Professor Charles Spence knows how to throw a dinner party. As head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford University, Mr Spence works with the some of the world’s finest chefs, such as Mr Heston Blumenthal and Mr Ferran Adrià, and large food companies including Unilever and Nestlé, to study multisensory perception – how our minds, via all our senses, perceive the experience of eating.
In his new book Gastrophysics (Viking Press), Mr Spence explains, via the latest scientific research, how dining goes way beyond what you serve on the plate. “The environment, not to mention the plateware, dish-naming, cutlery, and so-on, all exert an influence over the tasting experience,” he writes. “This holds true no matter what one is trying to achieve, be it a more memorable, a more stimulating, or a healthier meal.” With that in mind, here are five takeaways (no pun intended) to help you enhance your next dinner.