing baby cup”: Diverse Eating Patterns and the Problem of Consensus in Making Food Policy.

Campus Foodtruck/image via KC Hysmith
Campus Foodtruck/image via KC Hysmith

We can’t wait for next year’s ASFS/AFHVS Conference in Vermont!