In celebration of the remodel and menu revamp at Bob’s Grill, the Faculty Student Association (FSA) collaborated with the undergraduate American Chemical Society (ACS) to bring a Nitrogen Ice Cream demo to the Teaching Kitchen on September 25. Guests enjoyed a fun event that showcased the fusion of food and science.
Bob’s Grill was named after esteemed Chemistry Professor Robert (Bob) Kerber, who also served as President of the College of Arts and Sciences Senate, President of the University Senate, and President of the Faculty Student Association.
The summer remodel allowed for a new menu that includes customizable options such as burritos, tacos, crepes, waffles, Brazilian Rodizio and wings. Students can download the Nutrislice app to view the changing daily menus.
Before the demo began, colleagues of Robert Kerber gave heart-warming speeches that remembered Bob as a leader, a beloved chemistry professor and a respected faculty member. Regarding the remodel of Bob’s Grill, Professor Joseph Lauher claimed, “Bob would’ve liked it a lot.” Professor Stephen Koch reminisced, “I used to eat lunch with Bob every day, and we’re very sad that Bob isn’t here.”
Afterward, the ACS students began pouring liquid nitrogen into the ice cream base. Guests could see the gas overflowing from the mixing bowls and were immediately intrigued. The ACS students used a hand mixer to create a thick and creamy ice cream and then gave guests samples in which they could add an assortment of delicious toppings.
The science behind the demo is that liquid nitrogen has a low boiling point of -321 degrees Fahrenheit, which enables the ice cream base to freeze quickly. The fast freeze time preserves the nutrients in the cream and accentuates the ingredient flavors. The Director of Public Relations of the ACS, Lucy Felong, said “Nitrogen is food safe…you can get ice cream within a couple of minutes instead of hours!”
Lucy was a participant of Food Network’s Chopped when she was only 15 years old and came in second place. This ultimately led her to work with some of the judges, and she landed a chef’s position in a small restaurant in New Jersey. When asked why she made the switch from cooking to chemistry, Lucy replied, “I realized why I liked cooking so much. It was due to the chemistry aspect of it; seeing all the reactions first hand and all the mechanisms behind it truly interested me. I’m able to apply that back into the kitchen as well as do applications to real-world problems.”
Stony Brook’s undergraduate ACS provides a platform for students in chemistry-related majors to interact within a trusted forum to share interests and collaborate on projects. They meet every Wednesday at 7:30 pm in Chemistry Room 412.
“We look forward to future collaborations with ACS students to provide fun, educational food-science activities within our dining locations,” stated Angela Agnello, FSA Director of Marketing and Communications.