Session 2 - Nerves and Narratives

Session 2 - Nerves and Narratives - Mark Schatzker, David Howes and Gordon Shepherd

Storytelling has become a buzzword when it comes to selling. But how is our brain affected around the stories of taste? And how do we produce cultural narratives on taste? What impact has the way of telling a story on our taste? And finally, how is taste and nutrition connected? 

To facilitate the dialogue on the subject, we invited food journalist and author, Mark Schatzker, to be the creative mediator, and professor of anthropology, David Howes, and professor of neuroscience, Gordon Shepherd, to be the experts. 


Gordon Shepherd

Professor of Neuro-Science Gordon Shepherd is known for his book ”Neurogastronomy” in which he proposes a new view on the human brain flavour system. Especially he enhances how smell is connected to taste and how flavour impact social, behavioural and medical issues.

Connecting perception of flavour with the brain centres controlling emotions and cravings, he draws a line between brain processes and health related matters such as addiction, dieting and obesity.

David Howes

Professor of Anthropology and Co-Director of the Centre for Sensory Studies at Concordia University in Montreal has done a large amount of studies of culture and the senses. Known for his holistic approach he focuses on multisensory experiences. He holds two degrees in law and three degrees in anthropology. His research interests traverse the fields of law, commerce, consumption, medicine, psychology, the senses and aesthetics. In 2014 he published Ways of Sensing: Understanding the Senses in Society co-authored with Constance Classen.

Mark Schatzker

Food journalist and author of the book “The Dorito Effect”, Mark Schatzker gives food for thought to the reasons behind public health crises. He claims that a divide between flavour and the underlying nutrition is leading people astray.

Flavour is manipulated out of natural food and instead chemically produced food products without sufficient nutrition are being stuffed with the tastes we crave. His book was on the Toronto Star Top 5 non-fictional book, Top 25 Books of 2015 and National Post Top 99 books of 2015.