Exploring the sensorial opportunities at the intersection of food and technology

We revisit last year’s workshop on food to explore how tech transforms our society

Editor of MOLD magazine, Dr Johnny Drain (GB), is returning to this year’s programme with an explorative Summit on technology’s impact on our food chains. We spoke to Johnny about his experience last year, to find out where he left off, and where this year’s Summit is taking us next.

Dr Johnny Drain is a trained chemist and scientist, with an established passion for foods and drinks. Using an understanding of science, he tries to explore what it is that makes our food taste – not just good – but delicious. Focusing particularly on creating new flavours and ingredients through fermentation, Johnny has helped prominent establishments worldwide, from the Argentinian Ministry of Agriculture to Ryan Chetiyawardana, owner of Lyaness, the no.1 cocktail bar in the world.

Last year, Johnny took to Techfestival’s grounds to share his knowledge and expertise on food tech. With his background and position as co-editor of MOLD magazine, a print magazine that looks at the intersection of food and design, Johnny asked participants how we humans are going to feed the generations of tomorrow. In an engaging and brilliantly interactive all-day workshop, participants explored the necessity of designing intimacy into the food interfaces of the future.

“Our format was quite traditional,” says Johnny, as he revisits last year’s event. “All but one feature were regular talks. But we were so confident of our speakers, of what they had to share, and of the power of the theme itself that we didn’t feel the need to veer away from that, to jazz it up unnecessarily. The questions and discussions between the speakers, ourselves and participants were informed, informing and impassioned, often extending and expanding into the breaks. We had lots of healthy differences of opinion and lots of new connections were made.”

The power of friction and shared connections can leave lasting impressions and open new doors. Summits are magic in that way, as they give a unique opportunity for passionate professionals to dive deep into topics across borders and disciplines. Which is why, this year, Johnny is back at Techfestival to repeat the success.I would strongly recommend people get involved. We didn’t know much about Techfestival when we agreed to host the summit. It was a powerful experience – and, one of the best week’s of my professional life (and I’m not just saying that!) We can’t wait to participate again this year.”

The lasting impact of speakers and the questions explored by participants led to a number of commissioned articles on MOLD Magazine’s most recent issues ‘Designing for the Senses‘. Don’t forget to check out this year’s Summit on Food Chains.

July 9, 2019

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