A Tale of Students, Bubble Tea Pearls, and Cheese!

On Monday, 28th August, a group of students interested in careers in food technology and food science had the opportunity to participate in engaging activities in Massey University’s new, state-of-the-art food science and engineering facility at the Albany Campus.

Tony Mutukumira, the senior lecturer in the School of Food and Advanced Technology, gave us a tour of the new building and introduced his colleagues, who would be our teachers for the day. Tony explained Massey’s Food Science and Engineering degree and the many potential jobs we could get with this qualification, including many international opportunities. He said he has taught many Westlake Girls graduates and is always impressed by our ambition and hard work.









The day was divided into three engaging lab sessions. The first session was the sensory experience lesson. We began with identifying food aromas, some of which were not pleasant! We also did a blind taste test of Pepsi and Coca-Cola. In the next session, we used alginate as a thickener and made colourful edible balls. These could be added to various foods, such as bubble tea. The alginate experiments showcased the role of edible food products in texture and thickening. Our teacher gave us oobleck to explore as we learned about non-Newtonian fluids. In the final session, we made cheese and got to eat it! Cheese-making involved using milk and citric acid to separate the curd and whey. We had to be precise and keep the pH at a certain range whilst adding the acid.

This experience highlighted the fusion of creativity and chemistry in food science. The day was a reminder that food is both an art and a science.

By Aisha Hussien.