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Would people be happier (and healthier) if we could make broccoli taste like chocolate?

October 21, 2016
University of Kentucky
At the second annual International Society of Neurogastronomy Symposium, scientists, doctors, chefs and food scientists discuss flavor perception and quality of life for people who can't enjoy food because of their injury or illness.

Register now for the second annual International Society of Neurogastronomy symposium, which will be held at the University of Kentucky on December 10, 2016 to explore the concept of brain and behavior in the context of food.

Among the speakers is pastry chef Taria Camerino, who was featured on an episode of The Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern. Camerino is a gastoral synaesthete who literally "tastes the rainbow" -- in fact, she experiences all five senses as taste. "It's like being a pianist with four hands," said UK Neuropsychologist and ISN co-founder Dan Han.

Also among the scheduled speakers are:

Rachel Laudan, PhD, author of Cuisine & Empire: How has our understanding of taste evolved on the grand scale throughout human history?

Francois Chartier, a pioneering researcher in the realm of recipe creation and wine and food harmonies, named world's best sommelier in 1994, author of Taste Buds and Molecules, which was named the Best Innovative Cookbook in the World at the 2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards: The Art and science of food, wine, and flavors.

Gordon Shepherd, MD, DPhil, Yale University, The father of Neurogastronomy: The evolution of the neural mechanisms relevant to neurogastronomy.

Julie Menella, PhD, Monell Chemical Senses Center: The role of early experiences on food and flavor preferences and growth, and the effects of alcohol and tobacco on women's health and infant development.

Mark Williams, PhD, University of Kentucky: Soil and Plant Biome, Flavor, and the Gut Biome

Gary Beauchamp, Monell Chemical Senses Center: The development of human chemosensory perception and preference and adult human flavor perception.

Kelly Weber, University of Kentucky: Food addiction, measurement and rates in the current US population.

Barry Green, Yale University: Human taste, flavor, and chemesthesis and the relation of these sensitivities both to current theories of sensory mechanisms and to their roles in driving the consumption of foods.

For a full list of speakers, go to

The term Neurogastronomy was coined by Gordon Shepherd, MD, D.Phil., Professor of Neurobiology at Yale University -- first in 2006 in an article in Nature and six years later in an eponymous book. While Dr. Shepherd has been interested in the concept from a research perspective, Han and a group of neuroscientists, chefs and food scientists are enthusiastic about making it a clinical translational science, with applications in cancer, stroke, and brain injury (which can destroy the sense of taste) and also apply the concept to battle diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

The day's format differs from the typical symposium, featuring brief presentations modeled after the popular TED talks and punctuated with breaks for tastings and a contest where the food from regional and national chefs will be judged by patients with taste impairments.

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Materials provided by University of Kentucky. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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University of Kentucky. "Would people be happier (and healthier) if we could make broccoli taste like chocolate?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2016. <>.
University of Kentucky. (2016, October 21). Would people be happier (and healthier) if we could make broccoli taste like chocolate?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 5, 2023 from
University of Kentucky. "Would people be happier (and healthier) if we could make broccoli taste like chocolate?." ScienceDaily. (accessed December 5, 2023).

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