Food science students lead class at Boelter Test Kitchen

Science was on the menu Tuesday at the Boelter Cooking School, when four Mount Mary students led activities and conducted food-based experiments demonstrating coagulation, gelatinization and preservation.

The Mount Mary students, along with faculty member Anne Vravick, offered insight into the emerging field of food science. Students included Lisa Ramirez and Kate Rundell, both dietetics students, and Margaret Dishaw and Serena Shyu, who are pursuing degrees through Mount Mary's new food science program.

The group conducted activities that included making and sampling fresh mozzarella cheese; a gallon of whole milk yielded a softball-sized ball of fresh mozzarella, thanks to the coaguating effect of rennet and citric acid.

Next, they created fruit juice "caviar" by adding alginate to fruit juice enriched with calcium. A gelatin-like surface encased the fruit juice, resulting in a burst of juice when participants bit through the surface. The final experiment involved pouring melted ice cream into a bowl of liquid nitrogen, creating small pellets, or dots of ice cream.

Using food as a means to learn principles of science makes the process more engaging, explained Vravick.

"Wouldn't you rather learn about DNA in an apple than in a bacteria?" she asked the participants.

Next week, Mount Mary will host a major career fair sponsored by the Food and Beverage Wisconsin (FaB Wisconsin) industry organization. The Farm Factory Fork event will be held on campus on April 24.

Learn more at

Outreach events such as the Boelter class and industry-related events like the upcoming career fair are means to sharing the University's commitment to food and science, said Vravick.

Learn more about Mount Mary's food science program at