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Cooking up a storm of science

Photograph of a chef busy at the Royal Highland Show Cookery Theatre
The demonstrations at the Royal Highland Show are a valuable opportunity to translate wonderful scientific research into something that can help people make good food choices every day.

Too many cooks may spoil the broth but when top chefs share their public kitchen with Scotland’s leading nutrition and food production scientists at this year’s Royal Highland Show (RHS), audiences can look forward to added entertainment, extra bite and a better understanding of their food and diet.

Visitors to the Scotland Food and Drink Cookery Theatre in the Highland Hall are invited to discover what happens when scientists from Scotland’s globally renowned scientific research institutes, the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health and the James Hutton Institute, join two of the country’s favourite chefs in the kitchen to reveal little-known information on the science behind dishes like pan-fried mackerel and potato salad.

The panache and flair of the chefs will be balanced by the precision and insight of the scientists, culminating in fascinating facts on nutrition, as well as some great culinary advice and tastings.

These innovative events will take place at 10.30am and 1pm on the opening day of the show when scientists, Professor Harry McArdle and Dr Gordon McDougall join chef Neil Forbes of Edinburgh’s Cafe St Honoré in the Cookery Theatre. And on Saturday at 3.30pm Dr McDougall will share the stage with Dr Alexandra Johnstone and chef Graham Turton of the Compass Group.

Dr Johnstone, a research fellow and nutritionist said: "Our research at the Rowett investigates how we can eat for health and longevity. Preparing and eating food should be enjoyable and at the same time can still be healthy. Part of my research involves designing accurate meals with very specific nutrient content for our volunteer studies and I always enjoy seeing how chefs approach their work and whether it seems to be more art than science!”

Dr McDougall, a senior research scientist at the James Hutton Institute and an enthusiastic cook in his spare time explained: “What we do in the Institute is applied food science. So with a potato salad for instance we’d be able to give insights into picking the right variety in order to get the graininess or colour a cook might be looking for. We’re also able to explain the changes which occur when food crops are stored or processed.”

Professor McArdle, deputy director of the Rowett, added: "This event shows something we have always known - that Scotland can produce food of the highest standard. We hope that events like this will open people's eyes to the possibilities of preparing healthy and delicious meals, and will contribute to an increase in the healthiness of the Scottish diet."

Chef Neil Forbes said that looking at the science behind the food we eat was becoming increasingly important. He said: “The demonstrations at the Royal Highland Show are a valuable opportunity to translate wonderful scientific research into something that can help people make good food choices every day.”

There will be time to put questions to the scientists and chefs after each session, so come along, join in the discussion and learn some fascinating facts about your food.

The Royal Highland Show runs from 21-24 June at the Royal Highland Showground, Ingliston, Edinburgh.

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Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


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Printed from /news/cooking-storm-science on 25/02/24 01:04:01 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.