From Bakers to Makers

June 20, 2016

I am constantly amazed by what goes on at Yale and in New Haven, even in the summer months! Only here could a visit by ten top chefs from around the globe be followed by a showcase on the international stage—with endorsement from the White House, no less—of innovation in action on our campus.

Last week’s MAD Yale Leadership Summit was the first of its kind: an immersive week-long program co-sponsored by the Yale Sustainable Food Program and MAD (the Danish word for “food”), a non-profit organization founded by the pioneering chef René Redzepi. Culinary experts from Australia, Brazil, Britain, Denmark, France, the Philippines, and the United States—representing food culture influences from Mexican-American to Chinese, from classical French to Japanese to new Nordic—participated in lectures, conversations, research presentations, and field trips. Working alongside Yale faculty and students, they took on challenging questions built around the summit’s three main themes: Taste, Society, and Science. My hope is that the summit participants and, through their influence, other food leaders will become more fluent in issues of sustainability, ethics, and justice—and will be inspired to use this knowledge to approach their work in new ways.

Tomorrow, as a part of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas and President Obama’s Nation of Makers initiative, visitors from around the world will have the chance to tour the Center for Engineering Innovation & Design (CEID), Yale’s “maker space.” With students in the CEID’s Summer Design Fellowship tackling projects on topics from organ transplants to ice rinks, there is every reason to believe that the visitors who pass through the center’s doors this week will include young people who will be among the next generation of innovators. Marta and I look forward to watching these students at work through the CEID’s large windows facing Prospect Street when we walk by in the evening with Portia.

For the summer months, “Notes from Woodbridge Hall” will be on a slightly less regular schedule. I look forward to keeping in touch and to hearing about your summer adventures.